Step-by-step: Tackling a turducken
(Noelle Carter / Los Angeles Times)
Happy Thanksgivukkah! With the merging of both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah traditions, this has got to be one of the best food holidays of all time. If you’re looking for the ultimate way to celebrate -- and I know you are -- you might as well go all out with a turbrisket.
What is a turbrisket, you might ask? Well, a turbrisket is similar to a turducken (maybe you’ve heard of it -- a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey), except the turkey is stuffed with brisket. Because that’s just not enough, I also stuff it with a couple Thanksgiving dishes tweaked with a nod to Hanukkah: latke stuffing and corn pudding kugel.
Check out the step-by-step photo gallery above for a tutorial, and continue reading for a quick how-to and tips.
Cook the brisket: A day before assembling the turducken, cook a 3- to 4-pound brisket. Use whatever recipe you like, but keep in mind that the flavors should complement the stuffings you decide to add when you assemble the final monstrosity, er, dish. Cook the brisket so it is tender, but not falling apart, then chill. Slice the brisket crosswise into half-inch-thick or so strips (slicing the brisket into thinner strips will make it easier to wrap around the stuffings when you assemble the turbrisket).
Make the corn pudding kugel: In a large bowl, mix together the ingredients for a classic corn pudding, then add a pound of cooked noodles, preferably egg noodles. (I didn’t have egg noodles on hand, so I used macaroni.) Pour the mixture in a casserole dish and bake until the custard is set. Cool the casserole completely (refrigerate overnight if possible), before assembling the turbrisket.
Assemble the latke stuffing: This is really nothing more than a basic stuffing, except instead of using bread, I use equal amounts crumbled latkes. Take the stuffing up to the point where you would bake it, then chill (up to a day in advance) until you’re ready to assemble the turbrisket.
Prepare the turkey: This will require some time and patience. If you’ve never removed the bones from a turkey, it can be complicated -- but it’s certainly not impossible. Here’s a step-by-step (you can also ask your butcher to do it for you). Simply tell the butcher to leave the wing bones and drumsticks in the turkey (so when the turbrisket is assembled, it still looks like a turkey). I used a 10 1/2-pound turkey to make my turbrisket.
Assemble the turbrisket: Give yourself plenty of room to work. Lay the turkey out on a cutting board, skin-side down. Spoon the latke stuffing over the exposed turkey meat. Layer the stuffing with a couple slices of brisket, then mound the corn pudding kugel in the center. Carefully stitch the turbrisket together using butcher’s twine (have a friend help you if possible), then carefully invert the turbrisket onto a rack in a roasting pan.
Cook the turbrisket: Roast the turbrisket at 425 degrees for the first 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and continue roasting until the very center of the turbrisket reaches 165 degrees (even though the corn pudding kugel is cooked, because it has come into contact with raw turkey, it will need to be cooked to a safe temperature again -- as will the brisket and latke stuffing). Depending on the size of the turbrisket, this should take about 3 hours or so. Rest the turbrisket for at least 30 minutes before carving.
To carve your turbrisket, slice it like a loaf of bread. Voila.