What do you get when you put a turkey, a duck and a chicken together? Why, you get a turducken, of course! The word turducken is a portmanteau of the words turkey, duck and chicken, and as its name suggests, it is a dish that is made through a combination of the three aforementioned types of birds.
Turducken is made by stuffing a deboned chicken into a deboned duck, which is finally stuffed into a deboned turkey. Also known as a Three Bird Roast outside of the USA and Canada, this dish is a form of engastragen, which is a recipe method in which one animal is stuffed inside the gastric passage of another. The throat of the chicken and the rest of the gaps are stuffed, resulting in a fairly solid layered poultry dish, suitable for cooking by barbecuing, braising, frying, grilling or roasting.
There are many variations to this dish, and they date as far back as the 18th and 19th century. These include the Pandora’s cushion (a goose stuffed with a chicken stuffed with a quail), the “Charleston preserve of fowl” (includes a dove, quail, guinea hen, capon, goose and either a turkey or peacock), and the rôti sans pareil (includes a bustard stuffed with a turkey, goose, pheasant, chicken, guinea fowl, teal, woodcock, partridge, plover, lapwing, quail, thrush, lark, an ortolan bunting and a garden warbler).
This holiday bird first became a Thanksgiving tradition in 1989, thanks to American football commentator John Madden. The National Football League commentator often expressed his fondness of the dish on-air, and while he was covering County Bowl 1 on Thanksgiving 1989, he received a turducken from a nearby restaurant. John promptly offered one of its legs to Reggie White as a most valuable player award, and he continued this “Turkey Leg Award” starting from the NFL’s Thanksgiving Day games, all the way until he left the TV channel Fox in 2001.
Interesting, isn’t it? Who knew that our poultry products could be combined in such a creative manner? We don’t really see turduckens in Singapore, though, since it’s not tradition for us to celebrate Thanksgiving, so do look out for this unique dish if you happen to travel to continents such as Europe and America during Thanksgiving!
Germaine Lee (3T)