For several years I have been intrigued by the idea of a Turducken. Duck is a rather exotic meat in my mind (I think I’ve only had it 2-3 times at most) and is not readily available unless you go to a specialty store.
My last experience with duck was in Vietnam. I saw a beautiful roasted bird in the window in the market and thought “roasted chicken” would be a nice change. The person who took my order asked if I would like to have it cut up. When the bird was being cut up I thought the meat looked awfully red and then I looked at the head of the bird and noticed that it had a duck bill. OOPS!!!!!!!!!!!!
The biggest obstacle for the Turducken was size. Let’s see…. 12 pound turkey, 7 pound duck, 4 pound hen…… 23 pounds of meat!! How can we do this for a family size meal? I thought about using breast meat and meat glue and then started looking around on the internet for ideas.
Duck breast (with skin)
Meat glue (Transglutaminase)
Place the duck skin facing down on a large sheet of plastic wrap and sprinkle with meat glue. Butterfly the turkey breast, sprinkle with seasoning and meat glue and place on the duck skin. I used poultry seasoning and Thyme for the interior seasoning. No salt at this point because I did not want it to interfere with the action of the meat glue.
Meat glue is an enzyme that cross links glutamic acid molecules to bind the meat. I wasn’t sure if the salt would hinder the action of the enzyme, so I waited till the end,
Remove the skin from the duck breast and set aside. Butterfly the duck breast, sprinkle with meat glue and place on top of the turkey breast. Lastly, sprinkle the chicken breast with meat glue and place on top of the duck breast. Use your own judgement on whether you want to butterfly the chicken breast.
Starting with the duck breast, wrap it around the chicken and then wrap everything with the turkey breast, tucking in the ends. Roll and wrap tightly with the plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight to allow the meat glue to act for about 24 hours.
Heat the sous vide set up to 165F and seal the meat log with a vacuum sealer. Cook in the water bath for about 4 hours. Remove from the vacuum bag and pat dry, reserving the liquid generated during the cooking.
Heat the peanut oil till it is very hot in a skillet or fry pan. Crisp the duck skin and lightly brown the edged of the roll. Let rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
The gravy I used was a variation on what is supposed to be a hack of KFC gravy. Make a roux of flour and gravy that will be sufficient for about 2 1/2 cups of gravy. Cook the roux till it is a golden brown. Add a cup each of chicken broth and beef broth as well as the reserved liquid. Cook while stirring until smooth and the desired thickness.
I would definately consider this effort to be a success. The Turducken was a beautiful golden brown and would look beautiful on a platter in the middle of a holiday meal, even if you are having a small party. This recipe serves 4-5 guests.
When crisping the duck skin, I suggest cooking it till you think it is crispy and then giving it another minute or two. My skin was beautiful, but could have been cooked just a little longer.
I chose sous vide for the method of cooking, so it could be more controlled, but the duck and turkey were a little on the dry side. I think lowering the cooking temperature to 160F might help with the juicyness of the meat, but this is lower than you would usually cook poultry, so be sure to research the correct time/temperature relationship to ensure proper cooking if you try going below 165F.