Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gobble Quack Cluck

You gotta love the Wiki when a definition has the word "portmanteau" in it, as in:

"A Turducken is a partially de-boned turkey stuffed with a de-boned duck, which itself is stuffed with a small de-boned chicken. The name is a portmanteau of those ingredients: turkey, duck and chicken."

Turkeys, bones still in (left).

Turkey, partially deboned (right).

And why am I telling you this? Well, neighbor SEH is an instructor at the Western Culinary Institute, and her colleague is the advisor to the school's Charcuterie Club. Every year the club makes turduckens and smoked, cured hams during the holidays to raise money for club projects. Of course, as soon as I heard about this I was immediately on board and, having heard about turduckens but never having seen one made, I asked if I could watch as long as I promised to stay away from sharp implements.

Duck carcass. Good job!

The deboning process is fascinating and looks pretty easy, especially at the start. It's not unlike carving a roasted bird, only you start with the back instead of the breast, then follow the curve of the rib cage to remove the main skeleton.

Turkey, duck and chicken, deboned.

The drumstick bone of the turkey is left intact, but the duck and chicken leg bones are removed completely so the roasted turducken can be sliced easily. The tricky part seems to be in removing the leg bones cleanly without tearing the skin, and it takes practice to do this well.

Chicken stuffed with sausage is placed inside the duck, which will be stuffed into the turkey.

Each bird is then stuffed with sausage (in this case they used andouille sausage made by the students) and the chicken is placed inside the duck, which is then placed inside the turkey. It takes about 5 lbs. of sausage to do this, and will add moisture and fat to make the final product moist and tender.

Sewing up the stuffed turducken.

The last step is to sew the whole thing up, then the bird is flipped over and frozen until it's time to pick it up just before Christmas. And apparently after it's roasted, a tug will remove the string so the meat can be sliced and served. Stay tuned for the report on the results, post-Christmas dinner!


Tom Holloway said...

O.K. Christmas 2008, Tom and I are coming to Portland and I want to have the Gobble, Quack, Cluck for dinner. How come SEH has never told us that WCI has these critters for sale? Guess I'm out of the loop. I look forward to hearing about your dinner while we down pineapples and poi.

Karl Kesel said...

I've made 2 turdukens, and the de-boning was time consuming but not that difficult, otherwise. (Although I did not leave in the wishbone.) I actually used three different stuffings-- one between each layer and the third in the chicken-- but I like the idea of the sausage keeping the meat moist, especially since turduken-- being nearly solid meat'n'stuff-- needs to cook long time, low temp. Hmmm... what a perfect excuse-- I mean OPPORTUNITY-- to use my Traeger smoker! Perhaps we, too, will have turduken in our future...

Kathleen Bauer said...

Hey, Brazilnut! We'll put you on the schedule for next year. Have fun in the tropics, and have lots of big drinks for us, OK?

Kathleen Bauer said...

I should have known you'd do something like this, you mad chef, you! And der schmoker sounds like a great idea. I'm hoping ours might get done on the Weber. We'll see how brave we feel!