For years the turducken has been something of a white whale among the men in my family. A dish we all wanted to try, but just never got around to preparing. After all, 30 lbs. of boneless poultry and stuffing will feed a lot of people, and it's a little odd to take over an entire Thanksgiving with a carnivorous feast that combines the excesses of pre-revolutionary France with a NASCAR tailgate party.
However, while looking through the "weird meats" section of the Schnuck's freezer (a larger-than-average percentage of my grocery shopping), I found a four pound turducken breast roll from Cajun Stuff. My brother John, friend Paul and I had a guys' night coming up, and this seemed like the perfect main course.
While four pounds is definitely a more manageable size, and this little turducken tasted great, I was disappointed with the amount of duck meat included. In fact, if I were making one from scratch I might double up on the duck and incorporate chicken hearts and livers into the already meaty Cajun sausage stuffing. A more classically trained chef than I might make a terrine or galantine using similar ingredients.
My New Year's Eve wine (the sparkling Segura Viudas) ended up getting consumed with this meal, both on its own and in the form pictured, a Nelson's Blood* Cocktail: one part Port to four parts sparkling wine. You don't necessarily want to use expensive versions of either ingredient for this, but it's fun if you've got the materials on hand. It ended up reminding me of a Brachetto d'Acqui from Italy.
John provided the side dishes--grilled yellow squash and zucchini and a bowl of mashed potatoes kicked up with bacon, gorgonzola, cream cheese, garlic and other flavorings. Good job there, little brother.
Cigars and Port followed dinner during a viewing of Escanaba in da Moonlight, a great independent film from Jeff Daniels about a night in deer camp on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
*Nelson's Blood is also a nickname for Pusser's Rum, the former daily ration of the Royal Navy. When Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson defeated both the Spanish and French fleets at Trafalgar, he was mortally wounded and his body placed in a cask of rum to preserve it until burial back on the scepter'd isle. Some sailors on board the HMS Victory purportedly drank from the cask.