Don’t Lose a Finger This Thanksgiving

When I was in Colorado a few Thanksgivings ago, my friends, John and Marisa took me to their friends’ house for the holiday feast.  The primary draw at the dinner table was the turducken. What’s that, you ask?  This common question is why I chose to write this story: to put to rest all confusion and questions about this festive treat.

Let’s start at the very beginning.  Turducken is a chicken stuffed in a duck, stuffed in a turkey.  Here’s an illustration for visual learners:

Being the naïve person that I am, I had four questions when I first heard of this treat: 1) how does one debone each of the birds while still maintaining their shape? 2) how does one stuff a full chicken in a duck?  3) why not just cook a duck, chicken, and turkey on their own? 4) where did this fascination with stuffing birds inside of each other come from?

This video answered my first two questions and motivated me to make a turducken one day, or at least until I got to the

One reason I won't be making my own nested bird combo for Thanksgiving

part when the narrator warned about losing a finger when trying to prepare the meat:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-Co1Ecv_8g.  This word of caution caused flashbacks to my solo trip to the ER last May for a cooking cutting injury.  Four hours in the ER, getting a shot of anesthesia into my gaping wound, and paying five-hundred dollars for the privilege of being poked and prodded like a baked turducken were enough to shift my motivation to saving $8 per month for the next year so my husband and I can order a tri-bird treat from this company: http://www.cajungrocer.com/fresh-foods-holiday-dishes-turducken-c-1_15_24.html?lastaction=add_to_cart&=&page=1.

Once you have taken your first bite of a turducken, the answer to my third question is apparent.  It is one of the juiciest, most flavorful meats I’ve ever had the privilege of eating.  Being a fan of duck, I’m convinced that it is what makes the blend perfect and flavorful.

As to my last question, according to Wikipedia, creating roasts of nested bird has been going on for centuries:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turducken This story indicates that in 1807, a gastronomist named Grimod de La Reynière decided to make a bustard stuffed with a turkey, a goose, a pheasant, a chicken, a duck, a guinea fowl, a teal, a woodcock, a partridge, a plover, a lapwing, a quail, a thrush, a lark, an ortolan bunting and a garden warbler.  Since I had to look up eight of the names in that litany of birds, my motivation shifted a second time to developing a nested bird combination of my own for next Thanksgiving and hiring a butcher to create it.  Below is what I’ve come up with so far.

Have you had turducken before?  Will you have it again?

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2 comments on “Don’t Lose a Finger This Thanksgiving

  1. Dale Harshman says:

    Yes, in addition to fried turkeys, we Louisianians have contributed this beautiful piece of culinary art known as the turducken to the American Thanksgiving tradition. I’ve eaten turducken only once and thought it was excellent. Could be fun to order one next year if we’re at home for Thanksgiving.

    I found a NYT article that talks about turduckens and also references an old recipe from the country of Georgia which consists of “a huge ox roasted on a spit, stuffed successively with a calf, a lamb, a turkey, a goose, a duck, and finally a young chicken, and seasoned throughout with spices.” This actually sounds really good!

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