Shiny Metal Tiger

Experiences in Baltimore, MD


with 5 comments

Thanksgiving. Perhaps the most traditional American holiday, and a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. Supposedly Wampanoag indians taught some pilgrims in what is now Massachusetts to live off the land, thus earning a thanksgiving dinner from the well-fed settlers. And so it seems entirely appropriate for this well-fed visitor to take the opportunity to thank modern day Americans for coming up with turducken.

Turducken? What the hell is turducken? In short, it’s a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey. Turducken. And of course each bird is stuffed with, well, stuffing. Only in America… (Edit: I stand corrected! Apparently the idea is British)

Not willing to be shown up by Americans,we decided to one-up their creation by stuffing the chicken with a Cornish hen, thus creating the Turduckenen. We roughly followed this recipe (which is an amusing read itself), with a few variations: Slightly different stuffing, 50% bigger turkey and of course the extra bird. The first step was to debone the four birds, which took up pretty much all of last night.

Ready the scalpels!

Using Dr. Morten’s anatomical knowledge and our surgical scalpels, we carefully loosened the ribcage, spine and hips, severing the thigh and wing joints. Then pull: schlup!

All your bones are belong to us

Looks nice and easy, eh? In reality it was rather messier, in the case of our 10 kg turkey. We pretty much spent all of last night deboning, while watching a slideshow from my road trip and listening to The Beatles. Good times.


At that point we still had to remove the wing- and thighbones, and of course prepare the stuffing. If you skipped the recipe above, we were making sausage & oyster stuffing (wtf?), cornbread stuffing (to which I spontaneously added clementines) and traditional Danish apple & prune stuffing (to replace the instant stuffing in the recipe). Once all that was done, we had the following before us:

Stick it in!

And naught to do but to assemble our chimeric feast of poultry. By using only a single cut while deboning, we had more or less intact birds spread before us, and thus it was a simple matter to lay out the turkey, put in a layer of stuffing, and then repeat the procedure for the remaining birds. The end product was… impressive:

Git 'er done!

This is where it got tricky, on account of the poor structural integrity of deboned poultry, let alone a veritable layer cake of it. Clearly, this called for further surgical procedures; with two of us holding the turduckenen together, Dr. Morten carefully stitched together the ‘wound’. It was going to leave a nasty scar, when you’re about to get eaten that’s the least of your worries.

I dub thee Frankenbird

Actually, that’s what the recipe called theirs. I named ours Byron Harkonnen. At this stage the only thing left to do was to carefully roll Byron over on his back, and stick him in the oven for around 7 hours while getting all the sides ready. You might be surprised to hear that I actually failed to get a great shot of the crispy brown colossus that emerged, but I’ll put that down a general lack of sleep since I returned from my trip.

So, how was it? Better than expected, is the best way I can describe it. It certainly had nothing on a well cooked goose, but it was really quite tasty. A lot of meat, but despite it being poultry the interspersed layers of stuffing kept it from being too dry. And the interplay of flavors from the stuffing was quite nice; even the sausage & oyster stuffing was rather savory. For anything less than a family of ten, however, it’s complete overkill; with seven people we got through about half of it, which I guess is to be expected when a half slice looks like this, and according to some random website contains over a thousand calories:

1639 calories?

And yes, I still had seconds.

Written by Martin

2010/11/26 at 01:59

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. I have to correct the notion that the turkey stuffed with different birds is an American invention. It is British, going back to Tudor times, apparently. See for example this article from the Daily Mail—really-IS-Christmas-dinner.html


    2010/11/26 at 09:23

  2. Aha! I stand corrected (and the post has been appropriately edited). Thanks.
    I find it interesting that while their creation has 200% more birds than us, and supposedly serves 125, it fits in roughly the same volume of turkey. Probably their serving size is more realistic than in accordance with the reality of Thanksgiving.


    2010/11/26 at 09:59

  3. Hi Shiny: Love the frankenbird project, adding the cornish hen definitely put you one over the Black Table guys! We went for the far simpler culinary exercise of roasting a 13lb “Young Turkey” that was hand-picked by Sumie, Kukku and I after much deliberation at the Gristede’s. I went with a random on-line recipe on the McCormick website (they are the spice people) using a 6-spice rub featuring Sweet Spanish Paprika and Smoked Sea Salt. A simple onion and mushroom gravy, along with great chestnuts and casserole from the Boston side of the family.


    2010/11/29 at 17:36

  4. No stuffing? I just had a discussion with a couple of American girls at work, who couldn’t imagine stuffing without bread in it. Quite different from my Danish roots.


    2010/11/29 at 17:45

  5. By the way, the turduckenen can also be used as… a sandwich!


    2010/11/29 at 20:06

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