I've never had a real turducken. It just seems like so. much. work.
As I was contemplating the idea of trying one this year, I had a vision of a turducken that didn't require anyone (you or your poor, unfortunate butcher) to completely debone a turkey, duck, AND chicken. Because..no one really wants to do that.
And then it occurred to me that the whole deboning three species of poultry was just dumb. Why do that when you could just use already deboned parts of each? Why? Why?
So, I set about designing a new, simplified version of turducken, one that any of us can make at home, however strong (or weak) your butchery skills are.
Here's how it works: you get a deboned turkey breast with the skin still on, a duck breast, and a deboned chicken breast (or thighs). You ask your butcher to butterfly them, or you do it at home. That just means you cut into it horizontally to make it thinner and longer. Pound them out a little to make them even thinner and longer. Then, you lay out the butterflied turkey breast and season it with salt, pepper, tons of chopped garlic, and rosemary and sage. Then you put the butterflied chicken breast on top of that. Season again. Finally, you place the butterflied duck breast on top of all, and season again. Roll it all up, tie, and roast. Voila! Thanksgiving conquered.
And, trust me, people will be impressed. The outside gets perfectly browned and crisp, while the inside is succulent. Because duck doesn't need to be cooked to the same high temperature as chicken and turkey, you don't need to overcook the outside layers waiting for the inside to fully cook. Finally, you could change up the seasoning on the inside to whatever you prefer: stuffing, dried cranberries, caramelized onions, spinach, walnuts, whatever sounds good to you! Just be sure to tie the roast up tightly so that everything stays together.
- one split turkey breast, deboned, skin-on
- one duck breast, skin removed and set aside
- two boneless chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup chopped rosemary and sage (or another mix of herbs you like)
- 10 garlic cloves, minced
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Melted butter for basting (about 1/4 cup)
- Ask your butcher to butterfly the meats for you, or do it yourself. Butterflying is hard to explain in words, but the idea is that you would cut almost all the way through the meat on both the right and left sides, with the goal of opening the meat up more and ending up with a thinner piece.
- Take the skin off the duck breast as carefully as you can, and then do the same thing for the duck breast, and the chicken breasts. For the chicken and duck, you can just cut the breast almost in half horizontally, and then open it up like a book. Use a heavy pan to pound each piece out so it's bigger and flatter. Don't flatten it too much.
- Lay the turkey breast on the cutting board skin side down, and season it with the salt, pepper, garlic, and herbs. Then, place the chicken breast on top in a single layer, and season again. Top with the duck breast, and season again.
- Roll the whole thing up, starting on the short end to your left or right. Use good butchers twine to tie the turducken tightly. Start in the middle, and work your way out. Don't worry if the ties look nice; what's most important is that they hold everything together.
- Preheat the oven to 450. Rub the roast with the olive oil, and season the outside with salt and pepper. Place the roast on a rack, in a roasting pan, and place in the oven.
- Cook the turducken for ten minutes at 450, and then reduce the temperature in the oven to 325. Roast for 30-45 minutes, basting occasionally with the butter, until the outside is well-browned, and the temp of the roast is 165 toward the edges where the chicken and turkey are, and around 140-150 in the dead center where the duck is. Turn the oven up again at the end of roasting if the turducken isn't as brown as you'd like.
- Allow to rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving.