February 12, 2013

Breast of Turducken

Intrigued by the idea of an extravagance like the infamous "turducken", but without the oven space (or the army of people to eat it up)? Why not make a smaller beastie overall by stuffing a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey? After all, Valentine's Day is coming, and if you were wanting a sexy little meal for two, with a bit of extra panache and just a few leftovers for sandwiches or a casserole, then this is the recipe for you.

Sure, it looks difficult, what with the layers and all, but I assure you that it is actually quite simple. It's just showy that way. Best of all, it's really two dishes in one, since the gravy is made from the braising liquid.

My initial inclination was to use duck confit for the "duck" portion of the turducken, but whilst shopping at Oyama Sausage Co., I noticed that they had a special on black truffle duck sausages, and asked myself "What could be fancier than that?" Since sausage is a ground mixture, it also solved the question of how I was going to keep the disparate layers from falling apart when sliced; I simply placed the sausage layer between the flattened turkey and chicken breasts.

Which is, in essence, almost my entire recipe, but for the cooking instructions. You could easily figure the rest out for yourself, I'm sure, but here are the details, just for fun:

Breast of Turducken

Serves 6 - 8

1 large turkey breast (about 750 grams)
250 grams duck sausage
1 large chicken breast (about 200 grams)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon peanut oil (or other)
1/2 cup dry vermouth
1 1/2 cups turkey broth
2 tablespoons flour
salt & pepper to taste

Butterfly and pound flat the turkey breast. Take the duck sausage out of its casings, and spread three quarters of it evenly over the inner surface of the turkey. Add the chicken breast (also butterflied and pounded flat) and place the last bit of sausage in a thin line down the centre of the stack. Roll up (in such a way that the centre-line of sausage will run the length of the resulting roulade) and tie with butcher's twine at two-inch (or so) intervals. Rub the surface of the roulade with peanut oil (or olive oil, or grapeseed oil) and sprinkle with salt.

In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, sear the roulade on all sides. Add the vermouth, cover well with foil, and transfer to a preheated oven at 375 F for 1 hour, or until completely cooked (use a probe thermometer to get it to a safe temperature).

While the roulade is in the oven, you can prepare any side dishes that you like. Mashed potatoes are a great one, since you're going to have gravy. Carrots, corn, Brussels sprouts, yams, any or all of these make a fine side to your breast of turducken.

Let stand for 15 minutes on a carving board (loosely tented with the foil) to let rest before slicing. This gives you enough time to make some gravy (not shown, because it obscured the pretty bullseye pattern of the sliced roulade).

If your turkey broth is cold or room temperature to start (you could, of course, also use chicken broth or duck broth), shake it with the flour in a lidded container (holding tightly), and add to the now-empty skillet - do not clean the skillet first! Stir over medium heat until the gravy thickens, scraping up any goodness from the bottom of the skillet. If it is too thick, you can add a little more stock or water, or any vegetable water you might have from, say cooking potatoes, or carrots, or corn, or some other side dish.

If your turkey broth is hot, shake the flour with a little cold water and add it to the skillet after you have added the broth. Feel free to proceed in your usual gravy fashion, if you don't care for either of these methods. Let the gravy simmer very gently on low while you carve the roulade (make sure you remove the strings, first) and plate the rest of the meal, and then pour it into a gravy boat or bowl with spoon and take it to the table.

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