It’s a lot of fun to let your guests think
you’re serving them a regular holiday turkey. When you start to carve the
"turkey," they’ll be quite surprised to see you cut through its "bones"!
Since the Turducken takes about 12 to 13 hours
to cook (and then it needs to cool at least 1 hour before it’s
carved), you will need to plan your time wisely. First, be sure your oven temperature control is accurate. If not
(and ovens usually need adjusting every few months), get it fixed or simply purchase an inexpensive oven
thermometer to correctly maintain the oven’s temperature, instead of relying on the oven temperature control.
Otherwise, your Turducken may take considerably fewer or more than 12 to 13 hours to cook. A good thing to
know, though, is that since you are cooking the Turducken at such a low temperature (assuming your oven
temperature is accurate!), you can leave it cooking a couple of extra hours with no harm done; and once it’s
removed from the oven, the Turducken will stay hot for several hours.
The quickest way to prepare your Turducken
is to get friends or family members to make the dressings (or, if
you’re on your own, you will need to make the three dressings the day before boning the fowl and assembling the
Turducken). Cover the dressings tightly and refrigerate them several hours so they will be well chilled before you
place them in the meat. You can bone the meat (be sure to save the bones and necks for making stock) and
assemble the Turducken the day before cooking - - and family or friends can have fun helping you with this, too!
Keep the Turducken refrigerated until ready to cook. Make the gravy after the Turducken comes out of the oven.
To stuff the Turducken itself, you will need
about 7 cups of the andouille dressing, about 4 cups cornbread
dressing and about 3 cups oyster dressing. It’s also nice to serve additional dressing in bowls at the table, so
we’ve told you in the list of ingredients how many times to multiply each dressing recipe to have plenty of extra.
If you’re inexperienced at boning fowl, start
with the turkey; because of its size, you can more easily see the bone
structure. After boning the turkey, the duck and chicken will go much faster. And remember, each time you do a
Turducken it gets easier; it doesn’t take magical cooking abilities, it just takes care. What is magical is the way
people eating your Turducken will feel about your food!
4 recipes Andouille Smoked Sausage Dressing
5 recipes Sweet Potato Eggplant Gravy (recipe follows)
1 small hammer
2 recipes Cornbread Dressing (recipe follows)
1 (3-inch) needle (a "packing" needle with a curved tip works well)
4 recipes Oyster Dressing (recipe follows)
1 (20- to 25-pound) turkey
Strong thread, for sewing up the fowl
1 (4- to 5-pound) domestic duckling
1 (15 x 11-inch) baking pan, at least 2½ inches deep
1 (3- to 3½-pound) chicken
1 pan, larger than the 15 x 11-inch pan, that
the smaller pan will fit inside with room to spare
6 tablespoons Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Meat Magic®
Make the three dressings; cover well and refrigerate.
Then bone the fowl. It’s helpful to keep the following in
1. Your goal is to end up with one large piece
of essentially boneless turkey meat; the finished product will contain
only the tip end of each leg bone and the first two joints of each wing. You will end up with one piece of
completely boneless duck meat and one piece of completely boneless chicken meat.
2. Be careful not to pierce the skin except
for the initial slits. (Cuts in the skin tend to enlarge during cooking
make the end result less attractive as well as dryer.)
3. Allow yourself plenty of time, especially
if you’re a beginner. And even if you are experienced, approach the
boning procedure with a gentle, careful touch - - the meat is not tough and you want to end up with as much of it
4. Bone one side of each bird - - either the left or right - - before doing the other side.
5. Use a sharp knife and use mainly the tip; stay close to the bone at all times with the knife.
6. It’s worth the time and effort!
ANDOUILLE SMOKED SAUSAGE DRESSING
4 tablespoons margarine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups chopped onions
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 cups chopped celery
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 cups chopped green bell peppers
1 tablespoon Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Pepper Sauce™
1¼ pounds andouille smoked sausage (preferred) or any other good smoked pure pork sausage such as
Polish sausage (Kielbasa), ground (3 cups)
2 cups turkey, duck or chicken stock (recipe follows)
1½ cups very fine dry bread crumbs (preferably (see Note) French bread)
NOTE: If you are not using andouille, add approximately
2 tablespoons Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Meat Magic®
to the meat for a fuller flavor. K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen Cajun Andouille Smoked Sausage is available through
Melt the margarine in a large skillet over
high heat. Add 2 cups of the onions, 1 cup of the celery and 1 cup of the
bell peppers; sauté until onions are dark brown but not burned, about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add
the andouille and cook until meat is browned, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the remaining 2 cups
onions, 1 cup celery and 1 cup bell peppers, the butter, paprika, garlic and Magic Pepper Sauce, stirring well.
