Sunday, December 28, 2008

Birds of a Feather

Traditionally, our family gets together every Christmas Eve for our yuletide meal. Aunties, uncles, children, parents and grandparents all under one roof devouring the spoils of the Christmas season. Then some years ago, my cousins started a new tradition: the Cousins Christmas Dinner, which, unlike the repast that our older relatives create, is always a little more decadent.

There's always good wine, lots of red meat and some manner of foie gras. Last year we bought 120 oysters, which we had to shuck. We're never doing that again. A few years ago we had a massive cote de bouef, on top of a roasted pork belly and a giant pasta pie.

And this year was no different—except someone came up with the idea of a turducken, and the rest, as the saying goes, is family history.

Thanks to good foresight on the part of our youngest cousin G, we got a de-boned chicken and duck from a butcher. And having read and reread Jeffrey Steingarten's account of his search for the authentic turducken in his book It Must Have Been Something I Ate, I decided that it was imperative I make three different stuffings for maximum flavour.

So here it is, our account of our first turducken in pictures. It wasn't as much work as I had imagined it would be (thanks in large part to the already deboned chicken and duck), and the process was wonderfully hilarious and just the thing to put us in the Christmas spirit. Every time I looked at the turducken I just had to laugh, it was ridiculously massive and a miracle that it fit in my oven.

Debone turkey, backbone first.

Beware the spotted beast stalking the raw meat.

Remove all but the thigh bones and wings of the turkey.

Spread over a layer of shrimp and cornbread stuffing.

Place the de-boned duck on top.

Spread a layer of pork and chestnut stuffing on top.

Place the deboned chicken on top...

And then a layer of smoked oyster and bacon stuffing. We also threw in the turkey giblets for good measure.

We figured we'd tie the bird up before stitching it together. But I think I over-did the stuffing a little and the chicken tried to make its way out of the crowded cavity.

Close up the beast with Christmas-red cotton thread. My fingers were sore the next day from it!

Season with salt and pepper.

Place in the oven at 100 degrees C for the first 6 hours and then increasing by 10 degrees C every hour after that.

The bird is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 74 degrees C or 165 degrees F.

Keep basting as you cook. The bird oozed a whopping 15 cups of juices and fat as it cooked and I ladled the fat out every few hours so the bird wouldn't steam.

The result: gorgeous layers of wonderfully moist meat and cupfuls of juices swishing about in the pan. Even with 17 of us at dinner, we only managed to eat about a third of the turducken. What a feast!

Happy holidays!


Anonymous terri said...

Wow, a turducken! This surely is an amazing feat to pull off at home :) Are there butchers in Singapore who are willing to debone the chickens? Merry Christmas!

5:16 pm  
Anonymous S said...

Happy Holidays, Eggy! My lord, that's an impressive turducken. Wish I was there :P

4:35 pm  

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