What do you get when you combine a turkey with a duck and a chicken? Give up? OK, what about when you stick a chicken inside of a duck, and then stick the duck inside of a turkey, and then cook it? You get a Turducken.
And Turducken is good.
We went to Alex's house last night for our thanksgiving feast. Now cooking and eating is a competitive thing within our group. We are always trying to improve upon previous years' attempts and each year we take it to a new level. Two years ago, we did the deep fried turkey thing in our back yard. It was very simple and also very good. Last year was the Thompson's Turkey which took something like 8 hours to cook since you need to basically keep coating the turkey with an egg based paste of some sort. This year was the turducken and it is the most involved of the preparations to date.
Alex and Kat spent four hours (!) deboning a turkey and a duck and a chicken. Then they made a variety of stuffings, one from Andouille sausage, another with shrimp, and stuffed the birds with stuffing, then stuffing the birds with the other birds. Then the cooking begins. Now a turducken is a meal in itself but we didn't stop there. We had mashed potatoes where the quantity of butter in them may well have exceeded the quantity of potato in them. An amazing sweet potato au gratin that made a return appearance from last year and some of the best macaroni and cheese I've had (hint... bacon makes things better). 3 Pork Surprise where I think the surprise was finding out there are 3 kinds of pork, though Walter suggested that the surprise would come much later when we all caught on to the fact that Alex only has one meat thermometer and it was in the turducken. And of course, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without having both types of cranberry sauce, the one with the berries and the one with the flavo-ridges™.
Then there were the desserts. Leslie made pumpkin cheesecake and an Apple Cranberry Ginger pie that more than one person there thought was the best pie they had ever eaten.
So how was the Turducken? In a word, fantastic. Tender and delicious. All of the birds came across well and the stuffings were great as well. I would rate it the highest of our past 3 attempts, but then I didn't have to spend 4 hours deboning three birds either. The general consensus was that the best flavor for amount of work award goes to the deep fried turkey, as long as you don't burn your house down in the process.
So how do we out do our selves next year? I was thinking that the Turducken concept could still be taken a bit farther. There is certainly room for a quail inside of the chicken. And maybe a sparrow inside of the quail. And the whole thing could be put inside of a nice sized ostrich. So perhaps next year we'll have Osturduckenailow?
Mmmm, I can't wait!
A cross section view
Hillel can't get enough of those Flavo-Ridges™