It Finally Happened

January 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is one of those posts I mentioned that’s been hanging around for awhile, just waiting to be finished. Here it is, finally, and you can look forward to a recipe (mostly) every Tuesday as part of a new feature called “Tasty Tuesdays”. I haven’t forgotten about Found It on the Internet Fridays — I’ve just gotten behind on taking pictures, but it will be coming back this week as well.

I have been wanting to make a turducken for years, and been wanting to eat one for even longer than that. This year was finally The Year of the Turbaducken (the “ba” is for “bacon”, obviously).

So much nom. Not shown: cranberry sauce, because I like it out of a can as opposed to homemade. Though it occurs to me that I would be just as happy with homemade raspberry jam, like with a Monte Cristo, so I might do that next time.

Let’s start with the easy/boring stuff: the green salad is just a bag of Romaine mixed with a bag of “spring greens” and topped with some grape tomatoes. I buy bagged salad because I hate making salad, and if I have to make it myself, it won’t get done. And really, I should eat more salad since it’s one of the few ways I actually like veggies. The bread sticks were easy but blah — I shan’t be making them again.

Now on to the good stuff (recipes below): first up, let’s talk about the Mustard Glazed Green Beans and Potatoes.

Seriously, are those not the cutest little potatoes you ever saw?

I had this idea just last week to toss some beans and potatoes with butter and mustard, and it is the easiest, most deliciously appetizing way I’ve ever had green beans. Even Becky agrees that they are not the most inedible vegetable she has ever tried, which from her is high praise indeed. Trader Joe’s sells these wee little potatoes that work perfectly in this recipe, but you could use fingerlings or new potatoes as well — if you use larger potatoes, you might want to cut them into 1″-ish chunks before serving.

Next, the Mac’n’Cheese.

Yes, those are penne noodles. I forgot to get elbow mac at the store and sure as hell wasn't going Wednesday night when I remembered I needed them.

It’s a no-bake, which makes it a great recipe for a big dinner like this — anything you can put together on the stovetop makes it a little easier to coordinate things. When I got my first apartment, my Aunt Valda gave me one of my very first cookbooks: Best Recipes, which is a collection of label recipes. I made either Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner (it’s been more years than I care to say so memory’s a bit foggy there) in that apartment for myself and my boyfriend that year, almost entirely out of that cookbook. There were cornish game hens, stuffing, rolls, two types of pie, and this mac’n’cheese, which was really the only keeper in the bunch. It’s also how I learned to make a roux, long before I knew what a roux was. To this day, following the instructions given in this recipe is the only way I can successfully make a roux.

I'll admit, there's a lot more "pie" than "sweet potato" to these.

The Sweet Potato Pie was always on the table of the Thanksgivings of my childhood, courtesy of the aforementioned Aunt Valda. I’ve simplified the recipe a tad (and actually screwed it up this year, due to an epic inability to count to three), but it’s still the same rich delicious dish it’s always been.

The stuffing was one I found online…I needed a stuffing for the turducken, and I thought a cornbread stuffing would hold up best to a couple of hours of having meat juices soaking into it. I decided to add sausage to the stuffing because, well, I like sausage in my stuffing. I went with plain ol’ breakfast sausage patties instead of the more traditional Italian sausage because again, I like the one better than the other. I ended up with a bunch left over after putting the turbaducken together, so I decided to serve the extra as a “dry” stuffing on the side. Delish.

So yummy, both in and out of the bird(s).

A couple of quick notes on the recipe itself: the cornbread you will get out of this recipe is blah, so don’t get excited about using just that part of the recipe. The version below has my modifications; the original recipe calls for a bunch of veggies, which I left out, and I only ended up using maybe half of the broth called for. Definitely pay more attention to the moistness of your dish than the measurements called for in the recipe.

Finally, the pièce de résistance: The Mighty Mighty Turbaducken!

Aw, yeah.

A couple years ago I had this genius thought: what if I made a turducken only with just breasts, thus avoiding the whole poultry boning issue. (I boned a chicken once, because I figured I should know how. Now I know how, and I also know I’d like to avoid doing it again if possible.)  It turns out I am not the only person to have had this genius thought: there are quite a few recipes out there, which worked out well for me, as I was able to gather some ideas about how long and at what temp I should cook it (as for the temp you should cook it to, it’s the same as any other poultry: internal temp of 165°F, taken at the thickest point, which in this case is dead center).

I had also heard tell of people replacing the traditional stuffing between birds with bacon. Now, we all know I dig on bacon, but I figured why replace when you can add? Also, a lot of the breast-only turduckens had bacon just on the outside. In fact, the main recipe I referenced for construction/cook time suggested that after cooking, you should remove the bacon layer before serving (emphasis mine). What the –? Are these people insane?!?! I decided to go ahead with my breast-only plan, putting both bacon and stuffing between each layer, and wrapping the whole thing up with a bacon lattice.

Look! Weaving *and* bacon. Maybe next year I should knit it.

Issues I encountered: I spent A Good Long While(tm) searching for a duck breast (I was originally going to do this as a birthday present for myself. My birthday is in February. You do the math.) with no luck. Finally, I could wait no longer and decided to just buy a damn duck and filet the breasts off. I got two nice size filets that way, but even together they were much smaller than the mutant chicken breast I had.

