“The what?” you say? Those are my exact words when Jason announced last weekend that for our Christmas back home with my parents, we should order a turducken: a boneless chicken stuffed in a boneless duck, stuffed in a boneless turkey. My first reaction was, what an absurd idea! But after some internet research and reading accounts from people who’ve actually eaten this curious thing, I have decided that I have to try it too.
My website sources tell me that after deboning all three fowls, they are laid on top of each other, with three kinds of stuffing in between. The turkey is then sewn shut, enveloping all the ingredients, and the whole thing is shoved into the oven for a total of anywhere from five to nine hours of baking. The rationale behind the three different stuffing (smoked sausage stuffing between the turkey and the duck; cornbread stuffing between the duck and the chicken; and the oyster dressing inside the chicken) is so that each can compliment the meat by which it is sandwiched in between.
Turducken is now available in the States in a pre-stuffed, pre-flavored frozen form, shipped to your home overnight in dry-ice packs. All you have to do is to defrost in the fridge for 2-3 days and bake it for a very long time before you have a meal that feeds 15 to 20 people. However, if you know me, you will know I shun from commercially prepared food whenever possible and prefer to do everything from scratch as much as practical. Besides, if we really fall in love with it and are dying to have it again, there is no way for me to lay my hands on one once we come back to Japan. So I thought I’d explore the possibility of making one myself. How hard could it be? I’ve made many successful turkeys before.
Upon further googling, I found no shortage of enthusiastic home-cooks’ wibsites with recipes on the turducken and everyone seemed delirious with praise for the flavor. I am quite confident in getting the flavor of the stuffing right, but the most difficult part seems to be deboning the birds. Many recipes contain extensive descriptions but no pictures or drawings to show the procedure. Since I am a bit rusty on my bird anatomy (read: none), I needed graphics. And graphics I found! While I will do many things to satisfy the epicure in me, I do believe the profession of the butchers is created exactly to shield us from this kind of gore. (I did find the author of the above website to be quite funny though. So if you are ever inspired to debone a chicken/duck/turkey, you might as well refer to his website and do it with a little humor.)
However, after reading up on all this material, I no longer wish to stuff my own turducken. In fact, I am not even sure if I can rid the bloody image from my mind long enough to enjoy the supposedly heavenly flavor.
Meanwhile, Jason enthusiastically wants to order one for his brother in Atlanta too when he goes for New Year’s; until I reminded him that since each feeds fifteen, the one at my parents’ alone will probably last us a week. Does he really want to eat leftover turducken everyday for two weeks? I didn’t think so.