it was an angela thing and it all started when she sent me a link along with a two word email that said "interesting, huh?".
my god, so much has happened since then. the birds have long been roasted to a golden hue and feasted uponwhile the carcass has been turned into a rich stock tucked away in my freezer. but at the risk of whatever reputation i might have, it is both my pleasure and responsibility to present to you the saga of an inside-out very misunderstood version of the much more familiar and accepted turducken - the ducurkey. or as we here at ‘ceF’ like to call it, The Space Shuttle Turkey.
let me continue on by reminding you that i’m an excitable kinda gal. it doesn’t take much to get me up and on a bandwagon. and so i was all about the space shuttle turkey. because why can’t the thanksgiving turkey have a little fun? we are typically so very steeped in our perfect execution of the traditional holiday meal, that i felt the dinner centerpiece could stand a little something extra ordinary, something well, perhaps (ahem) out of this world?
but it still had to taste great – it had to work on every level. and so began the quest for success… i tossed the concept around with a few fellow bloggers to get some feedback. i emailed and then had a phone conversation with the guy who originally put the recipe up online and i quizzed two local chefs to within an inch of their patience. one feared the duck might dry out by the time the turkey got done, the other implemented a tightly lidded roasting pan with an over night slow cook method. based on all the bits and pieces of info and various theories of how to make this venture a go, i began to formulate my technique. and then i asked a highly revered guy in the world of fine food. a well trained cook and a respected authority on all things meat- michael ruhlman. after he scoffed at the mere concept from a few different angles and then almost got over his apparent disdain for the whole general idea, he brought up a mildly amused concern or two about the cooking process described in the recipe that i’d handed him. but i wasn’t letting michael off the hook. being the relentlessly curious person that i am, a few days later i carefully pushed this whole thing even further. and his response was "why on earth, claudia, are you so obsessed with the space shuttle ducurky?". and i had myself a little smile. because for better or worse – it was just me, being me. so thanksgiving morning arrived and i get this email from angela:
Hello Houston,How are preparations for Lift-Off? Has the countdown begun? Engines tested and thrusters checked? Flaps and Panels ready for supersonic blast? The world is watching…..
angela cracks me up. so over she came to help put this creation together – and really for a first attempt, i think we did a fine job.
we got a little skewer happy. the recipe said you could do it with 4, which is what we initially used for the major resting props. but then we broke off small pieces and just shoved them between the birds to keep them from actually touching. we were aiming for total clearance of about 1/4".
i used a 5 lb. duck and 16.5 lb. turkey and really, the original concept was quite simply to have a duck-basted turkey scenario. i stuffed the turkey with my dressing as per the recipe, stuffed the duck with a cut up orange, salted both birds and let them roast at about 340 for a little over an hour or so until they were pretty golden and then i tented the birds with some foil – dropped the temp to 250 to let the duck render its fat good and slow, and forgot about the whole deal until the oven beeped when the thermometer read 165. then cary removed it from the oven and when it was cooled we brought it over to angela’s.
the turkey was a ‘whole foods’ all natural bird and the duck was a ‘bell and evans’. the meat had stayed moist, and really – everything was about right. mission accomplished. but the best line… the most perfect statement made throughout this entire process was back to the moment when i asked ruhlman what he thought of this whole idea, and at the end of his tirade he just stopped and looked at me and said:
"this is why the french hate americans."