As a meat-lover, my philosophy is this: Why have one meat on Christmas when you can have five? Turducken was the perfect answer: chicken and pork stuffed inside a duck, stuffed inside a turkey, covered with prosciutto. But don't too many cooks spoil the broth? you ask. Nope. Isn't stuffing animals inside each other a bit gratuitous? Sure. Won't you be constipated just eating meat for the day? Worth it.
Making turducken in Sydney really is a path less traveled. I was hard-pressed to find reliable recipes online, let alone a butcher that sold pre-made turduckens. So I paved my own way. Many stressful hours went into the preparation of this beast but in the end, if nothing else, I can proudly say "challenge accepted". Instead of doing the whole birds, I used breast meat. Instead of roasting, I braised at a lower temperature. The end result was delicious. The duck fat had cooked into the turkey, it was sweet and sage-infused and the stuffing was phenomenal. However, because I couldn't find any recipes for braising turducken, I had to guess when it was cooked through and I overcooked it slightly. But now that I know, I can share with you all and hopefully next year it won't be so much of a mystery.
1 turkey breast, skinned
2 duck breasts, skinned but fat in tact
1 cup chicken mince
1 cup pork sausage meat
½ cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
½ cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons sage leaves, roughly chopped
1 red onion, finely diced
Salt and pepper
750ml apple cider (I used Strongbow's sweet apple cider)
1L chicken stock
Preheat oven to 140̊C.
Line a roasting pan with baking paper, just to stop the meat from sticking.
Sweat onion over medium heat in some olive oil until just browned. Remove from heat and cool.
Combine chicken mince, pork sausage meat, cranberries, breadcrumbs, sage and cooled onion with your hands. Season with salt and pepper. (Never make stuffing ahead of time for safety reasons. Always cook moist stuffing immediately.)
Using a meat tenderiser, flatten the turkey breast until it's even in thickness.
Lay the duck breasts, fat side down, on the turkey.
Mould a log of stuffing on top.
Roll tightly and layer prosciutto slices on the top.
Carefully secure with kitchen string.
Place in roasting pan. Pour in all of the apple cider and enough chicken stock so that the liquid comes up halfway on the meat. You can put vegetables in the liquid.
Cook for 1½-2 hours, until core temperature is 75̊C. If you don't have a meat thermometer (like me), test by putting a knife through to the centre for 5 seconds and feeling if the knife is warm. As soon as it's ready, take it out of the oven, remove from liquid and rest for 10 minutes.
Make a gravy with the liquid by whisking in around 5 tablespoons of flour, simmering for 5 minutes, and pushing through a sieve.
Serves 8-10 people.
My top tip is to call your butcher a week in advance and ask if they'll have all the meats. Most places will let you place an order to pick up right before Christmas day. You should only store poultry in the fridge for one to two days, otherwise freeze it.
Hope you guys had a fantastic Christmas, I know I did!