In 1970, Julia Child and collaborator Simone Beck published Volume 2 of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Over the years, I worked my way through the book, not as assiduously as Julie Powell of “Julie & Julia” fame, but enough to try almost every concept Child and Beck had to offer.
Eight pages of instructions for croissants? Mastered. Sixteen pages on pates and terrines? Devoured. Tourte limousine (a potato pie with herbs and cream)? Yum.
From Page 258 of the original 1970 edition, I tackled volaille demi-desossee (half-boned chicken, also for turkey, other poultry and game birds). Three pages of illustrations eased the process and the result was delicious.
But, I never did it again.
Fast-forward to today.
Learn cooking techniques from the printed pages of a cookbook? Maybe.
Watch a video on YouTube? Much more likely.
That’s how Keegan Hughes, executive chef of Roswell’s Peach and the Porkchop, learned to bone out a turkey and a chicken and turn the result into a turducken.
Watch Keegan Hughes make a turducken:
Peach and the Porkchop’s Turducken
Peach and the Porkchop’s executive chef Keegan Hughes enjoys offering turducken as a special around the Thanksgiving holidays. Each turkey and chicken is boned by the chef and the layered poultry is stuffed with a bread/cornbread/cracker stuffing adapted from his mom.
If you’re ready to tackle a turducken at home, Hughes emphasizes that the most important part of preparing the turkey is making sure you do not cut the skin when removing the bones. So take your time and don’t let the boning knife slip. You’ll be removing the turkey’s rib cage and thigh bones. For the chicken, you’ll cut off the wings and remove the rib cage, thigh and leg bones. All the bones will make a great base for homemade poultry stock.
1 (14- to 16-pound) turkey
1 (3- to 4-pound) chicken
2 duck breasts (skin removed)
Stuffing (see recipe)
4 tablespoons Herb Butter, cut into slices (see recipe)
Seasoning mix (see recipe)
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Put a wire rack into a rimmed baking sheet.
Lay turkey on work surface breast side up. Cut down the center of the turkey and then carefully cut around the rib cage to remove the bones. (See video.) Remove thigh bones and set turkey aside.
Lay chicken on work surface breast side up. Cut off wings. Cut down center and carefully work around the rib cage to remove the bones. (See video.) Remove thigh and leg bones. Set boned chicken aside.
Lay turkey out on work surface, skin side down. Arrange a thin layer of stuffing between the meat and the turkey skin. Place a thicker layer of stuffing in the spaces where the bones were to fill in the turkey and create an even layer of meat and stuffing. Top with the chicken, skin side down and add stuffing to fill in the spaces were the bones were. There will be more spaces to fill since all the bones have been removed. Scatter with slices of herb butter. Lay duck breasts on top of chicken and add a final layer of stuffing. Top with slices of herb butter along the center.
Use the turkey skin to help you turn the stuffed poultry into a turkey-shaped bundle. The entire exterior should be wrapped in turkey skin. Use butchers’ twine to truss the bundle so it stays closed. Truss the legs so the stuffing doesn’t fall out of the bottom.
Rub the outside of the turducken with the seasoning mix. Wrap the turducken in plastic wrap and then again with aluminum foil. Arrange turducken on the wire rack on the baking sheet and cook five to six hours or until the meat reaches 165 degrees throughout. Remove from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes before unwrapping. Unwrap, remove twine and serve. Serves: 18 to 20
1 batch Cornbread (See recipe)
1 sleeve Ritz crackers
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 cups celery, chopped fine
1 white onion, chopped fine
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons finely chopped sage
1 teaspoon salt
7 cups chicken stock
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse cornbread until finely crumbled. Move cornbread to a large bowl. Put crackers in bowl of food processor and pulse until finely crumbled. Add to cornbread. Stir in bread crumbs and toss until thoroughly mixed.
In a small bowl, whisk eggs, then pour into cornbread mixture along with celery, onion, melted butter, sage and salt. Toss to combine. Add stock and let stuffing sit for 10 minutes. Once the crumbs have absorbed the liquid, the stuffing is ready to use.
1 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, buttermilk, flour, oil and baking powder. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and then add to cornmeal mixture. Pour batter into prepared baking dish and bake 20 minutes or until cooked through. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
In a small bowl, whisk together salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. If not using immediately, cover tightly. Will store indefinitely.
1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
1 teaspoon finely chopped sage
1 teaspoon finely chopped oregano
2 gloves garlic, roughly chopped
In a large bowl, stir together butter, parsley, thyme, sage, oregano and garlic. When well mixed, form butter into a log. Put on a plate and refrigerate. Can be used immediately or wrapped and frozen for up to one month.