Chef Paul Prudhomme's Turducken

Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Turducken

Turducken

1 (20 to 25 lb.) whole turkey
1 (4 to 5 lb.) whole duckling
1 (3 to 4 lb.) whole chicken
Corn bread dressing (prepared)
Sausage stuffing (prepared)
Oyster dressing (prepared)

Other items: One 15 x 11 inch baking pan, 21/2 inches deep One larger pan to set it inside to catch excess drippings Sharp knife for deboning Small
hammer for breaking bones Three-inch needle with strong thread to sew up
turkey skin

Deboning the meat

Note: This step may be skipped if your butcher is doing this for you.

Place the cleaned turkey, breast side down, on a flat surface. Cut through
the skin along the length of the spine. Using the tip of a knife and
starting from neck end, gently separate meat from rib cage on one side.

Toward neck end, cut through meat to expose shoulder blade; cut meat away
from and around the bone, severing bone at the joint to remove shoulder
blade. Disjoint wing between second and third joints.

Leave the wing bones and keep the wing attached to the meat.

Continue separating meat from frame, heading toward the thighbone and being careful to keep the “oyster” (pocket of meat on back) attached to skin, rather than leaving with bone.

Cut through ball-and-socket joint to release thighbone from carcass (bird
will be open on one side, exposing bones left to deal with). Keep the leg
attached to the meat.

Repeat boning procedure on the other side of the bird. Carefully remove
carcass and reserve for making stock. You should end up with a flat boneless (except for wings and legs) turkey with the skin intact in one large piece.

Cover the boned turkey and set aside (or chill).

Repeat the process on the duckling and chicken, but cut off the first two
joints of wings, and debone both stumps of wings and leg drumsticks (cut
through flesh at thinnest point and trim around these bones with a knife
until they can be removed).

Trim excess skin and fat from necks of birds. If it is your first time
deboning a fowl, it is advisable to practice first on the chicken rather
than the turkey. Both the chicken and duck will be stuffed inside the turkey and need not be kept “perfectly” intact.

Next, make stock from the chicken carcass.

Prepare seasoning mix and set aside.

Seasoning Mix

3 tablespoons salt
1 to 2 tablespoons paprika
1 to 2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 to 2 tablespoons pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons dried thyme

Prepare sausage stuffing.

Sausage Stuffing

Butter
3 cups onions, diced
1 1/2 cups celery, diced
2 pounds spicy Italian sausage
3 tablespoons paprika
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups toasted bread crumbs

Melt butter in large skillet over high heat. Add onions and celery. Sauté
until onions are dark brown but not burned, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Add sausage to the skillet and cook about 5 minutes or until the meat is
browned, stirring frequently.

Add paprika and minced garlic and cook about 3 minutes over medium heat,
stirring occasionally. Stir in chicken stock and bring to simmer. Continue
cooking until water evaporates and oil rises to top, about 10 minutes.

Stir in toasted bread crumbs and mix well. Add more bread crumbs if mixture is too moist.

Prepare a similar amount of two other stuffings, so you have one for each
bird, or for ease of preparation, just used boxed mixes for all birds.
Following are a few ideas.

Standard Giblet Stuffing

1 box seasoned bread stuffing
8 ounces chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
8 ounces turkey stock (from boiling giblets)
1/2 stick butter
Giblet meat from neck, liver and heart of birds
1/4 cup chopped garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything in a large bowl and set aside to stuff your turkey and
chicken.

Source: Rena Henry, El Mirage

At least 13 to 14 hours before dinner, assemble the Turducken.

Spread the turkey, skin down, on flat surface, exposing as much meat as
possible. Rub 3 tablespoons of seasoning mix evenly on meat.

Spread sausage stuffing over the turkey in an even layer approximately 3/4
inch thick.

Place duck, skin down, on top of stuffing. Season exposed duck meat with
about 1 tablespoon of seasoning mix. Spread corn bread stuffing in an even
layer (about 1/2 inch thick) over the duck.

