Recipes I used when making homemade turducken
I blogged yesterday about making a homemade turducken and included information about how I researched and planned for the one I made last weekend.
Today, I'm including the different recipes I used. Also, below these recipes is the timeline I used for making sure I was totally prepared to make one. If you're trying this, you'll probably come up with your own timeline and recipes, but I thought I'd share what worked for me.
I formulated my plan using Paula Deen's turducken instructions from The Food Network website, and this really helpful blog post and recipes from TheSalmons.org. To read more about how I got started, click here.
I decided to brine my deboned birds (I roasted a turkey after brining it with this concoction last year, and it was the best ever) in a large canning pot overnight.
Paula Deen's Turducken Brine
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 gallon water
To make the brine, mix salt and sugar with the water. The brine is ready when the mixture is completely dissolved. If the water is heated to speed up the process, make sure it is cooled to room temperature before placing meat in. Let the three birds sit in brine in the refrigerator overnight.
I also knew I did not want to use oyster stuffing, but had trouble finding decent recipes. Luckily for me, these recipes from TheSalmons.org were really tasty. I modified them a bit, especially the first one.
Sage Sausage Stuffing
1 pound sage sausage
3 cups onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons paprika
3 cups stock (I used turducken stock I made the day before)
3 cups (about six wide slices) toasted whole-wheat bread, crumbled
Brown sausage, and when it's mostly cooked, add onions, celery and mushrooms and saute. Turn down heat a bit and add garlic and paprika and cook until water mostly evaporates. Add stock, stir well, then add bread and cook until mostly soft. You don't want a super-wet stuffing mix for your turducken, so let it cook a bit if it's really juicy.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a glass baking dish. Mine was on the small side, but I can't remember exactly which size. Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl, then pour in liquids and stir until just blended.
Pour batter into dish and bake for 25 minutes.
1 baked cornbread loaf
1 stick of butter or approx. 1/3 cup fat (pan drippings from fowl)
1 small red onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup walnut pieces (optional)
season to taste (I didn't season it. I figured there'd be plenty of seasoning to go around inside that turducken.)
1/4 to 1 cup apple juice (I forgot this ingredient and mixed a little cup of applesauce with stock. Didn't taste it, so I'm not sure it made that much of a difference.)
To make stuffing, let cornbread cool and break the loaf into smaller chunks. Add about 1/4 cup melted fat and other dry ingredients and mix. Add apple juice or stock until desired moistness level is obtained. Again, you want it to be drier than normal.
Now, for a seasoning mix, I combined recipes from these two websites and then promptly forgot to season the inside of my birds. You're supposed to sprinkle seasoning on each bird before you stuff it. I overcompensated by seasoning the heck out of the outside, which just made my pan drippings, and then my gravy, overly salty. Learn from me and go easy on the stuff.
Mix well. Store in airtight container.
4 tablespoons of fat from pan drippings (I used a fat separator to get this. It works amazing well and is also useful when separating fat from homemade stock)
6 tablespoons flour (I used whole wheat)
About 3 cups stock
Cook flour and fat together to make a roux, whisking rapidly as it browns. Add stock and boil, stirring unti it's thick.
One week prior: Read up on deboning (I used Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol.I,") thaw one chicken and practice deboning it. At our house, we ground the deboned chicken and made Chicken Parmesan Meatballs. I made chicken base with the carcass.
Six days prior: Buy 18- to 22-pound turkey and thaw in refrigerator. (I didn't buy this earlier because it wouldn't fit in our freezer.) Stock up on any other groceries or supplies you might need. Don't forget kitchen twine, a large needle that the twine will fit in and a meat thermometer. Also, check to make sure you have a nice, large roasting pan and a stock pot or container large enough to brine three deboned birds, but small enough to fit in your fridge. I used a large canning stockpot. Alternatively, you could use a cooler. Just make sure you plan to have enough ice on hand to keep the poultry cold while it brines.
Four days prior: Start thawing chicken and duck.
Two days prior: Thaw sausage for sausage stuffing, toast bread (I toasted whole-wheat bread on our pizza stone in the oven just after making pizza Friday night. The heat was off but the oven was still hot. This worked like a charm) then break it into chunks. Store in airtight container.
Make cornbread for cornbread stuffing, if that's what you're using. Or you could save this until the day before - whatever is best for your schedule. I also did some dessert prep on this day, but more about that another day. Sharpen the knives you plan to use for deboning. Make your seasoning mix.
One day prior: Debone poultry, throw bones in a stock pot with water, spices, carrots, celery and onions to make stock. I sauted the veggies before adding them to the water, which made them tasty when I decided to turn one pot full of stock into turducken and noodle soup Sunday morning. Making stock the day before T-day allows you to use it in the stuffings, which means they'll even more delicious.
Chop vegetables needed for stuffings and store in refrigerator in airtight containers. (You could do this earlier, too. I just didn't want my whole fridge to reek of chopped onions.) Disinfect needle (that's the one thing I forgot!) and have handy for assembly on T-day.
T-day: Get up in time to cook your turducken an appropriate amount of time. I would guess our turducken was 20 pounds by the time the bones were removed and other poultry added. It cooked about 11 1/2 hours at 225 degrees.
I started at 5 a.m., because I assembled the stuffings directly before putting the whole thing together. Make stuffings, layer with birds. Sew the turkey up and truss, to give it enough structure, as it doesn't have any bones. I would say that the sewing and trussing was the most difficult part of this process. In some spots, stuffing stuck out of our bird. I was worried about this, but it was totally OK. It didn't fall apart or come out.
Rob contributed by occasionally imitating Paula Deen: "Nohw, just tah that bird up nice and tahght..." Maybe funnier in my up-too-early stupor, but it definitely helps to have a sense of humor. And you will need two people to do this. Bribe someone to help you if you have to - it would be very difficult to do it on your own.
Put it on a roasting rack and roast until your meat thermometer reads 165 degrees in several spots, including part that reaches deep into the turducken.
Store extra stuffing in covered baking dishes in your fridge. Add to oven with about an hour before your dinner.
Make gravy from your drippings.
Carve, serve and enjoy!