I am thankful for… turkducken

This weekend, we celebrated Thanksgiving in Canada — a traditional time to pause and take stock of what’s around us and what fills our lives with happiness and peace. It’s also a traditional family gathering time.

My father’s brothers, their wives, two of my four cousins, their girlfriends, my parents and brother arrived at my house on Saturday afternoon. We had the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes, carrots, peas, squash and gravy simmering away, but I had decided a few weeks ago that we would also cook a turducken — a cranberry dressing stuffed-chicken, stuffed in a duck, stuffed in a turkey. I had ordered it from the Old Fashion Meat Market a couple of weeks ago and was quite looking forward to five kilograms cooking adventure.

Except for the legs and wings of the turkey, the birds are deboned, which I’m sure eases the construction process. It was well sewn together, but when my mother asked me what it looked like, the only description I could think of was “kind of limp.”

I was assured when I ordered the turduckin they would give me instructions on how to cook the beast, so I wasn’t too concerned until I had the prize in my hands and asked for details. The response? “Just like a turkey.” Fine, I said, “but tell me more,” figuring solid meat must require something extra, right? Cook at 275 F for 5.5 to 6 hours, I was told. OK. Sounds simple, right?

After about two hours, I figured I would be smelling the wonderful scent of roasting turducken, but there was nothing — I even checked to make sure the oven was on. It was, but I cranked up the heat and stuck the birds back in the oven, knowing the hungry dinner guests would soon arrive.

As the clock approached 3 p.m., we could indeed smell turducken (smells like chicken) wafting through the house. Tummies started to rumble. “What time are we eating?” became a popular question. My answer: “It’s all on the turducken at this point.” I think they were beginning to eye the dog food…

Sometime in the hustle of the afternoon, I turned the heat up to 400 F and the turducken was done on time. It was a bit dry, but I believe that was because I had to cook it at the higher temperature. I think the meat market made a mistake when they told me to cook it at 275 F and should have instead told me to cook it at 375 F.

Regardless, we certainly didn’t go hungry. In fact, we had so much food left over that we had another full meal again on Sunday with other relatives. There were even enough unopened rolls to take to a drop-in centre downtown. I am thankful that I have the means to fill tummies and invite people into my home.

Now, next year… I’m thinking I’ll serve tofurkey.

2 thoughts on “I am thankful for… turkducken

  1. Yes, it was easy to carve. It was very good, although a bit dry due to cooking at too high of a temperature. The texture of the duck is more dense than turkey and it had a bit more of a wild taste to it. At the time, I wasn't sure where the chicken was — and looking at the pictures — I'm still not sure! It was good, but expensive ($65), so I'm not sure we'll do it again, but a fun thing to try at least once.

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