Paul Prudhomme Turducken

Turducken

The Turducken will need to cook for 12 or 13 hours at 190ºF, so begin preparation well in advance," said Henry.

"Prudhomme suggests three dressings of andouille sausage, corn bread and oysters," said Henry. "Other chefs use everything from crawfish to broccoli and cheese."

"I used giblet stuffing on my chicken but it is suggested to use a different one so you have three different flavors," said Henry.

To prepare it "the lazy way," just use three boxes of stuffing for all three birds.

Turducken

1 (20 to 25 lb.) whole turkey
1 (4 to 5 lb.) whole duckling
1 (3 to 4 lb.) whole chicken
Corn bread dressing (prepared)
Sausage stuffing (prepared)
Oyster dressing (prepared)

Other items:
One 15 x 11 inch baking pan, 21/2 inches deep
One larger pan to set it inside to catch excess drippings
Sharp knife for deboning
Small hammer for breaking bones
Three-inch needle with strong thread to sew up turkey skin


Deboning the meat

Note: This step may be skipped if your butcher is doing this for you.

Place the cleaned turkey, breast side down, on a flat surface. Cut through
the skin along the length of the spine. Using the tip of a knife and
starting from neck end, gently separate meat from rib cage on one side.

Toward neck end, cut through meat to expose shoulder blade; cut meat away
from and around the bone, severing bone at the joint to remove shoulder
blade. Disjoint wing between second and third joints.

Leave the wing bones and keep the wing attached to the meat.

Continue separating meat from frame, heading toward the thighbone and being careful to keep the "oyster" (pocket of meat on back) attached to skin, rather than leaving with bone.

Cut through ball-and-socket joint to release thighbone from carcass (bird
will be open on one side, exposing bones left to deal with). Keep the leg
attached to the meat.

Repeat boning procedure on the other side of the bird. Carefully remove
carcass and reserve for making stock. You should end up with a flat boneless
(except for wings and legs) turkey with the skin intact in one large piece.

Cover the boned turkey and set aside (or chill).

Repeat the process on the duckling and chicken, but cut off the first two
joints of wings, and debone both stumps of wings and leg drumsticks (cut
through flesh at thinnest point and trim around these bones with a knife
until they can be removed).

Trim excess skin and fat from necks of birds. If it is your first time
deboning a fowl, it is advisable to practice first on the chicken rather
than the turkey. Both the chicken and duck will be stuffed inside the turkey
and need not be kept "perfectly" intact.

Next, make stock from the chicken carcass.

Prepare seasoning mix and set aside.

Seasoning Mix

3 tablespoons salt
1 to 2 tablespoons paprika
1 to 2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 to 2 tablespoons pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons dried thyme

Prepare sausage stuffing.

Sausage Stuffing

Butter
3 cups onions, diced
1 1/2 cups celery, diced
2 pounds spicy Italian sausage
3 tablespoons paprika
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups toasted bread crumbs


Melt butter in large skillet over high heat. Add onions and celery. Sauté
until onions are dark brown but not burned, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Add sausage to the skillet and cook about 5 minutes or until the meat is
browned, stirring frequently.

Add paprika and minced garlic and cook about 3 minutes over medium heat,
stirring occasionally. Stir in chicken stock and bring to simmer. Continue
cooking until water evaporates and oil rises to top, about 10 minutes.

Stir in toasted bread crumbs and mix well. Add more bread crumbs if mixture
is too moist.

Prepare a similar amount of two other stuffings, so you have one for each
bird, or for ease of preparation, just used boxed mixes for all birds.
Following are a few ideas.

Standard Giblet Stuffing

1 box seasoned bread stuffing
8 ounces chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
8 ounces turkey stock (from boiling giblets)
1/2 stick butter Giblet meat from neck, liver and heart of birds
1/4 cup chopped garlic
Salt and pepper to taste


Mix everything in a large bowl and set aside to stuff your turkey and
chicken.

At least 13 to 14 hours before dinner, assemble the Turducken.

Spread the turkey, skin down, on flat surface, exposing as much meat as
possible. Rub 3 tablespoons of seasoning mix evenly on meat.

Spread sausage stuffing over the turkey in an even layer approximately 3/4
inch thick.

Place duck, skin down, on top of stuffing. Season exposed duck meat with
about 1 tablespoon of seasoning mix. Spread corn bread stuffing in an even
layer (about 1/2 inch thick) over the duck.

Arrange the chicken, skin down, evenly on top of corn bread stuffing. Season
chicken meat with seasoning mix. Spread remainder of sausage and/or corn
bread stuffing on top of chicken.

With another person's help, carefully lift the sides of the layered birds,
folding the sides of the turkey together. Have a helper hold the bird while
sewing the opening down the back of the turkey together using cotton thread.
The bird may not close perfectly, and a strip of cheese cloth can be used to
help close the "crack" in the back of the turkey so stuffing will not leak
out when the bird is turned over.

Since the Turducken has no skeleton, it must be trussed up or it may fall
apart in cooking. Tie cotton string around the bird, widthwise, every inch
or so along the bird's length. Turn the bird over and place in a roasting
rack inside a large roasting pan so it is oriented breast side up and looks
like a "normal" turkey. Tie the legs together just above the tip bones.

Preheat oven to exactly 190ºF. Temperature control is critical since the
Turducken is so massive that it has to be cooked very slowly at a low
temperature. Using an oven thermometer is highly recommended.

Place the bird in the center of the oven and bake until a meat thermometer
inserted through to center reads 165ºF, about 12 to 13 hours.

There will be no need to baste, but accumulated drippings will have to be
removed from the pan every few hours so that the lower portion does not deep fry in the hot oil.

Remove the turducken from the oven and let cool in the pan for an hour
before serving. Make gravy using your favorite recipe.

To serve, cut bird in half lengthwise so that each slice contains all three
dressings and all three meats. Serve additional bowls of the dressings on
the side.

Yield: 15 to 25 servings.
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