Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Turducken Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving at the Cooley house is quite the crazy-fun experience.  For the past 6 years, they have made a Turducken.  As I have mentioned this to several folks in answering the back-to-work-on-Monday traditional question, "So how was your Thanksgiving?", I have received a number of quizzical looks and a request for a repeat.  Therefore, I feel it necessary to explain this fowl monstrosity.

























A Turducken is a boneless chicken stuffed with, in this case, pork sausage, then stuffed into the cavity of a boneless duck, then all stuffed into a turkey that is boneless except for the legs and wings. You know, to make it seem "normal."

This was my second encounter with the birds-in-one.  The first time was at a place in Sarasota, FL that was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, or whatever that show is with Guy Fieri.  It was all together disappointing. The turkey was incredibly dry, and how could it not be?  While the chicken is shedding its salmonella bacteria, the outer turkey continues to cook and cook and cook.

The Cooley Turducken, however, is pretty moist.  Judy cooks it in a bird bag to keep it all steaming in its own juices.  And I have to say, I was entirely fascinated at first.  And then, and then... well, once you pull off the legs and wings, you end up carving the thing like it's a log roll.  Of meat.  Yes, there is no question of my carnivore nature, but even I have limits.  A poultry log roll with pork sausage in the middle.  Ay, ay, ay.  Even then, if you're going to have a Turducken, the Cooleys have it pretty well made.  And if I don't think about the flesh upon flesh concept, I actually thought it tasted pretty good...

But I tell you what I really did like, everything else!  Lots of wine flowing, great atmosphere, and really great non-Turducken food!

 
Sweet potato soup with bacon chutney and dollop of sour cream.  Delish!  And envy the table setting.  Love it.

Wild rice that was "only there because the Male Head of the Household requested it."  Perhaps it IS a male thing, because Eric chowed on this thing and I think I saw a glimpse of tear forming in Mark's eye as he realized he would be getting no Wild Rice leftovers the next day...









Oyster Stuffing  - stuffed by yours truly!  I thought I stuffed the CorningWare, only to find that once it settles after baking, it reduces to half its size.  Ah well, makes every bite a more concentrated oystery bite.


Creamy, buttery mashed potatoes.  I will take this any day over the American Sweet Potato Casserole.  I don't get that thing.  The sweet potato is already so sweet, so why, oh why, does anyone need to add brown sugar and top it with a marshmallow something or other?  My teeth hurt just thinking about it...

The Cooleys have a Food Science intern living with them while she gains her experience at Hershey's.  She made a lot of the dishes, but this has to be hers and only hers.  Red cabbage braised in apple cider.  Really great! 




And then, of course, dessert.  From left:  Traditional Apple Pie, Pumpkin Mousse with a cookie crust, and a Cranberry-Apple Crumble.  Of note - that CranApple Crumble.  Great balance of tart and sweet.  Beauty.

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