What is a Turducken?
For the uninitiated, a turducken is made by stuffing a deboned chicken in a deboned duck, which is stuffed into a deboned turkey. A ‘modern’ turducken is usually seasoned with Creole spices, and bread stuffing (with Andouille sausage) fills the layers between the birds. I say ‘modern’ because the concept of stuffing various deboned birds, one inside the other, goes way back, at least to the time of the Roman Empire. Of course only the rich and famous could afford such a feast in those days. A delectable turducken is still pricey, but the middle class can afford such a feast for a special occasion.
Are You Hungry Now?
Perhaps the idea of a turducken dinner has piqued your interest. If you want to order a turducken, be prepared to spend something like $55-$85 plus the cost of overnight shipping in dry ice. The shipping fees can rival the cost of the meal itself!
Sound a bit much for your wallet? You could also purchase the birds from your local grocer or butcher shop, debone and stuff them. Or you can start from scratch and raise the birds yourself. This sounds like just the ticket for a modern homesteader with the space for chickens, ducks, and turkeys. Of course, you’ll need to spend some time, energy, and cash to get to the point of actually stuffing your turducken dinner.
Confession – I’m Lazy!
Ok, I’m really not lazy. I just have limited time for preparing fancy meals for our family of three. I’m all about simplicity. And raising my own humanely treated birds on our little homestead. And eating good, honest, tasty food that isn’t peppered with toxins and raised in CAFOs.
If I really was lazy I certainly wouldn’t raise poultry and cook our meals ‘from scratch.’ And I most definitely wouldn’t butcher my own birds. I’d eat hot dogs. And snack cakes. But I digress.
So why soup? And why ‘Turducken Soup?’ You might be wondering, ‘Why not just make chicken soup?’ Here’s why…
One cold and blustery day last week, I decided to reduce the number of birds I’m feeding (our feed bill has been enormous). I decided to cull a turkey hen that has been less than thrifty, two old stewing hens, and a young duck that was destined for the freezer. I sharpened my knives, grabbed some containers, donned warm clothes and headed out to the barn.
I returned to my warm, toasty kitchen with the haul. I was planning to make chicken soup and put the duck and turkey in the freezer. While washing the birds I decided that it would be better to freeze the turkey and duck in smaller packages for easy meal prep. I filleted the breast meat and removed the legs to freeze, leaving two nice, meaty carcasses. And that, my friends, is when the idea of ‘Turducken Soup’ hatched in my head!
The turkey and duck carcasses went into my big stock pot along with the stewing hens. Our wood stove is burning pretty much all the time in winter, so the stock pot went on the wood stove for the rest of the day to slowly simmer the meat off the bones. The whole pot was cooled down by submerging it in a sink of cold water until the broth and meat was lukewarm. I stuck the pot in the back of the car in the garage overnight to chill…this is often used for extra cold storage in the winter.
The next morning I picked the meat from the bones and ran the stock through a sieve. The stock and meat were then placed back in the stock pot on the wood stove. I chopped about a dozen homegrown potatoes and some onions into the pot and let those cook until tender. I added frozen veggie mix from the store…ok, so I was a little bit lazy. Some seasonings went in last and I let the soup cook down until everthing was tender and tasty. This made a huge pot of soup and, after chilling the leftovers, I froze about two thirds and we ate soup for several meals over the next 3 or 4 days.
I’m sure the photo of my turducken soup looks very much like chicken soup, and it did taste a lot like chicken soup. But the flavor was more complex and I could taste the duck and turkey, too. I doubt I would ever get around to making a turducken dinner, but if I did, the leftovers would make a very fine soup. 🙂
But Really, For The Homesteaders’ Soul?
Modern homesteaders aren’t all the same, but for the most part we all like doing things for ourselves, saving money, and living lightly on the Earth. Ordering a turducken dinner is probably not on our ‘to do’ list because of the cost and, well, ‘excessive’ nature of the meal. But sometimes we find ourselves wanting to try new things. So now you have even more reason to order those ducks and turkeys to add to your flock!
Even if you don’t have room to raise your own poultry, you can pick up a chicken, duck, and turkey to make your own turducken dinner or soup. Three birds will make a huge pot of soup that can be divided up and stored in the freezer until needed. A hot bowl of soup is, indeed, a delight for the winter weary soul…whether you homestead or just strive to do a little bit more for yourself!
- You can make a smaller batch of turducken soup with just legs or breast meat.
- Use whatever veggies you have on hand.
- Make extra stock from the bones, if you start with whole birds.
- Use Creole seasoning, or a combination of chilis and poultry seasoning.
- For extra flavor, add finely chopped Andouille sausage to soup.
- Potatoes, pasta, or rice make the soup more filling.
- Freeze lunch or dinner sized portions for work or to put in slow cooker on low.
- Add a dash of hot sauce to your bowl!
Have you ever had a turducken dinner? Does a pot of turducken soup sound just a little bit easier to manage?