What the Turducken!

Holidays are a time for tradition. We decided it was start a new one. We cooked the infamous turducken. In case you aren’t familiar, that’s a turkey, duck, and chicken all rolled into one. Sound too good to be true? Honestly, we thought so too!

This isn’t a task to take on unless you are fully committed to the challenge. Patience is your friend while preparing the turducken.

Process

Debone the birds– turkey, chicken, and duck. We did this the day before to save time. Depending on your expertise, this can take from 45 to 90 minutes.

turducken birds still have their bones
turducken birds sans bones

Stuffing is placed between each meat layer. Feel free to put your own spin on the stuffing. We also made a double batch for each turkey to ensure we had enough for each layer.

  • Stuffing mix of your choice (we used corn bread)
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh sage
  • Minced garlic
  • Paprika
  • Pepper
  • Salt

Now for the Turducken!

  • Season each piece of meat with salt and pepper.
  • Lay turkey out flat so it’s ready for the stuffing.
  • Pat the first layer of stuffing on the turkey.
layering stuffing into the turducken
  • Place chicken thighs on top half of turkey, and chicken breasts on the lower half.
adding another layer to the turducken
  • Pat a second layer of stuffing on top of the turkey-chicken combo.
  • Place the duck in the middle of the stuffing layer.
  • Add the last layer of stuffing.
folding up the turducken
folding up the turducken more
stitching the turducken
skewering the turducken
sealed turducken
  • Begin pulling up sides of turkey to secure everything inside with twine or skewers.
  • Season outside of turkey – we used paprika, salt, and pepper.
seasoned turduckens

Settings

We doubled up and made two turduckens. One was cooked using a CVap® Cook and Hold Oven.  The other was staged in the CVap oven and then fried in a Collectramatic®  Pressure Fryer.

The roasted turducken was cooked on high yield at 170°F doneness and 4 level browning for six hours, then held overnight for eight hours at 150°F doneness and 1 level browning.

The staged and fried turducken was staged at 165°F and 0 browning overnight for 14 hours and then finished in the fryer for three minutes.

Roasted Turducken –82% yield

roasted turducken
roasted turducken interior

Staged & Fried Turducken– 84% yield

fried turducken
fried turducken
fried turducken interior

That’s a Lot of Turkey to Gobble Up!

turkey and dressing are sure to please

Preparing a meal fit for a holiday AND a crowd is a challenge. Thankfully, we’ve got the perfect recipe! This turkey and dressing dish feeds 50. It can be prepared in a single CVap® oven. Try it at your next holiday gathering!

The Turkey

  • Boneless No-Rolled Turkey (USDA commodity) – One 8lb
  • Poultry seasoning – 2 Tbsp
  • Olive Oil – 1 Tbsp

Settings: CVap Retherm Oven, Channel #1
Cook Time: 90 minutes (or until internal temperature reaches 165°F)

  1. Coat the turkey in olive oil and seasoning.
  2. Place on a roasting plaque. When the oven display reads LOAD, place the turkey in the oven and cook for approximately 90 minutes, or until the temperature reaches 165°F.
  3. Remove the turkey from the oven and allow it to cool completely.
  4. Chop meat into ½” cubes and keep refrigerated until ready to assemble and bake.

NOTE: Use recommended CVap equipment and settings for best possible results!

The Dressing

  • Whole grain, enriched bread, cut into cubes – 3 lb 2 oz
  • Ground white pepper – 2 tsp
  • Dried blend of thyme, marjoram, sage – 2 Tbsp
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley – 2 Tbsp
  • Yellow onion, chopped fine – 8 oz
  • Celery, chopped fine – 4 oz
  • Carrots, chopped fine – 4 oz
  • Margarine or butter, melted – 12 oz
  • Chicken stock (non-MSG, low sodium) – 2 qt

Preparation Method

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and keep refrigerated until ready to assemble and bake.

The Gravy

  • Margarine or butter, room temperature – 6 oz
  • Enriched flour – 7 oz
  • Chicken stock or turkey stock (non-MSG, low sodium) – 3 qt

Preparation Method

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, blend the flour and butter together to make a paste, and reserve.
  2. Using a saucepan, heat the stock to 140°F. Ladle 4 oz of hot stock into the paste.
  3. Using a whisk, blend together. Continue adding stock to paste until the paste becomes loose and resembles a slurry. Pour the slurry into the hot stock and heat to 165°F, whisking intermittently.
  4. Remove gravy and chill until ready to assemble and bake the recipe. Use hot stock only when the recipe will be assembled and baked immediately.

Putting It All Together: CVap Turkey and Dressing

Settings: CVap Retherm Oven, Channel #3
Cook time: 50 minutes (or until internal temperature reaches 165°F)

We prepared turkey, dressing, and gravy one day in advance and refrigerated it.

  1. Prepared two steam table pans by coating them lightly with non-stick spray.
  2. Divide the dressing mixture between the two pans, pressing it into the bottom.
  3. Add chopped, cooked turkey on top of the dressing.
  4. Pour turkey gravy over the top.
  5. Cover the pans were covered with foil and place in oven. After 30 minutes we removed the foil and continued cooking for an additional 20 minutes (OR until the internal temperature reaches 165°F).

This savory sensation can be served immediately or held in a CVap Holding Cabinet or oven until you’re ready to serve – (Vapor Temp 140°F / Air Temp 145°F).

 

Per Serving: 271 Calories, 19.79 g Protein, 18.31 g Carbohydrate, 12.63 g Total Fat, 2.92 g Saturated Fat, 45 mg Cholesterol, 366 IU Vitamin A, 0.4 mg Vitamin C, 2.21 mg Iron, 55 mg Calcium, 441mg Sodium, 0.8 g Dietary Fiber

*Recipe has been adapted from USDA/NFSMI recipe for “Turkey and Dressing Supreme.”

