Chef Richard Erickson muses on the distinction between the festive holiday dishes Turducken and Turkey Ballotine. And in the process of creating his own version of this, he discovered something truly delightful. Enjoy the photo compilation of the steps he went through to make this dish a real winner that will impress your guests.
A post-mortem on our favorite Christmas dish
Let me say, when I first approached this dish, it didn't start out to be a "turducken", (a chicken, stuffed in a duck, stuffed in a turkey). It really was a ballotine, a French name for something stuffed inside a boneless poultry. The turducken to which I refer is a Cajan creation involving andouille sausage, cornbread etc. I wanted to create a long cylinder filled with something delicious, suitable for a Christmas-type of dinner celebration. What I came up with was a boneless turkey breast wrapped around a chicken mousse that was studded with confit of duck. All poultry, all delicious, seemed like a winner. I later added prunes and some spinach for contrasting color. It turned out fantastic! Trouble was very few people had heard of a ballotine.
Turducken Recipe Hit (...or Miss!)
Food Arts Magazine, a popular food industry publication for chefs, that is heavy on recipes, has a wonderful semi-regular feature titled "Hits & Flops". It's an interesting idea because all chefs and people who love to cook have hits and flops. What fun to read about high profile chefs having to pull something from their menu because it didn't work. Usually it's a matter of wording, timing, or ingredients that are too unusual. It could even be that it's too much work for the kitchen staff.
Technically this stuffed turkey dish worked quite well, it was beautiful and delicious. It was hardly a flop, but I think customers were afraid to order it as no one knew what it was, even though we called it "Turkey Ballotine with chicken and duck". I think next year with a few pictures and a better description it could be a big hit. I was quite pleased with it. Not much new under the sun these days, but I've never seen or heard of a similar dish. I'm not quite ready to call it a "turducken" just yet, but when I described it to people that seemed to be the word that really gave a visual. So the next time you're looking for a fabulous dish to entertain your guests, give the turducken a try - then tell us what you think? And as for the recipe? There are so many steps and it's so time-consuming, that we recommend you let us do all the hard work! Order ahead, then come in and get it from us!
Enjoy the slideshow of how we made the turducken.