Culinary Trail Signature Dish: Turducken
This poultry-packed chicken, inside a duck, inside a turkey is like three delicious dishes stuffed into one.
What is turducken?
A true feat of American culinary creativity and ingenuity, a turducken is created by stuffing a deboned chicken inside a deboned duck and then stuffing both inside a deboned turkey – often with a cornbread dressing or pork stuffing added between the layers. And it’s awesome.
Where did turducken originate?
While many debate the exact time and place turducken was invented, most agree it’s very much a South Central Louisiana creation straight from the Cajun heartland that was later popularized by famed Chef Paul Prudhomme. Some give credit for turducken’s origins to Herbert’s Specialty Meats in Maurice, just north of Abbeville, which has been selling them for the past several decades. Others insist turducken was first created in the kitchen of former New Orleans creole restaurant Corrine Dunbar’s, as chronicled in the 1971 cookbook, “American Cooking: Creole and Acadian.”
“Now and then the owner of Corinne Dunbar’s will work up a special dinner,” the cookbook states. “It seems that someone had heard somewhere that you can stuff a bird into a bird into a bird, just as long as you can find a bird big enough to contain the last one. He found nine birds around town and tried it. The dish he served consisted of a snipe that was stuffed into a dove that was inserted into a quail that was placed in a squab that was put into a Cornish game hen that was tucked into a pheasant that was squeezed into a chicken that was pushed into a duck that was stuffed into a turkey. When the chef carved it, the partakers felt as if they were eating a single legendary bird, a sort of poached phoenix."
How do I eat turducken?
Just like carving into a roasted chicken or turkey, you can slice turducken to enjoy for dinner with all the fixings or place it on a sandwich for lunch. And just like your Thanksgiving turkey, be sure to transform the flavorful pan sauces left behind when you cook it into a luscious gravy to pour over top.
Where can I try turducken?
Herbert’s Specialty Meats in Maurice has been selling turduckens for more than 30 years and is also known for their deboned stuffed chickens with a variety of fillings, such as alligator rice dressing, eggplant, brown rice and jalapeño-stuffed potato. (You can now buy them online from Herbert’s as well.) You can find turducken at restaurants and markets around the state at places like Gourmet Butcher Block in Gretna and Cajun Specialty Meats in Vidalia. You can also order online at the Cajun Grocer and have this gourmet delicacy delivered straight to your door!