 

Burger Season is Upon Us. Prepare to Gobble!

Memorial Day is upon us. It’s a time to reflect on the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. It’s also the official start of the summer season and burger Season. Here’s a delicious twist on burgers – made better with CVap® (of course).

Not only does Memorial Day begin summer, it also immediately precedes June – a.k.a. National Turkey Lovers’ Month. So what does that mean? That’s right – turkey burgers! But not just any turkey burgers – these burgers started with CVap® Staging.

No Dry Turkey Here

First a question: is it frustrating when someone describes turkey burgers as being dry, flavorless, or dull? With the abundance of techniques we have at our disposal, and the enormous variety of flavor combinations to choose from, there’s just no excuse to ruin burger season! And of course, we love turkey as a starring protein because it is a lean, versatile option.

For this post, we experimented with two different approaches, though our base mixture was the same for both. We combined ½ lb. of ground turkey with two beaten eggs, ¼ cup of Bourbon Barrel Soy Sauce, ½ of an onion (minced), One minced garlic clove, and one cup of Panko bread crumbs. Once the mixture was gently combined, we formed 3-ounce patties and put some on a parchment-lined half-size sheet pan.

Eggs, minced garlic and onion, Panko, and soy sauce.

Ground turkey. Gently knead other ingredients into meat.

Ground turkey mixture formed into 3-oz. patties. Half were placed on parchment-lined tray.

The other half of the patties were vacuum-sealed with a little added smoke.

Preparing for Burger Season

We took the other half, placed them in pouches for vacuum-sealing, and then added a little smoke for an extra dimension of flavor. It was just enough to give the burgers a subtle smokiness without it being overwhelming.

All of the patties then went into a CVap Cook & Hold Oven with Constant Cook ON, a Food Temperature (Doneness) setting of 145°F and a Food Texture (Browning) setting of 0, for 30 minutes.

 

Finishing

To finish the patties, we pan seared them for texture and brought them to a finished temperature of 150° to 155°F (though tossing them on a grill for quick finish would work equally well). CVap® Staging and then finishing in this manner yielded extremely well-textured, moist, and flavorful burgers.

The patties that were vacuum-sealed wound up being the perfect size and shape for the toasted ciabatta rolls we were using. We dressed those simply, with fresh torn cilantro and a chipotle salsa (fresh pico mixed with pureed chipotle peppers) that complimented the slight hint of smoke in the patty.

Pouched turkey patty, finished by searing on grill.

Patties CVapped in a pouch fit perfectly on ciabatta buns.

After pan-searing the more traditional patties, we treated a ciabatta bun to Sriracha mayonnaise on one side and an explosively delicious mixture of pureed onion, Bourbon Barrel Soy Sauce, and minced ginger and garlic on the other side. We finished it off with a mixture of tender baby lettuce and torn, fresh cilantro.

Asian-influenced traditional patty with Sriracha mayo, onion, soy sauce, minced ginger and garlic, baby lettuce and torn cilantro.

Traditional patty dressed with Asian flavors. Note the even doneness – a hallmark of CVap cooking.

While the first, Latin-inspired burger was extremely tasty, the Asian-influenced burger was off-the-charts delicious. We can’t wait to make it again!

So what exactly is CVap® Staging? Using this process, food is brought to the exact internal temperature desired and then held there – without overcooking or drying out – until it is time to finish and serve the dish. This means that the final flavor-enhancing and texturing touches can be made just moments before the food is served. Imagine how much faster you could push plates out of a kitchen!

Learn more about the complete line of CVap products.

The Perfect Turkey in CVap

perfect turkey
perfect turkey

It is easy to cook the perfect turkey in a CVap® oven. There are so many sensory delights to appreciate in a properly roasted turkey. The skin should have a consistent golden brown hue. The perfect turkey has a crisp texture that is audible when met with a knife. The breast meat should be tender and juicy while the dark meat should be succulent and toothsome. The aroma should be rich and intoxicating, filling the kitchen with a scent that is tangible and evokes memories of Thanksgiving or holiday feasts.

Brining is an option many cooks exercise, though we don’t do it every time we roast a turkey. When we do, a couple of our favorite concoctions include:

sugar
paprika
granulated garlic
granulated onion
peppercorns
salt

thyme
rosemary
Italian parsley
bay leaves
aromatics (onion, celery, carrot)
water

To Brine or Not to Brine?

The benefit of brining a perfect turkey is to impart additional flavor to the bird and to add moisture. Of course, if the turkey is cooked correctly, brining is unnecessary! In the tests we did for this post, the birds were not brined. Nor were they stuffed. While stuffing a turkey may be a tried and true part of cooking a Thanksgiving feast for many, we discourage the practice. In order to get the stuffing inside the bird to a safe endpoint temperature, you risk sacrificing the moistness of the white meat by overcooking it.

brining perfect turkey

The Science of a Perfect Turkey

In one test, we roasted a 10 lb. turkey in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven (CAC) with the Food Temperature set at 190°F, Browning Level at 8 (new CVap setting would be 190°F Vapor temp/290°F Air temp). We cooked it for three hours with Constant Cook ON.

In another test we cooked a bird in a CAC at 180°F with a Browning level of 6 (new CVap setting would be 180°F Vapor temp/230°F Air temp) for five hours with Constant Cook ON. As you can see, this test yielded skin that was not as brown or quite as crisp as the other test.

An alternative suggestion might be to cook a turkey at 175 + 0 to end point doneness and then either flash fry or flash roast it to brown and crisp up the skin. Using this method will yield extremely tender and juicy meat.

No matter which of these methods you use, the moral to this story is that a perfectly cooked turkey is something to be very thankful for!