Category Archives: duck

Thanksgiving Turducken

I have been obsessed with turducken for quite some time. I have only had it once before. My old boss, Mary K had ordered one a few years back during the holidays. Though the butcher thought I was crazy for trying to sew this together myself, it actually was pretty easy. I made a 30 lb bird total and it took 6 hours to cook in my busted oven, but it was worth every second. It came out juicy, flavorful and was a breeze to carve. Needless to say, my friends were very impressed. I think I will attempt to make a smaller version next time that is just all breasts. At that point, you can have it on non-special occasions.

Stuffing:
1 ¼ lb chorizo, casing removed
1 ¼ lb pork sage sausage, casing removed
1 ½ cup minced onions
1 cup minced celery
4 slices of wheat bread, shredded or copped in the food processor
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon parsley
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
½ cup chicken broth

Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl. Using your hands, mix to combine.

Turducken:
1 10-15 lb organic turkey, de-boned
1 6 lb organic duck, de-boned
1 4 lb organic chicken, de-boned
Salt
Garlic powder
Cajun seasoning
Olive oil
Butcher’s twine and needle

Have the butcher de-bone all of the birds and brine the meats over night. You could do both of these steps yourself but they are both very time and space consuming as well as REALLY messy.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. On a large cutting board, sprinkle both sides of the turkey with a generous amount of the seasonings. Place the turkey skin side down and put about a third of the stuffing on the turkey meat. Push the stuffing around to make an even layer.

Coat the duck on both sides with the seasonings and place it on top of the turkey, skin side down. Try to stagger the layers of dark and white meat. If the dark meat in the turkey is close to you, place the dark meat side of the duck far away from you. Cover the duck with a third of the stuffing and press it into an even layer.

Coat the chicken with the seasonings on both sides and place it on top of the duck. Fill it with the rest of the stuffing.

Thread the needle with the string. Fold the turkey together and starting as the tail end, and brign it closest to you, sew up the turkey. You can tighten the stitches, like tightening your shoe. Make sure that all open parts of the birds are completely sewn together.

Transfer the birds to a rack in a large roasting pan, sewn side down. Sprinkle the sin with olive oil, and the seasonings. Insert an ovenproof probe thermometer into the middle of the bird. Cover the bird with foil and roast in the oven for several hours.

Once the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees, remove the foil and keep roasting until the bird reaches 160 degrees. Let the bird rest for 15 minutes, and carve and serve.

Gravy:
All of the bones from the turkey duck and chicken
1 package of fresh poultry herbs: sage, thyme and rosemary
olive oil
water
1 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper
¼ – ½ cup flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Please all of the bones and herbs into a large roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for two hours.

Transfer all of the bones to a large stockpot. Cover with water and boil for one hour. Remove all of the bones and herbs and refrigerate over night.

Skim the fat off of the top of the gravy and discard. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Taste the broth and adjust by adding more salt and pepper. Depending on the amount of liquid in the pot, mix more or less flour with water to form a smooth slurry.

Turn the heat down to medium low and whisk the slurry into the broth. Keep whisking until the mixture returns to a low boil. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

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French with a Vietnamese Twist

My friends Sabrina, Sean and Dave and I have a new tradition of cooking Sunday dinner together. We collaborate (guys vs. girls) and take turns taking the lead. This weekend I was in charge. I had 4 duck breasts in my freezer that where begging to be eaten.

I love to cook French. I’m probably the best at making French and Cajon foods. For some reason I really embody the flavor combinations. But lately I’ve been obsessed with Vietnamese. I guess its homesickness, since I have not seen my mom in a while and I miss all of her cooking (yes she is Vietnamese). So I wanted to make a fusion Vietnamese and French duck.

At first I was going to serve the duck over rice with asparagus on the side. But I felt that white rice was just too boring. Plus Sabrina wanted to make rice pudding for desert, so potatoes where the natural choice. Have you ever had the duck confit at Les Hales restaurant? I’ve had it at both the DC location and the downtown NYC location. At the DC location it came with an amazing side of oven roasted cubed potatoes with truffles and frisée, sort of a salad. First heat the oven to 500 degrees. It is essential to have a hot oven for roasting potatoes. I cut about 10 small red potatoes into 1/4in cubes. (Yes this took a long time, about a half an hour but the oven was nice and hot afterwards.) Toss them with salt, pepper, minced garlic, thyme and olive oil. Place them on the middle rack in the oven. Wash your bunch of frisée, tear it into more bit size pieces and leave it to dry. Mix up a quick dressing for the salad. I added two tablespoons of large grain Dijon mustard to a tiny bit of balsamic dressing, but you could easily make the dressing from scratch with olive oil, red wine vinegar, shallots, salt and pepper. After 30 minutes, give your potatoes a toss and sprinkle them with a few generous tablespoons of truffle oil. Put them back in the oven for 30 minutes. Pull the potatoes out to cool, they will be nice and crispy brown. After letting them sit for 15 minutes, it should be easier to scrape them off of the bottom of the dish. Toss the potatoes with the frisée and the dressing. If you are feeling decadent, shave a black truffle into the mixture before you toss.

The critical aspect was the sauce. I basically combined two classic sauces from both cuisines. Caramelized black pepper pork is a staple Vietnamese dish and the French love a good green peppercorn cream sauce. So I combined both! Go ahead and start to make the sauce when you put the potatoes into the oven.

First off I marinated my duck breasts in a healthy amount of fish sauce. Then I started working on the sauce. Chop up half of a Vidalia onion or else 3 shallots… which ever you have on hand. In a heavy saucepan, put about 1/3 a cup of sugar on medium heat. Just let it sit there, as the sugar will turn a golden brown. If your pan is not heating evenly, you can swirl the unmelted sugar into the browning sugar. Be careful not to get it too dark or let it burn. Pull it off the heat and let it cool a tiny bit. Pour in a few tablespoons of fish sauce, it should bubble in the molten sugar. Ad about a cup of half and half, the shallots and a few tablespoons of green peppercorns (discard the brine if you have jarred peppercorns). Heat this on the stove, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved from the bottom of the pot. Now let the sauce cook on medium till it gets thicker and reduces. Taste the sauce to make sure it tastes rich, not too sweet and is salty enough. It helps to squish the peppercorns with the back of the spoon to release some of their flavor.

Cooking the duck breast is really easy. Heat a heavy non-stick skillet on the stove top, on medium-high. A cast iron skillet works really well. Place the breasts in the pan skin side down. After 7 minutes check to see that the skin is caramelizing nicely. Once the skin is a golden brown, flip the breast (there will be tons of fat in the pan from the melting fat under the skin) and place a thermometer into one of them, at the thickest part, from the side for maximum surface area. Once the breasts hit 150 degrees, turn the heat off and let the breasts slowly reach 165. Once they hit that, move the breasts to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes and then slice them.

Sabrina quickly balanced some asparagus and then tossed them in a quick garlic lemon zest butter.

To plate, heap on a generous portion of the potatoes, neatly lay out some asparagus spears and fan out several pieces of the breast. Spoon two generous tablespoons of the sauce over the breasts and serve with a good French style pinot noir.