Christmas Eve 2011 – the Turducken challenge

4 Jan

At Thanksgiving, Papa paused, and said, “Why don’t we have a turducken?”
I pushed back, feeling my beloved roast turkey couldn’t be de-throned, and told him, “No, no, no.  Turkey is for my favorite holiday!” 

So we had a gorgeously juicy and moist turkey from Makinajian’s for Thanksgiving.

Then, year end festivities began, and we started the usual-last-minute-what-are-we-doing-for-Eve dinner debate.  No goose (last year’s Eve), no turkey, no duck, no capon, no chicken, no fish, no pork.  Hmph.  I personally loved my roast goose last year despite the thin layer of fat I had to scrub off from the oven and surface it managed to sputter onto, but alas…  Perhaps this was a time to cave into Papa’s turducken.

Papa and I had our first encounter with turducken (de-boned chicken stuffed in a de-boned duck, stuffed in a de-boned turkey, tied together) at his boss’ Christmas party a few years ago.  I remember being impressed by the sheer, solid mass of protein – but even more exciting, was the fact I had FINALLY encountered this magnificent Cajun dish that Jeffrey Steingarten had so deliciously documented in The Man Who Ate Everything. 

I drooled the first time I read and re-read the section on turducken.

I called Makinajian Poultry Farm in the hopes they might magically be selling turducken, but to no avail.  I then started seeking options on-line, until a lightbulb turned on in my head.

What about Fairway Market?  I recalled my mother-in-law ordering a massive leg of lamb a few years ago which we triumphantly roasted, and created a perfectly carnivorous Christmas.

Once I confirmed I can order the massive bird(s) at Fairway (although the head butcher was out that day), I gave my husband the reins to order the size he wanted.

On Christmas Eve, after snoozing a couple of times from 4:30 am, we put the turducken into the oven at 225 to slowly roast for 9 – 10 hours.  Given the 3:30 pm (but everyone always comes fashionably late) start time, we thought we had ample time.  The goal was for the internal temperature to reach 165.

Twelve, stressful hours later, our turducken interior reached 165, yet, when we started carving it, we were alarmed it was still a little pink.  Perhaps we should have allowed it to rest.  However, with the thought of our hungry guests’ stomachs rumble as the gorgeous scent of roasting turducken perfumed the air, we decided the best thing to do was to start carving, and as a desperate last-ditch attempt – we microwaved the pinkish interior.

It was quite a gorgeous sight to see…

We finally sat down to eat around 5:30pm, after pulling crackers, and putting on our crowns, we tucked in for our meal.

Accompanying the turducken was:

Roasted parsnips and carrots

Mashed potatoes

Mushroom saute – I took Eringi, Bunashimeji, maitake, and regular button mushrooms, sliced them into 1/8 inch thick slices, and sautéed in a little butter and soy sauce until limp. 

Pan sautéed brussel sprouts with pancetta with a soy sauce drizzle

Jellied cranberry sauce, ridges intact (per Papa’s specifications)

Green salad – courtesy of Nanna who always makes a huge one for me

Sausage stuffing – Papa had insisted that Stove Top stuffing was the best; however, I have now (he grudgingly admits) converted him to the virtues of my own stuffing… albeit I do use a mix!

It was quite a lovely Christmas Eve.  Now, if only I could convince my dear farm they should start selling turduckens….


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