Arrange the chicken, skin down, evenly on top of corn bread stuffing. Season chicken meat with seasoning mix. Spread remainder of sausage and/or corn bread stuffing on top of chicken.

With another person’s help, carefully lift the sides of the layered birds,
folding the sides of the turkey together. Have a helper hold the bird while sewing the opening down the back of the turkey together using cotton thread.
The bird may not close perfectly, and a strip of cheese cloth can be used to help close the “crack” in the back of the turkey so stuffing will not leak out when the bird is turned over.

Since the Turducken has no skeleton, it must be trussed up or it may fall
apart in cooking. Tie cotton string around the bird, widthwise, every inch
or so along the bird’s length. Turn the bird over and place in a roasting
rack inside a large roasting pan so it is oriented breast side up and looks like a “normal” turkey. Tie the legs together just above the tip bones.

Preheat oven to exactly 190ºF. Temperature control is critical since the
Turducken is so massive that it has to be cooked very slowly at a low
temperature. Using an oven thermometer is highly recommended.

Place the bird in the center of the oven and bake until a meat thermometer
inserted through to center reads 165ºF, about 12 to 13 hours.

There will be no need to baste, but accumulated drippings will have to be
removed from the pan every few hours so that the lower portion does not deep fry in the hot oil.

Remove the turducken from the oven and let cool in the pan for an hour
before serving. Make gravy using your favorite recipe.

To serve, cut bird in half lengthwise so that each slice contains all three dressings and all three meats. Serve additional bowls of the dressings on the side.

Yield 15 to 25 servings

Cornbread Dressing

Seasoning mix:
4 tablespoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoons white pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

Dressing ingredients:

4 ounces (1 stick) butter
4 tablespoons margarine
3/4 cup onions, finely chopped
3/4 cup green bell peppers, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
3/4 pound turkey, duck or chicken giblets, boiled until tender then ground
(preferred), or finely chopped
1 cup turkey, duck or chicken stock
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
5 cups finely crumbled cornbread (increasing sugar
to 2/3 cup)
1 2/3 cups evaporated milk
3 eggs

Thoroughly combine the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl and set
aside.

In a large skillet, melt the butter and margarine with the onions, bell
peppers, celery, garlic and bay leaves over high heat.

Sauté about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the seasoning mix and
continue cooking until vegetables are barely wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir
in the giblets, stock and Tabasco.

Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat. Add the cornbread, milk and eggs, stirring well. Spoon
dressing into a greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 350°F until browned on top, about 35-40 minutes.

Oyster Dressing

Seasoning mix:
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

Dressing ingredients:
About 20 small to medium oysters in their liquor, about 1/2 pound
1 cup cold water
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) margarine
1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup green bell peppers, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 cup very fine dry French bread crumbs
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, finely minced

Combine the oysters and water; stir and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Strain and reserve oysters and oyster water, refrigerate until ready to use.

Melt 4 tablespoons of the margarine in a large skillet over high heat.

When margarine is almost melted, add 3/4 cup of the onions, 1/2 cup each of the celery and bell peppers. Sauté over high heat until onions are dark
brown but not burned, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently.

In a small bowl, combine the seasoning ingredients and mix well. When onions are browned, stir 2 teaspoons of the seasoning mix and the garlic into the skillet.

Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring
occasionally.

Add the remaining 3/4 cup onions, 1/2 cup celery, 1/2 cup bell peppers and 1 stick margarine, and 1/4 cup of the green onions, 1/4 cup of the parsley, and the bay leaves. Stir until margarine is melted.

Continue cooking about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the
remaining seasoning mix and enough bread crumbs to make a moist but not
runny dressing. Remove from heat.

Stir in the drained oysters. Spoon dressing into an ungreased baking pan and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven, discard bay leaves and stir in the butter and the
remaining 1/4 cup each green onions and parsley.

Rena Henry of El Mirage recently prepared the dish with impressive results.
“I wanted to make something really special for my husband’s birthday,” said Henry, whose mother was from Louisiana. “I had the recipe for a long time and always wanted to make it.” Henry said the Turducken took two whole days to prepare.