Christmas Corner

Christmas – that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance – a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.
- Augusta E. Rundel



He who has no Christmas in his heart will never find Christmas under a tree.
- Charlotte Carpenter



Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.
- Charles Schulz



Christmas is the time to let your heart do the thinking.
- Patricia Clafford



Cajun Style Turducken Recipe

What You'll Need:
20 - 25 lb. whole turkey, deboned with wings and legs still intact.
5 - 6 lb. whole duckling, deboned
3 - 4 lb. whole chicken, deboned Poultry seasoning blend
Cornbread Stuffing (recipe listed below)
Cajun Rice Dressing (recipe listed below)
Shrimp Stuffing (recipe listed below)
Kitchen string Cotton thread and a large needle

Have the birds deboned by your butcher to save yourself quite a bit of time, but if you're a particularly adventurous cook you can do it yourself. Professional Cutlery Direct provides step by step instructions for deboning poultry. Just be sure to keep the wings and legs on the turkey, that way the finished turducken will still look like a turkey.

It's best to prepare each stuffing ahead of time so that they have time to cool before you are ready to assemble your turducken. A basic stuffing recipe is listed below, and it can easily be adapted for any flavor that you choose.

Cornbread Stuffing

Ingredients
2 Tbsp. cooking oil
4 cups cornbread (crumbled)
1/2 lb. chopped chicken livers
1/2 lb. chopped chicken gizzards
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
Poultry seasoning, salt and black pepper (add according to taste)
Butter or olive oil for saute-ing vegetables
Chicken broth

Directions:

Brown chopped chicken livers and gizzards over medium heat in cooking oil. Add celery, onion, and bell pepper cook until soft. Season with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Add crumbled cornbread to vegetables and meat. Pour chicken broth into mixture until it reaches the desired consistency. Adjust seasoning and cool before stuffing bird.

Cajun Rice Dressing:

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. cooking oil
lb. ground beef
4 cups cooked white rice
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 clove minced garlic
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups beef broth
Salt and black pepper (to suit taste)

Directions:

Brown ground beef over medium heat in cooking oil. Add celery, onion, bell pepper and garlic cook until soft. Season with salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning. Add the cream of mushroom soup to the pot and heat through. Mix cooked rice with beef and vegetables. Pour beef broth into mixture until it reaches the desired consistency. Adjust seasoning and cool before stuffing bird.

Shrimp Stuffing:

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. cooking oil
4 cups cooked rice
2 lb. chopped shrimp (raw)
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
1 clove minced garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
Salt and black pepper (to suit taste)
Dash of red (cayenne) pepper

Directions:

Saute celery, onion, and bell pepper until soft. Pour in diced tomatoes. Add chopped shrimp, cook until slightly pink. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Combine with cooked rice. Add a little water if stuffing seems dry. Adjust seasoning and cool before stuffing bird.

Assembling the Turducken

Begin by placing the turkey skin side down and seasoning it well with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Then spread the cornbread stuffing over the turkey. Next, place the duck on top of the cornbread stuffing and spread the Cajun rice dressing over it. You will then place the chicken on top of the Cajun rice dressing and add the shrimp stuffing. Each stuffing layer should be approximately 1/2 inch thick. Any leftover stuffing can be placed in casserole dishes and baked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 30 minutes.

Once you've stuffed each bird, fold the sides of the turkey together to close the bird. Enlist someone to help hold the turkey closed as you begin to sew up the opening. The stitches should be spaced about 1 inch apart. You finish sewing the Turducken tie the legs together, just above the tip bones. Be sure to place the Turducken breast side up while cooking.

Once the turducken is assembled, place the turducken in a large roasting pan and cook in a 325 degrees Fahrenheit preheated oven. Alternatively, you can place the turducken on aluminum foil or in an aluminum pan, and then cook on a 350 degrees Fahrenheit grill or smoker.

Regardless of which method you choose to use you should cook the bird until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest area on the bundle reaches an internal temperature reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Fahrenheit is the minimum temperature for cooking poultry, but 180 degrees Fahrenheit will ensure that the turducken is fully cooked all the way through). The USDA recommends that a stuffed turkey of this size will generally take 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 hours to cook, but your best bet is to rely on the meat thermometer.

Submitted by Erika Learned

Turducken