A recipe for a turkey, stuffed with a duck, a chicken, and dressing. The juices from the duck and the sausage stuffing really help to add
flavor to the turkey.
- 16-20 pound whole turkey
- 4-5 pound whole duckling
- 3-4 pound whole
chicken (or use a larger chicken and place the duckling inside it)
- Corn bread dressing
- Sausage stuffing
- Large roasting pan and rack
- Cotton string
- Large needle and cotton thread
De bone the birds:
Sharpen those knives! Maximize your work area
so you have plenty of room and light. Use the kitchen table if there's
not enough counter space. If it is your first time de boning a fowl, it
is advisable to practice first on the chicken rather than the turkey
since mistakes will be hidden inside the bigger birds.
turkey and remove the neck and any giblets. Place the turkey, breast
side down, on a clean flat surface. Cut through the skin along the
length of the spine. Using the tip of a knife and starting from the neck
end, gently separate meat from rib cage on one side. Toward neck end,
cut through the meat to expose the shoulder blade; cut meat away from
and around the bone, severing bone at the joint to remove shoulder
blade. Disjoint wing between second and third joints. Leave the wing
bones and keep the wing attached to the meat.
separating meat from frame, heading toward the thighbone and being
careful to keep the "oyster" (pocket of meat on back) attached to skin,
rather than leaving it with the bone. Cut through ball-and-socket joint
to release the thighbone from the carcass (bird will be open on one
side, exposing bones left to deal with). Keep the leg attached to the
Repeat boning procedure on the other side of the bird.
Carefully remove the carcass and use it to make stock. Stock is needed
for making stuffing and more stock is needed for gravy. To make stock,
put the turkey carcass in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a
boil, then simmer on low heat overnight.
You should end up with
a flat boneless (except for wings and legs) turkey with the skin intact
in one large piece. Put the boned turkey in a large dish or bowl and
cover with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Place it in the
Repeat the deboning process on the duckling and
the chicken, but de bone both stumps of wings and leg drumsticks. Cut
through flesh at the thinnest point and trim around these bones with a
knife until they can be removed. (Since they have little meat, we
usually cut off the entire wings and add them to the stock pot.) Both
the chicken and duck will be stuffed inside the turkey and need not be
kept "perfectly" intact.
Trim excess skin and fat from necks of
birds. Ducks, in particular, have a lot of excess fatty skin that should
be saved to render fat to be used later for making gravy.
Prepare seasoning mix and set aside:
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1-2 teaspoons
Melt butter in large skillet
over high heat. Add 3 cups onions and 1-1/2 cups celery. Sauté until
onions are dark brown but not burned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add 2 lbs
sausage (we prefer spicy Italian sausage) to the skillet and cook about
5 minutes or until the meat is browned, stirring frequently. Add paprika
(3 tbsp.) and minced garlic (3 tbsp.) and cook approximately 3 minutes
over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in 3 cups of stock and
bring to simmer. Continue cooking until water evaporates and oil rises
to top, about 10 minutes. Stir in 2-3 cups toasted bread crumbs and mix
well. Add more bread crumbs if mixture is too moist.
similar amount of another stuffing such as corn bread stuffing.
At least 10 to 11 hours before dinner, assemble the
Spread the turkey, skin down, on flat surface,
exposing as much meat as possible. Rub 3 tablespoons of seasoning mix
evenly on meat. Spread sausage stuffing over the turkey in an even layer
approximately 3/4 inch thick.
Place duck, skin down, on top of
stuffing. Season exposed duck meat with about 1 tbsp. of seasoning mix.
Spread corn bread stuffing in an even layer (about 1/2 inch thick) over
Arrange the chicken, skin down, evenly on top of corn
bread stuffing. Season chicken meat with seasoning mix. Spread remainder
of sausage and/or corn bread stuffing on top of chicken.
another person's help, carefully lift the sides of the layered birds,
folding the sides of the turkey together. Have a helper hold the bird
while sewing the opening down the back of the turkey together using
cotton thread. The bird may not close perfectly, and a strip of cheese
cloth can be used to help close the "crack" in the back of the turkey so
stuffing will not leak out when the bird is turned over.
the turducken has no skeleton, it must be trussed up or it may fall
apart in cooking. Tie 4-5 pieces of cotton string around the bird,
widthwise to act as skeletal support. Turn the bird over and place in a
roasting rack inside a large roasting pan so it is oriented breast side
up and looks like a "normal" turkey. Tie the legs together just above
the tip bones.
Heat oven to 225 degrees F.
Temperature control is critical since the turducken is so massive that
it has to be cooked slowly at a low temperature to prevent burning the
outside before the interior is cooked. Using an oven thermometer is
highly recommended. We place 2-3 oven thermometers at different
locations within the oven to monitor oven temperature. It is also a good
idea to use a meat thermometer inside the bird to measure its internal
Place the bird in the center of the oven and bake
until a meat thermometer inserted through to center reads 165 degrees,
approximately 9 hours, though cooking times will vary depending on the
size of the birds and amount of stuffing used. Rely on temperature and
not time cooked for doneness.
There will be no need to baste,
but accumulated drippings may need to be removed from the pan every few
hours so that the lower portion does not deep fry in the hot oil. Save
pan drippings for gravy. Remove the turducken from the oven and let cool
in the pan for an hour before serving. Make gravy according to your
To serve cut bird in half. Carve crosswise so
each slice reveals all 3 meats and stuffing's. Will make 15 to 25
Make a simple gravy with 1 cup of pan drippings plus
1 cup of flour and cook over medium heat until "tan". Add 10 cups stock
to fat/flour all at once. Whisk thoroughly. Bring back to a boil and
then simmer for 5 min. Whisk constantly. Add salt + pepper + paprika "to
The gravy can be made in advance and allowed to stand
over low heat for at least 2 hours (maybe more). You may want to make
two batches to make sure you have enough for those unexpected guests!
*Notes: The Turducken will need to cook for approximately 9 hours at
225 degrees F so begin preparation well in advance. The fowls can be de
boned the day before and kept refrigerated overnight. Save the turkey
carcass for making stock and some duck skin to render fat. You can make
the sausage stuffing the night before and store it in the refrigerator,
but it helps to warm it in the microwave before final assembly. This is
one dish from Cajun country, that if you ever have the time and
patience, is well worth trying!
Photo credit: jeffreyw.
Cajun Recipes Page 1