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Turducken - Three-bird Roast

Introduction & method

I've always shied away from trying a 'turducken', a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken, and all stuffed with stuffing. Speaking as the inventor of the domestic long egg, it seemed gimmicky to me.

Turducken - Three-bird Roast Recipe

The chances of the different meats being cooked properly looked a bit slim. And then there's the expense - you could buy a real one made by a butcher, or buy the birds and attempt your own. Either way, it's a ton of meat for a ton of money. Or you could buy a pretend one made in a factory. My sister did this once and she tells me it was horrible. You can see my enthusiasm level for turducken was low. And then there's that God-awful name. Okay, we know it's

TUR

key

DUC

k chic

KEN,

but did no-one ever stop to wonder, even for a nanosecond, how unappealing it would be to give this pricey poultry parcel a name whose first syllable is a synonym for (to put it nicely) a stool sample.

But look, here comes Christmas, and I need to produce Christmassy meals. I've done all the usual culprits. I'm a bit low on ideas, so I put out a message on my YouTube Community tab. A few people mention turducken, and a few more are wildly inspired by the idea. I decide to do it, partly because it'll be a great opportunity to learn how to debone a bird - actually three of the blighters - and also the perfect excuse to buy myself a nice flexible boning knife. And some meat glue.

Now, buy the birds. I get a 2.4kg frozen turkey crown, legs and wings removed. I'm thinking that a crown of this size should be about right. I later find out how wrong I am. I'm surprised, in a happy way, to find a Gressingham™ duck for £5. I would have expected it to be much more. It weighs 1.7kg. And I buy a standard medium-sized chicken, about £3 for a 1.4kg bird. And 500g of minced pork because I'm making my own stuffing, natch.

Of course you can use the stuffing stuff that comes in a box, but if you're making the effort to build a turducken, I reckon you'll be up for making your own stuffing too. You'll need the minced pork and about 50% of the weight of that in coarse breadcrumbs. Finely chop a large onion and sauté it in oil and butter for 5 minutes until it's soft but not browned. Allow to cool completely. To the breadcrumbs, add 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp white pepper, 2-3 tsp dried sage. Mix well then work in the minced pork. Stir in about 1 cup of boiling water or more for a looser mix and melt in a large knob of butter. Cover and place in the fridge until needed.

Now to debone the birds. We'll start with chicken and first thing I do is remove the wings because there is no point at all in trying to debone them. You could add them to your wings collection in the freezer, or they can go in a pot and contribute to what is going to be the greatest stock of all time. Lay the chicken on its back. Cut along the breastbone and work the shiny new knife down and around the ribcage. Cut around the leg where it joins the body but leave the skin connected on the underside. The skin is basically what holds the deboned bird together, so don't mess with it. Grab hold of that thigh bone and pop it loose from the body. Now you can work on separating the skin and carcass beside the ribcage. Repeat all that on the other side and you should be able to remove the ribcage and carcass, leaving  the opened-up skin with the breast meat and legs attached. The next job is to debone the legs while leaving the flesh and skin intact. This really is not easy and I'll invite you to watch the video to see how it's done because I really can't describe it.

Once you're proudly looking at a deboned chicken, repeat the process on the duck. It's exacly the same procedure.

And then I moved on to the turkey crown and almost immediately realised I'd made a colossal mistake. Remember the crown of the bird has had its legs removed? You absolutely need those legs if you're making a

CHI

cken

DUC

k tur

KEY

. Yes, a chiduckey, we think it's a much nicer name. So I tootle off to the shops again and come back with a turkey that's somewhat bigger than what I need, but it will have to do.

Bone out the turkey exactly as you did for the chicken and the duck, but leave the wings on. Be super-careful about not damaging the skin this time, because it will be seen. As a novice, I did cut through quite lot of the back of the bird, but I was able to fix it with some skin from the turkey crown and some meat glue (transglutaminase).

STUFF IT!


Pack stuffing into the legs of all the birds, and into the gap between the breasts. Lay the duck on to the turkey, and the chicken onto the duck. Now we need to do some sewing. You'll need a big darning needle (or a butcher's trussing needle) and some butcher's twine. LIft the sides of the turkey up to meet each other and sew them together. Sounds easy? It's not. But keep at it, you'll get there in the end.

Before you cook it, you'll need to know what it weighs. My kitchen scales were no good - they only work up to 5 kilos. It would be easy if you had some bathroom scales, but I didn't when I made this so I had to improvise by making something like a seesaw with a plank of wood taped to an empty wine bottle. I placed the chiduckey on one side, and then piled up bags of flour and heavy cans on the other side until it balanced. 

I worked out it weighs 6 kilos. Now to cook it. You need your oven heated to 160°C /320°F (fan), 180°C/356°F (conventional), gas 4. Liberally spread butter all over the chiduckey, and then season with sea salt and crushed black peppercorns. To work out how long to cook it, it's 100 minutes, plus 20 minutes per kilo, so that came to 120 minutes: 220 in total, 3 hours 40 minutes. It needs to rest for half an hour after cooking. Wrap the chimera in foil, place on a wire rack over a roasting tin and put it in the oven.

One hour before finish time, take it out of the oven and unwrap the foil. Baste it with the juices, keep the foil underneath the bird but wrap the sides down neatly. Baste it every 20 minutes until it's done.

So that's how you make a three-bird roast. It really isn't something you want to make every day, but for a celebration feast, it's an awesome thing. And to my surprise, it tasted great - the meats weren't overcooked and they still had some juiciness.

 

Yum


The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Turducken - Three-bird Roast on YouTube.

 

Ingredients & Info



 

UNITS:
Metric
US Customary/Imperial


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