What is it with me and the butchers? I can’t find a good butcher to save my effin’ life!
Dear Nick the Butcher, at Whole Foods on Kingsbury,
When we spoke on the telephone on Wednesday, I was so excited. I was already plotting my braggery of you on the blog and was just thinking “Finally, a man who knows his meat!” So imagine my surprise, friend Nick, when I pulled out my “deboned” turkey yesterday morning and it looked like the Turkey massacre!
I know. I KNOW, that I formally described the process the bird was to go through, and I also KNOW that I am not the only person who makes her own Turducken. Lost in translation much? Confusion on exactly what parts of the bird need to be intact? Can you tell me what happened back there on the butcher block?
I will tell you what happened. SOMEONE delegated the responsibility of deboning my birds. (Thank you also, for possibly the FATTIEST duck in the fworld. ) Now, if YOU know what the turkey was going to be used for, wouldn’t you put someone on the job that would also know? Is it, or is it not, sort of important that the skin is connecting the turkey on 99% of the overall bird. Well, it looked like a peep show looking through that bird, and to you I say, “YOURE DONE.” No more trusting blindly. Next time, I will make you hold up the damn bird and show me your job before I pay a babillion dollars for a kosher turkey. (It is all they had, I don’t wanna hear it.)
Now, Nick. I know what you must be thinking. “Whit, if it is really that important why didn’t you debone your own birds?” WELLLLL. I am a LADY. That is why! I am not a butcher. You are. So you do the butching. Got it, little man? I know what else you must be thinking “Whit, why didn’t you go to a real meat market?” WELL I am environmentally friendly and I don’t have a car okay? And I was gonna use my zipcar but I let a colleague use my card and she was out of town and I didn’t get it back from her and I only realized this on Saturday morning and SHIT I THOUGHT WHOLE FOODS COULD HANDLE THIS! Correct me if I am wrong, but I pay them in kidneys and body parts just to get food there. If it is expensive as balls I think ‘Hey, at least this is good stuff!’
So, Nick. UR DONE. It is a damn good thing Dad is good with a camera and I am a forgiving soul. Ok maybe not that last part, but I made it work.
(this is my 'sass you very much' face)
Guys. I am having déjà vu. Do you remember the last time this happened to me? With the veal? Oh dear Lord, I am so tired of apathetic butchers.
Anyway, Turducken. We made it happen even though parts of it looked like a peep show. Now, I don’t know if you’ve heard but I am a WHIZ at birds. Like, great with a bird. But this is a whole new ball game. I’m used to birds with rib cages that I stuff oranges in, not meatloafed birds. My main concerns during this process were:
1) Trying to keep the birds from drying out while cooking through. It has a long cook time and not a natural source of flavor from the bones so I really had to pay attention to the birds and make sure they were staying moist while not letting too much heat escape from the oven.
2) Flavor. I know it sounds crazy with 3 birds and 3 different stuffings, but you would be surprised how much difference a bone makes in flavor when cooking a bird.
3) Putting the damn thing together. I had such mixed reviews on how to secure the bird. Some stitch it up, some skewer and flip and then remove the skewers, I knew this choice was going to be a game time one.
All those concerns worked out just fine. I still know my way around a bird!
So the lay went as follows from center to exterior:
Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Stuffing with Turkey Bacon
4 pound Roasting Chicken
Turkey Sausage Apple and Herb Stuffing
7 pound Duck (I am gonna guess 4 pounds were fat, no joke)
15 pound Kosher Turkey
Can we all just take a moment to say it together? AMAZEBALLS.
A-HERE WE GO!
(whoa, do i smell bird?)
A fuckin’ Turducken
*note* you put the stuffing in the birds UNBAKED. If you make stuffing the night before, put it all together, DON’T BAKE IT, stuff it IN THE MORNING (to avoid germ spreadage) and the stuffing will cook inside the bird.
Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Stuffing with Turkey Bacon
1/4 pound turkey bacon
5 T butter
1 chopped onion
3 celery stalks
Pepper jack cheese 1 cup
10 cups Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread (recipe as follows)
In a large deep skillet, saute 1/4 pound diced turkey bacon in 2 tablespoons butter for 5 minutes; transfer to paper towels.
Season with salt and pepper and add 1 chopped onion, 3 chopped celery stalks, 1 diced jalapeno, 1 tablespoon thyme and 3/4 teaspoon chili powder; cook 5 minutes.
Pour in 3 cups chicken broth. Simmer until step 5.
In a large bowl, mix 2 eggs, 1 cup diced pepper jack cheese and the bacon.
Add to the crumbled cornbread and the hot broth mixture.
Gently toss the stuffing, then spread in a buttered 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Dot the top with butter or turkey pan drippings, cover and bake 30 minutes at 350. Uncover and bake until golden, 20 more minutes.
Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread ( Courtesy of Miss Paula Deen )
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups milk
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish, 3 scallions
3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeno peppers
Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don't overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated Cheddar, the scallions and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking pan.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares.
Turkey Sausage, Apple and Herb Stuffing
10 cups 1-inch bread cubes, white or sourdough (1 1/2 pound loaf)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups medium-diced yellow onion (2 onions)
1 cup medium-diced celery (2 stalks)
2 Honey Crisp apples, unpeeled, cored and large-diced
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound spicy Turkey sausage, casings removed
1 cup chicken stock
Place the bread cubes in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 7 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Remove the bread cubes to a very large bowl.
Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, melt the butter and add the onions, celery, apples, parsley, salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Add to the bread cubes.
In the same saute pan, cook the sausage over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until browned and cooked through, breaking up the sausage with a fork while cooking. Add to the bread cubes and vegetables.
Add the chicken stock and cranberries to the mixture, mix well, and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, until browned on top and hot in the middle.
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped carrots
3/4 cup diced onions
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1 small bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups cubed French bread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium stock pot combine all the ingredients except the French bread and boil the mixture for 15 minutes. Spread the French bread cubes evenly over the bottom of a roasting pan. Pour the stock slowly over the French bread and let it sit for 3 minutes. Using a spoon, mix the stock and bread together. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
So, first you take the chicken (which was already deboned by butcher Nick) and LIBERALLY season both sides of the bird with Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Powder. Most Cajun people use a creole mix or at least some cayenne on this step, but I wanted mine to taste more like thanksgiving and less like New Orleans. Place the bird on a cookie sheet, skin side down, and put a layer of the cornbread stuffing on the flesh, patting it down to create flat surface. Cover with saran or foil and put back in the fridge until other birds are complete.
Then take the duck out, and season both sides liberally with the same mix. Stuff the duck in the same fashion, only this time using the Sausage, apple and herb stuffing. Cover and return to the fridge.
Repeat with the Turkey, only using the traditional stuffing, and pull the other birds from the fridge.
This next step is debatable, but it’s how I did it. I wrapped up the chicken and placed it on top of the open stuffed duck. You then pull the sides of the duck up around the wrapped chicken. 4 hands are needed here kids. Have your sous chef hold the sides of the bird up while you wrap the ends, and secure with a long skewer so that when all hands are released, the bird stays in place. Then CAREFULLY holding the birds from all 4 sides, together, move the stuffed duck on to the open stuffed Turkey. Repeat this process of closing the Turkey and securing with a skewer. Once the turkey is secured, remove the skewer from the duck. Then place your roasting dish on top of the seam and once again, with all 4 hands, quickly flip the turducken into the roasting dish. From there, remove the skewer out of the bottom of the bird and voila! You have a perfectly (errr that’s subjective) stuffed turducken.
Cook at 325 until the meat thermometer reads 185 in the center of the bird(s). This should take you anywhere from 5-7 hours.
Since there are no bones, you can slice this mother like a meatloaf. Amazeballs!
(woof, turducken coma.)
Hope all those involved had as good of a time as I did! Guys, don't forget that voting is open and you can now vote for me on Project Food Blog here! Thank you so much to all of you who have already voted! Momma loves you!!!