Having a hard time choosing a holiday bird? Love turkey? Also love chicken? How about duck? If you love these birds as much as we do, why not have all three at once?
That’s right, we’re talking about turducken, that gorgeous Cajun concoction made from a stuffed, deboned chicken inside a stuffed, deboned duck inside a stuffed, mostly deboned turkey (the wings and legs stay on the outside of the third bird, for presentation’s sake), roasted like a loaf.
When properly prepared, cooked and carved, you get three delicious birds and three stuffings (but no bones), all together in a single slice on your plate, smothered in spicy gravy. Magical.
Who came up with this idea? The concept of stuffing one animal into another and roasting them all together has been around as far back as ancient Rome. During the middle ages, overeager lords would have their royal kitchen staff shove as many beasts inside each other as they could, for the sheer entertainment value of it all. Over the centuries, these kinds of dishes became known as “Russian doll roasts,” after the famous Matryoshka nesting dolls.
Today, turducken has become a Thanksgiving treat for many Americans, largely because of the Cajun folk in Louisiana. Gifted one by a Louisiana butcher shop, sports commentator John Madden raved about turducken during a football game in 1997, which drew the attention of the American public to this tasty tradition. Ever since, the turducken has been gaining recognition and popularity.
Making a Turducken
Looking to make your own turducken? A wise choice, if not an easy one.
You can easily find three excellent birds at dartagnan.com, as well as the sausage you’ll need for the spicy, meat-filled stuffing (the other two usually being cornbread and an oyster dressing), although deboning three birds in a manner that makes them easy enough to stuff with stuffing and then into each other requires some serious knife and poultry mastery. We recommend taking your birds to a professional butcher for this task.
Feel free to play around with your ingredients: try using bacon in the stuffing, experimenting with different types of sausages, or employing flecks of shaved truffles for a real gourmet kick. And, if that doesn’t satisfy your ambitions, you can always buy a small pig and create what’s known as the fowl de cochon, which is, you guessed it: a turducken stuffed into a deboned swine, which will feed about thirty people. Now that, friends, is some delicious ambition.