Reduce heat to medium and cook about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the stock and bring to a simmer;
continue cooking until the oil rises to the top (until the water evaporates), about 10 minutes. Stir in the bread
crumbs. Remove from heat. Transfer mixture to an ungreased 8 x 8-inch baking dish; bake uncovered in a 425°
oven until browned on top, about 45 minutes, stirring and scraping pan bottom well every 15 minutes. Makes
about 5 cups.
Cajuns like their cornbreads and dressing sweet,
so the crumbled cornbread we start with in this dish is sweet. If
you prefer less sweet dressings, make your cornbread without sugar.
2 tablespoons Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Poultry
¾ pound turkey, duck or chicken giblets, boiled until tender, then ground (preferably) or finely chopped
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 tablespoons margarine
1 cup turkey, duck or chicken stock (recipe follows)
¾ cup finely chopped onions
1 tablespoon Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Pepper Sauce™
¾ cup finely chopped green bell peppers
½ cup finely chopped celery
5 cups finely crumbled Cornbread or Cornbread Muffins (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon mined garlic
2 bay leaves
1 (13-ounce) can evaporated milk (1-2/3 cups)
In a large skillet melt the butter and margarine
with the onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic and bay leaves over
high heat; sauté about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the Poultry Magic and continue cooking until
vegetables are barely wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in the giblets, stock and Magic Pepper Sauce; cook 5 minutes,
stirring frequently. Turn off heat. Add the cornbread, milk and eggs, stirring well. Spoon dressing into a greased
13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake at 350° until browned on top, about 35 to 40 minutes. Makes about 8 cups.
CORNBREAD OR CORNBREAD MUFFINS
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cornmeal
1-1/3 cups milk
2/3 cup sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup corn flour (see Note)
1 small egg, beaten
5 teaspoons baking powder
NOTE: Available at many health food stores.
In a large bowl combine the flour, cornmeal,
sugar, corn flour, baking powder and salt; mix well, breaking up any
lumps. In a separate bowl combine the milk, butter and egg and add to the dry ingredients; blend just until mixed
and large lumps are dissolved. Do not overbeat.
For bread, pour mixture into a greased 8 x
8-inch baking pan and bake at 350° until golden brown, about 55
minutes. Remove from pan and serve immediately.
For muffins, spoon mixture into 12 greased
muffin cups. Bake at 350° until golden brown, about 45 minutes.
Remove from pan immediately and serve while hot.
Makes 1 loaf of bread, 1 dozen muffins or about 6 cups finely crumbled cornbread.
About 20 small to medium oysters in their liquor,
4 teaspoons Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic®
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup cold water
½ cup chopped green onions
3/8 pound (1½ sticks) margarine
½ cup very finely chopped fresh parsley
1½ cups chopped onions
3 bay leaves
1 cup chopped celery
About 1 cup very fine dry bread crumbs
1 cup chopped green bell peppers
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Combine the oysters and water; stir and refrigerate
at least 1 hour. Strain and reserve the oysters and oyster
water; refrigerate until ready to use.
Melt 4 tablespoons of the margarine in a large
skillet over high heat. When margarine is almost melted, add ¾ cup
of the onions, ½ cup of the celery and ½ cup of the bell peppers. Sauté over high heat until onions are dark brown
but not burned, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
When the onions are browned, stir 2 teaspoons
of the Seafood Magic and the garlic into the skillet. Reduce heat
to medium and continue cooking 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining ¾ cup onions, ½ cup celery,
½ cup bell peppers and 1 stick margarine, and ¼ cup of the green onions, ¼ cup of the parsley and the bay
leaves. Stir until margarine is melted. Continue cooking 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the reserved oyster
water and cook over high heat about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons Seafood
Magic and enough bread crumbs to make a moist, but not runny dressing; remove from heat. Stir in the drained
oysters. Spoon dressing into an ungreased 8 x 8-inch baking pan and bake uncovered in a 350° oven for 30
minutes. Remove from oven, discard bay leaves and stir in the butter and the remaining ¼ cup green onions and ¼
cup parsley. Makes about 3 cups.
TO BONE THE TURKEY
Place the turkey, breast down, on a flat surface.
Make an incision the entire length of the spine through the skin
and flesh. Starting from the neck end and using the tip of the knife, follow as close to the bone as you can cut,
carefully teasing the skin and meat away from the frame. Toward the neck end, cut through the meat to expose the
shoulder blade (feel for it first and cut through small amounts of meat at a time if you have trouble locating it); cut
the meat away from around the bone and sever the bone at the joint so you can remove the blade.
Disjoint the wing between the second and third
joint; free the heavy drumstick of the wing and remove it, being
careful to leave the skin intact. Continue teasing the meat away from the backbone, heading toward the thighbone
and being careful to keep the "oyster" (pocket of meat on the back) attached to the skin instead of leaving it with
Cut through the ball-and-socket joint to release
the thighbone from the carcass; you should now be able to open
up the bird more in order to better see what bones are still left to deal with. Continue teasing the meat away from
the carcass until you reach the center front of the breastbone. Then very carefully separate the skin from the
breastbone at the midline without piercing the skin (go slowly because the skin is very thin at this point).
Repeat the same boning procedure on the other
side (left or right) of the turkey, with the turkey still breast down.
When both sides are finished, carefully remove the carcass. Then remove the thighbone and leg bone on each side
as follows. Being careful not to break through the skin, use a small hammer to break the leg bone completely
across, about two inches from the tip end. Then manipulate both ends of the bone with your hands to be sure the
break is complete. Leave the tip of the bone in, but remove the leg bone and thighbone as one unit. To do this, cut
the meat away from around the thighbone first, using the knife tip; then, holding the thighbone up with one hand,
use the other hand to carefully cut the meat away from around the leg-thigh joint. (Don’t cut through this joint, and
don’t worry if it seems as if you’re leaving a lot of meat around the joint - - it can’t be helped and, besides, it will
add flavor when you make the stock with the bones!) Then use the blade of the knife to scrape the meat away
from the leg bone; remove the leg-thigh bone. With your hands or the knife, one by one remove as many pin
bones from the leg meat as possible; then, if necessary, pull the tip of the leg bone to turn the meat to the inside
(so the skin is on the outside and it looks like a turkey again). Refrigerate.
TO BONE THE DUCK
Place the duck, breast down, on a flat surface
and follow the same procedure as you did to bone the turkey,
except this time you will remove all the bones, instead of leaving in part of the wing and leg bones.
To bone each wing, cut off the first two joints
of the wing (and save for stock), leaving the wing’s drumstick; cut
the meat from around the drumstick and remove this bone.
When you reach the thigh, follow the thigh-leg
bone with the knife blade to release the bone as one unit, again
being careful not to cut through the skin.
Trim some of the excess skin and fat from the
neck area; cut the skin in small pieces and reserve it for making the
gravy; discard the fat. Refrigerate the duck and skin pieces.
TO BONE THE CHICKEN
Use precisely the same procedure to bone the chicken as you used to bone the duck.
TO ASSEMBLE THE TURDUCKEN
Spread the turkey, skin down, on a flat surface
exposing as much meat as possible. Sprinkle the meat generously
and evenly with a total of about 2 tablespoons of the Meat Magic, patting it in with your hands. (Be sure to turn
the leg, thigh and wing meat to the outside so you can season it, too.) then stuff some of the cold andouille
dressing into the leg, thigh and wing cavities until full but not tightly packed (if too tightly packed, it may cause the
leg and wing to burst open during cooking). Spread an even layer of the dressing over the remaining exposed
meat, about ½ to ¾-inch thick. You should use a total of about 7 cups dressing.
Place the duck, skin down, on top of the andouille
dressing, arranging the duck evenly over the dressing. Season
the exposed duck meat generously and evenly with about 1 tablespoon more Meat Magic, pressing it in with your
hands. Then spread the cold cornbread dressing evenly over the expose duck meat, making the layer slightly less
thick than the andouille dressing, about ½ inch thick. Use a total of about 4 cups dressing.
Arrange the chicken, skin down, evenly on top
of the cornbread dressing. Season the exposed chicken meat
generously and evenly with about 1 tablespoon more Meat Magic, pressing it in with your hands. Spread the cold
oyster dressing evenly over the exposed chicken meat, using about 3 cups dressing and making the layer about ½
Enlist another person’s help to carefully lift
the open Turducken into an ungreased 15 x 11-inch baking pan that is
at least 2½ inches deep. (NOTE: This pan size is ideal because the Turducken fits snugly in the pan and stays in
the proper shape while cooking.) As you lift the Turducken into the pan, fold the sides of the turkey together to
close the bird. Have your helper hold the turkey closed while you sew up all openings, making the stitches about 1
inch apart; when you finish sewing up the Turducken on the first side, turn it over in the pan to sew closed any
openings on the other side. Then tie the legs together just above the tip bones. Leave the Turducken breast side
up in the pan, tucking in the turkey wings.
Place the Turducken pan in a slightly larger
pan with sides at least 2½ inches deep, so that the larger pan will
catch the overflow of drippings during cooking. Season the exposed side of the Turducken generously and evenly
with about 2 tablespoons more Meat Magic, patting it in with your hands. Refrigerate until ready to bake.
Bake at 190° until done, about 12 to 13
hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted through to the center reads
165°. (NOTE: There is no need to baste, but you will need to remove accumulated drippings from the Turducken
pan every few hours so that the lower portion of the turkey doesn’t "deep fry" in the hot oil.) When done, remove
the Turducken from oven and let cool in its pan at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the gravy with some of the pan
drippings and the reserved duck skin. With strong spatulas inserted underneath (remember there are no bones to
support the bird’s structure), carefully transfer the Turducken to a serving platter and present it to your guests
before carving. Then place the Turducken on a flat surface to carve. Be sure to make your slices crosswise so that
each slice contains all three dressings and all three meats. (It’s easy to do this and still have manageable size
servings if you slice the Turducken in half lengthwise, then cut servings crosswise to the desired thickness from one
side of the Turducken at a time.) Serve additional bowls of the dressings on the side.
SWEET POTATO EGGPLANT GRAVY
4 teaspoons Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Meat Magic®
3 bay leaves
½ cup drippings from Turducken, plus the reserved duck skin
8 cups turkey, duck or chicken stock (recipe follows)
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
4 cups peeled and chopped eggplant
1 cup peeled sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch dice
1½ cups chopped onions
3 tablespoons grand Marnier
1 cup peeled and finely chopped sweet potatoes
½ cup finely chopped green onions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Place the drippings and duck skin in a large
skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 cups of the eggplant and sauté
until eggplant starts to get soft, translucent and brown, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the onions and
remaining 1 cup eggplant; cook until the onions start to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add
the finely chopped sweet potatoes; continue cooking and stirring for 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 3
minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bay leaves, 3 teaspoons of the Meat Magic and stir well, scraping pan
bottom as needed.
Next, stir 1 cup of the stock into the vegetables
and cook 2 minutes, then add another 1 cup stock; cook 5
minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in ¼ cup of the sugar and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add another 1
cup stock and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining ¼ cup sugar and 1 cup more stock;
cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add another 1 cup stock and cook 10 minutes more, stirring
occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer 13 minutes. Stir in another 1 cup stock and simmer 3 minutes more.
Remove from heat and strain well, forcing as much liquid as possible through the strainer.
Place the strained gravy in a 2-quart saucepan.
Add the diced sweet potatoes and 1 cup stock; bring to a boil
over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes, skimming off any froth from the surface. Stir in the grand
Marnier and continue simmering 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the green onions, the remaining teaspoon of
Meat Magic and 1 cup more stock. Bring gravy to a boil and simmer until it reduces to about 3 cups, about 8
minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes about 3 cups.
BASIC FOWL AND GAME STOCK
About 5 gallons cold water (see Note)
6 medium onions, unpeeled and quartered
1 stalk celery, separated into ribs
1 large head garlic, unpeeled and halved crosswise to expose meat
1½ to 2 pounds bones and necks from the turkey, duck and chicken or use 10 pounds backs, necks and/or
bones from chickens, guinea hens, ducks, geese, pheasants (for all fowl, the giblets, excluding livers, may be
used), rabbits, squirrels or other fowl or game
NOTE: Always start with cold water. Enough to cover all the ingredients.
Place all ingredients in a very large stockpot;
bring to a boil over high heat, then gently simmer at least 4 hours,
preferably 8 (unless otherwise directed in a recipe), replenishing the water as needed to keep about 4 gallons of
liquid in the pan. Strain, cool and refrigerate until ready to use. Makes about 4 gallons. (NOTE: Remember, if you
are short on time, that using a stock simmered 20 to 30 minutes is far better than using just water in any recipe.)