Friday, November 23, 2007
We may never buy a turducken again! After years of enjoying the novelty of eating internet-procured turducken for Thanksgiving, we finally made our own this year. We bought a turkey breast (with bones and some back meat), a very small chicken, and a frozen duckling on Sunday. Sunday afternoon, I boned all birds, even though the duck was still pretty icy inside. I packaged the meats seperately in the fridge until Thursday morning. It wasn't necessary to debone the duck or the chicken as a whole bird, but I like the practice.
On Sunday evening, I roasted all of the removed bones and tendons on a rimmed sheet pan and tossed them into a pot of cold water and simmered them for several hours. After straining out the solids, I rapidly chilled the stock (you may do this by placing the stock in a shallow pan, adding ice, and/or floating enclosed ice packs and stirring frequently. The goal is to get the stock temperature from 135 degrees F down to 40 degrees as fast as possible - certainly less than 4 hours!
On Monday, I made a concentrated brine using salt, bullion, spices, and herbs. I kept it chilled in the fridge until Thurday morning.
On Thursday am, I skinned the duck and the chicken. I placed the brine concentrate, ice water, and all the poultry in a very large heavy duty food safe bag and left it out on the front porch for 3.5 hours (outdoor temp was 36 to 39 degrees all day).
Around 2 pm, I drained and patted dry all the meat and layed the turkey breast skin-side-down on a piece of clean light-weight muslin. Making sure to keep the layers pretty even, the duck meat and the chicken were piled onto the turkey and then one small link of andouille, sliced in half was place on the top. A two person job: pulling the muslin around to make a cylinder with the turkey, then tying to keep the ballotine shape. Cover in aluminum foil. We baked in a 350 degree oven for several hours (Almost three for a 12 pound roast) until an instant read thermometer measured 165 in three separate places along the centerline of the roast.