The turducken: boneless turkey stuffed with a boneless duck and boneless chicken 'one big bird'

  • Preparation Time300 mins
  • Cooking Time720 mins
  • Serves20
  • DifficultyMedium

For the Andouille sausage stuffing

1.35kg coarsely ground pork
1 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper, optional
Pinch chilli pepper flakes
Pinch ground mace
Pinch ground allspice
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
Pinch ground bay leaf
Pinch ground sage
2 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
3 tsp bacon fat

For the spinach stuffing

1.8kg frozen chopped spinach, thaw, remove excess liquid, or 1.35kg freshly chopped spinach
225g butter
300g sauteed onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp ground fennel seed

For the turducken

1 (2.7kg) fresh whole duck
1 (1.8kg) fresh whole chicken
240ml olive oil, divided
About 5 tbsp blackening spice, divided
1 (11.25kg) fresh whole turkey
2 tbsp freshly chopped garlic
2.25kg cornbread dressing
Spinach stuffing, recipe follows
Andouille sausage stuffing, recipe follows
3 whole roasted red bell peppers, cut into strips
2 tbsp salt
2L turkey gravy
Special equipment: Large roasting pan and rack, 20 feet butcher's twine, large sewing needle
Andouille sausage stuffing:
1) In a large bowl mix the ingredients, except the bacon fat, with some cold water. Brown off the sausage mixture in a pan with about 3 tsp of bacon fat for flavour. Once the sausage mixture is browned, chill immediately.

Spinach stuffing:
1) Melt the butter in large skillet. Add all of the ingredients and saute for 5 minutes until hot. Set aside to cool.

Assembling the turducken:
1) It is wise to de-bone the duck and chicken first, for practice. Place the fresh chicken breast side down on a large cutting board. Starting at the bird's neck, cut through the skin along the length of the spine. Using the tip of the knife and starting from the neck end, separate the meat from rib cage on one side. Disjoint the wing from the shoulder blade and reserve for stock. Work towards the thigh bone, cut through the ball and socket joint and pop loose using upward pressure with your hand from under the bird. Using thumbnail, loosen the oyster meat (most tender part) from the frame. With a knife remove the thigh and leg bone, but keep the leg attached to the bird.

2) Repeat the process on the other side of the chicken. When both sides are finished, the bird will lay flat. Grab rib cage by the neck area and gently pull towards back to remove the entire carcass and breast bone cartilage.

3) Repeat same de-boning procedure for the duck.

4) In a well-ventilated area or with the exhaust fan on high, preheat a large cast iron pan to very hot.

5) Rub boneless chicken and duck with olive oil. Generously sprinkle with blackening spice on both sides. Place skin side down in the pan for 1 to 2 minutes then turn over and repeat. Refrigerate.

6) The turkey wings will be left attached to meat and the bone-in drumstick will be disjointed from the boneless thigh meat and left attached to the meat. The final product should be a flat boneless turkey (except for the wings and drumsticks).

7) Place the turkey, skin side down, on a flat surface. Rub the meat with 3 tbsp of olive oil. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp of chopped fresh garlic and 1 tbsp of blackening spice. Spread an even layer of cornbread dressing over the meat, about 2cm thick, and pat down with the hands. Spread with 0.5cm layer of spinach stuffing. Sprinkle with 250g of andouille sausage stuffing. On top, place six to eight slices of roasted red pepper.

8) Place the chilled duck skin side down on top of the layered stuffing. Repeat the layered stuffing as above.

9) Arrange the chilled chicken skin side down, on top of the stuffed duck. Spread the remainder of stuffing on top of the chicken. Press down gently with the hands to compact all ingredients.

10) This next step may take another person's help. Lift the sides of the turkey together. Have a helper hold the bird closed while sewing the back of the turkey together using butcher's twine, making the stitches about 2.5cm apart, starting at the back of turkey and working towards the neck. Working carefullly, since the turducken has no boney frame, roll over breast side up and finish sewing the neck portion of bird. Tie off and cut the twine.

11) Now sew up the opening at the leg section of the turkey. Truss the legs together with twine. For extra support, tie butcher's twine around the bird's width every 7.5cm down along the bird's length.

12) Position your hands evenly under the turducken and lift into a large roasting pan with a rack inside. The pan should be at least 7.5cm deep to catch the drippings during cooking. Rub the entire exposed skin of bird with 2 tbsp of olive oil then sprinkle with 1 tbsp blackening spice and salt.

13) Add 120ml water to the bottom of the roasting pan. Wrap the drumsticks with aluminium foil and place greaseproof paper over the entire bird. Loosely tent the roasting pan with aluminium foil.

14) Bake at 93C/Gas 0 for 12 hours or until internal temperature reaches 74C.

15) Remove all foil and greseproof paper for the last hour of roasting time and turn up the temperature to 160C/Gas 3. Baste with the drippings. When done, remove from oven and let set in roasting pan for at least 1 hour.

16) Insert two heavy-duty spatulas underneath and remove the turducken from the rack to place on a carving platter. Remove all of the butcher twine, including the portion along the spine. To serve, cut the turducken in half lengthwise, then cut servings crosswise in approximately 2.5cm thicknesses. Serve with gravy and enjoy.

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