I am the master of turducken! OK. Maybe not the master. But I did a very good job.
Like I said, I brined the duck in orange-pineapple juice. I wound up brining the chicken in apple cider because it turned out that the turkey that I had been given had already been brined is a straight saline solution. Oh well. While that would save me a bit of work, I was a little disappointed.
Wednesday during the day, I de-boned the chicken. I did a quick google search and found this great page on how to bone a chicken, turkey, or other bird. I really liked this version because in the end, you wind up with a de-boned bird with the skin mostly intact.
It took me two hours to de-bone the chicken. I blame this mainly upon the fact that I was using someone else’s knives. They had boning knives but the blades were rather dull. I actually wound up nicking my index finger because of that. On the other hand, it did come out correctly, so I was proud of myself.
With that success under my belt, I decided to de-bone the duck. That one was a bit harder. Ducks are in much better shape than chickens. The tendons are stronger. Also, since it was a larger bird, it was a little bit unwieldy at times. I cut myself again. Still not serious, but it was a larger and deeper cut, this time on my thumb. There was no way that I was going to attempt to de-bone the turkey without: 1) aid, and 2) a sharper blade. I went to my mother’s place and got my carving knife out of storage. It was not as flexible as a boning knife, but I figured that it would still do the trick on a turkey. Especially since I was absolutely positive that it was sharp enough to split a hair.
I got my ex to help me with the turkey when she got off of work since we would be having supper together. The good, the combination of help and a sharper knife did indeed make the turkey easier than if I had done it by myself with the dull blades. The bad, the carving knife was a little too long and I was pretty tired. I let my ex do some of the de-boning. The ugly, the skin of the de-boned turkey was nowhere near as intact as it could have been. When we stuffed the ducken into the turkey, I had to hold the outside together with splints.
I cooked several pies and cranberry compote before my body said, “no! You’re going to sleep!”
The next day, I roasted the whole thing in the oven. I plugged the meat thermometer into the chicken, figuring that it could not reach its proper temperature before the outer layers did. I set the alarm for “roast chicken”, popped the whole thing into an oven that had been pre-heated to 500 degrees F, and let her go! I immediately turned down the temp to 400 degrees F, since I knew the quirks of this oven would mean that it would roast the bird at the higeher temp for about fifteen minutes before it began to drop. About a half hour later, I had to cover the bird with aluminum foil since the skin was a crisp and delicious golden-brown. I turned the oven down to 350 degrees F and I continued baking it until the alarm told me that the meat had reached the desired temp … I am going to guess that it was around three and a half more hours. I began cooking the casseroles, puddings, and potatoes. In the end, I served turducken with cranberry-orange compote; sweet potato casserole; buttermilk mashed potatoes; green bean casserole; corn-bread pudding, corn bread stuffing with apples, cherries, pecans, and golden raisins; deep dish cherry pie; pumpkin pie; sweet potato pie; and wassail.* I was originally going to make apple-cranberry pie as well, but I got tired.
The food was a hit! Everyone loved the turducken and the other dishes were loved as well! I took a lot of pictures, and I fully intend to share them … as soon as I can find the cable so that I can upload them from my camera.
[*] To show the true depths of my insanity, I actually had to make several preparatory dishes to complete some of the finished products. For example, I had to make: creamed corn, corn bread, cream of mushroom soup, french bread, and fried onions all from scratch in order to make the green bean casserole, corn-bread pudding, and corn bread stuffing.
This morning, I had steel cut oats cooked in apple cider with dried cranberries. Tonight, I shall explore the wonderful world of leftovers. Since I have about half a loaf of french bread left over, I think that I shall make french toast and then use that to make sandwiches filled with turducken, cheese, and cranberry compote for supper tonight.
And I think that maybe … just maybe … I might be able to take out Dulcinea for the first time in a very long time, and relax for a bit.