The duck is in the upper right hand corner (two breasts); the chicken is at the bottom right (a single breast). The turkey has been flattened and rolled up in this photo.

So I had to switch up the order a little there, but since it all gets rolled up like a jelly roll (in theory; keep reading), it’s really 6 of one, half a dozen of the other.  Also, the turkey I got was a “breast roast”. This apparently means large bits of it are dark meat, which I actually didn’t mind. What I did mind was that the whole thing was so lacerated by the string net they put around it to hold the different bits of meat together that it was practically falling apart.

See the scoring the arrow's pointing to (click to embiggen)? The whole damn turkey "breast roast" was like that.

This caused most of the lack of structural integrity you see in the final picture.  I will absolutely be doing this again, but I think next time I’ll consult with an actual butcher and see if I can get a whole turkey breast…or I could just filet it like I did the duck.

The biggest problem I had was that I couldn’t actually “roll” the whole thing once I got it together, in spite of having pounded all of the breasts to a 1/2″ thickness as directed. I just barely got it to fold in half.

I stuck some skewers into it to hold it together while I contemplated what to do next.

But I slapped some more bacon on it and maneuvered it onto the parchment, at which point I was able to roll that around the whole thing and hold it together.

"What to do next" = "more bacon" of course.

After that, I rolled it up in some foil, slapped it in a pan and threw it in the oven for a few hours (deets in the recipe).

Least exciting turbaducken pic EVAH.

Once it was within about five degrees of done, I ripped open the parchment/foil and let the bacon crisp up for half an hour or so (which was long enough to come all the way up to temp).

I cannot even begin to describe how delectable this smelled.

I let it rest for 20 minutes (It wasn’t long enough. Give it a little more time, hard as it is. Trust me.), then sliced me off a piece. And then I had a mouthgasm. Because O. M. G. So. Freaking. Good.

Turducken

(Based on the instructions here and here)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Turkey breast
  • 1 Duck breast
  • 1 Chicken breast
  • 2-3 lbs bacon
  • 1-2 c Cornbread-sausage stuffing (see recipe, below)

Pre-heat oven to 350°. Line a 9×13 baking pan with foil, then parchment, leaving enough of both hanging over the sides to completely cover your meat. Pound breasts to 1/2″ thick (each, not total). On top of a piece of plastic wrap, make a lattice from strips of bacon (see above). Lay turkey breast on top of lattice. Cover with a thin layer of stuffing, then a layer of bacon strips (you do not need to lattice the interior bacon layers). Repeat layering with duck/stuffing/bacon, then chicken/stuffing/bacon (NB: I had a huge chicken breast and a relatively small duck breast, so I reversed this order. It’s okay to use common sense here.). Roll/fold everything up as tightly as possible: this is why I built my original lattice on plastic wrap — it’s a lot easier to maneuver everything into position when you have that outer layer that cover everything and keeps it in place. If necessary, add more bacon to cover exposed meat/stuffing. Skewer as needed for stability. Move into prepared pan and remove skewers. Close foil and paper, making sure turbaducken is completely enclosed. Bake for 1 1/2- 3 hours, until internal temperature reached 160°. Open foil/paper and bake for another 30-45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°. Let rest for 30-40 minutes. Slice and serve.

Cornbread-Sausage Stuffing

(adapted from Allrecipes.com Cornbread Stuffing Southern Style)

Ingredients:

  • 2 (8.5 ounce) packages dry corn muffin mix
  • 1 (8 ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 c plain yogurt
  • 1/4 c milk
  • 8-10 sausage patties
  • 1/2 c butter, melted
  • 1 – 3 c chicken broth

Pre-heat oven to 400°. Grease a 9×13 baking pan. Combine muffin mix, corn, eggs, yogurt, and milk; stir just enough to moisten. Pour batter into prepared pan(s). Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly brown. While the cornbread is baking, brown and crumble the sausage patties. After cornbread cools, crumble it into a large bowl. Add sausage and butter, mix thoroughly. Add broth slowly, stopping when you have reached the desired texture. (NB: For layering in turducken, you want the stuffing to be pretty moist.)

At-Ease Macaroni & Cheese

(from Best Recipes)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 1/2 c shredded extra sharp cheddar
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 2 c cooked macaroni (1 c uncooked)

In medium saucepan, melt butter. Blend flour and salt into butter. Stir in milk, then cheese. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring gently, until thick and smooth. Stir in sour cream and combine thoroughly. Add macaroni, toss until completely coated and heated through.

Mustard Glazed Green Beans and Baby Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pt snap beans
  • 1 pt wee little potatoes (you can use new potatoes or fingerlings, but you should cut them into 1″ chunks before tossing)
  • 1/4 c butter
  • 2 Tbsp honey mustard

Bring 2 2qt saucepans of water to a boil. Cook potatoes in one for 7 minutes until fork tender

Sweet Potato Pie

Ingredients:

 Er, I seem to have misplaced my only copy of this recipe, but I promise I’ll find it (or get it from Aunt Valda or my mom again) and post it up soon. But this has been hanging around too long and needs to be published already.

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