Monday, January 13, 2014

Turducken - A Mythical Meat Makes Celebrations Easy

Being a food blogger, I've had a lot of crazy foods like snails and alligator.  Wait, I had those way before I morphed into a food blogger.  Needless to say I'm not one to shy away from trying something new if its food.  That brings us to today's post!  Turducken, that mythical meat treat, is for some the holy grail of meats.  While I'd heard of Turduckens before and even seen a frozen one, I'd never actually had one.  So when The Original Turducken asked if I'd like one for my holiday celebrations, I didn't hesitate to say yes!

Then I kind of panicked because they asked me to pick one up locally instead of sending me one.  I had no idea where to buy one as I hadn't seen one just sitting out in the meat case before.  Luckily the company was nice enough to track down that the Shop N Save in Des Plaines had Turduckens in stock.  I called to make sure they would save me one.  The manager didn't even know turduckens were real, let alone that his store carried them!!  He actually told me he thought they were a myth.  :)  I had a brief moment of panic when picking it up because once again no one knew what I was talking about.

If you've never heard of Turducken let me tell you a little about it.  A turducken is a turkey that's stuffed with a duck and chicken breasts that are stuffed with stuffing.  That's a lot of stuffing in things for one piece of meat!  Except for the legs and wings on the turkey, each bird is completely deboned so what you're getting is one solid hunk of meat.  So there's a lot less waste with a turducken than your typical Thanksgiving turkey because you aren't wasting all that space with bones. 

Since a turducken is solid, you've got to prep and cook it a little differently.  The Original Turducken site told me it would take about 5 days to defrost my bird (mine actually took about 4).  They also recommended cooking it at the extremely low temperature of 220 degrees for about 10 hours straight.  Only bonus to this slow cooking method is that there is no need to baste your bird. 

Last Sunday I got up at about 7 am to start roasting my turducken.  It's super easy to do because you just need to put it in the pan.  The turducken comes trussed up and pre-spiced, while they recommended covering it for the first 2-4 hours I didn't go that route.  I probably would have if I'd used the regular oven, but I always roast turkeys and chickens in my 1940's Westinghouse electric oven.  This baby is a lifesaver!  I've previously roasted turkeys in it and they've alway come out juicy, gorgeous and no fuss.  For some reason (I am not science minded) birds roasted in this baby never get overly brown like they are apt to do in a regular oven.

After popping my turducken in the roaster, I went back to bed as there was no reason to stay up because at such a low temp I didn't need to baste the bird.  Fast forward about 9 hours later.....that last degree to reach 165 is absolute torture!  I cheated a bit and cranked up the roaster to about 325 to make it go a bit quicker at the end.  I was surprised to see hardly any grease or juices in the bottom of the roasting pan.  I mean there was literally less than half a cup to make gravy with!  I improvised with spices and chicken broth, but this is something to keep in mind when making your turducken.

To go with our fancy turducken I made a simple quinoa and amaranth stuffing with mushrooms and spinach, mashed potatoes, salad and brownies.  Our feast was ready, the family assembled and eager to sample this mythical bird!

Turducken is unlike anything I've had before!  It's like a turkey mostly, but also tastes like bird meatloaf.  There are so many flavors in there from all three birds and the stuffing.  I kept hearing it tastes like liver (I have no idea where that came from) but to me it just tasted like turkey. 

In closing let me say this, if you've ever been squeamish or unsure about roasting a turkey for a holiday meal I'd definitely recommend going with a Turducken.  It's a breeze to cook, I mean what else can you toss in the oven right after opening besides a tray of frozen lasagna or a frozen pizza, and will definitely impress your guests.  From now on Turducken is going to be my go to meal if I'm looking to treat and impress my guests!

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