Recipes for Christmas dinner
This year add Turducken to your Christmas dinner recipes
This year, roast a turducken—a flavorful roasted turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken. You'll surprise your guests and rev up the chatter. A turducken is a meaty threesome; all three birds are boned, seasoned and layered with your own stuffing mix—cornbread, oyster, chestnut, etc.
Turducken is a treat that will have your guests talking about your Christmas dinner long past Easter. The turkey is the largest of the three birds. The duck is a medium-sized fowl that fits well into the cavity of the turkey. The diminutive chicken is wrapped with the duck before the duck is introduced to the interior of the turkey. Incorporate an assortment of tasty, easy-to-prepare and rather unique Christmas recipes to keep the dinner chit-chat flowing like fine wine.
How to cook a Turducken that serves 15-20 guests
Buy your turkey, duck and chicken in appropriately diminishing sizes sufficient to match the number of guests expected for dinner. Figure on providing about one-and-a-half pounds of meat per person. This example will focus on a 15-pound turkey, a 10-pound duckling and a four-pound chicken. Bone all three or have the butcher bone them at the time of purchase.
Wash and rinse the birds and pat dry with paper towels. Season each bird with salt, pepper and other of your preferred seasonings. Place each bird on its own plate or platter. Keep the birds cold in the refrigerator while you prepare a triple batch of stuffing. Locate and keep handy for later use some toothpicks or wooden skewers and some clean, white kitchen string.
Retrieve the birds. Place the turkey skin side down on a flat surface covered with a clean kitchen towel or large piece of cheese cloth. The fabric will be used later on to help pull the sides of the turkey together. Cover with a layer of stuffing the seasoned bird. Force some stuffing into the leg cavities so they appear plumped—as if the bones were still there.
Lay the duck skin side down on top of the stuffing-covered turkey. Spread more stuffing upon the seasoned duck. Now, lay the chicken on top of the duck. Apply another layer of stuffing to the chicken. Now, all three of the nicely seasoned, stuffing-covered birds are nestled one atop the other.
If a friend or family member is available to help with the next step, ask them to stand by in case you need an extra hand. The kitchen towel or layer of cheese cloth extends past the sides of the birds in progress. Grasp the left and right sides of the towel and pull the sides toward the center so that the sides of the turkey and its contents are brought together in the middle. Your assistant can help roll the outer edges of the turkey toward the middle and hold everything in place.
Secure with toothpicks or wooden skewers the drawn-together sides of the turkey that now envelopes the duck and the chicken. Weave kitchen string around the skewers—or toothpicks—so that the lacing further secures the drawn together edges of the turkey. Place the turducken breast side down into a roasting pan.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place the turducken inside the oven. Cover the roasting pan with its own lid or make a cover of aluminum foil if no lid is available. Cook the turducken for about four hours, then remove the cover and roast uncovered for about another hour. During the roasting, baste occasionally with the hot juices drawn up from the bottom of the pan. The drippings can later make the base for flavorful gravy.
Your turducken is fully cooked when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast—into the midst of the stuffing—registers 165 degrees. Another measurement taken in the thickest part of the turkey's thigh should register 180 degrees. Variables in cooking time may result depending on the thickness of your stuffing layers—and accuracy of your oven temperature.
Let your golden turducken rest for 30 minutes before presenting it on a festive platter. You take a short rest, too, for you're about to be assailed by a hearty round of holiday cheers. And an encore when you carve crosswise, revealing the trio of delectable meats—turkey, duck and chicken.