Monday, November 12, 2012

Duchikey (or Simplified Turducken)

The idea of making a turducken is kind of frightening:  deboning three different birds and then stuffing one inside the other inside the other and then roasting it all low and long enough so that it's cooked all the way through but not dry or burnt on the outside.  Crazy.

But when Serious Eats posted a way to make a simplified turducken a couple of years ago by using cuts from all three birds instead of the whole birds, I knew I had to try it.  It's a pounded duck breast covered with a layer of stuffing covered with chicken thighs, another layer of stuffing, and then turkey cutlets.  Thus, a duchikey.  The Serious Eats post included a recipe for stuffing, but I decided to further simplify it by just using Stove Top stuffing, a personal guilty pleasure.

Duchikey ingredients
Duchikey (based on the recipe from Serious Eats)
makes 4 servings

1 box Stove Top stuffing, prepared
1 large duck breast (about 8 oz.)
1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (2-3)
1 turkey cutlet (about 1/4 lb.)
1 tablespoon oil

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Lay duck breast skin-side down on cutting board with long edge perpendicular to edge of table. Using sharp chef's knife or boning knife, make one thin horizontal slit from left side of breast to right side, about 1/4 inch from the top, leaving 1/8th-inch connected on right side. Open like book. Repeat, making another cut from right to left and open duck breast like business letter. Place duck breast between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap and pound gently until roughly 1/3 of an inch thick. Refrigerate until needed.
Pound chicken thighs between two sheets of wax paper with meat pounder or rolling pin until each one is even 1/3-inch thickness. Refrigerate until needed. Repeat with turkey cutlet.

Duck breast layer

Lay opened duck breast skin side down on cutting board. Season with salt and pepper. Spread 3-4 tablespoons stuffing onto duck meat. Use back of spoon or offset spatula to smooth stuffing entirely over top of breast.

Chicken thighs layer
Lay flattened chicken thighs on top of duck. Season with salt and pepper. Chicken layer should be the same size or slightly smaller than the duck layer. Trim chicken if necessary. Spread 3-4 tablespoons stuffing over chicken, smoothing with spatula or back of spoon.

Turkey cutlets layer
Lay turkey cutlet on chicken layer, trimming if necessary to fit over chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Spread 1 tablespoon stuffing over turkey. Place remaining stuffing in 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

Roll duchikey jelly-roll style from left to right. Cut five 12-inch pieces of butcher's twine and lay parallel to each other in 1-inch intervals. Place duchikey on top and twine working from outside towards center to secure. Trim off excess twine.

Wrapped duchikey
Season duchikey with salt and pepper.  Heat oil over medium-high heat in heavy 12-inch oven-proof cast iron or stainless steel skillet until shimmering. Add duchikey, duck skin side down, and brown on all sides, approximately 8 minutes total. Transfer duchikey and stuffing to oven and roast until instant read thermometer inserted into center of duchikey registers 150°F, about 30 minutes. Remove duchikey to cutting board, tent lightly with aluminum foil and let rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.

I found that the original recipe called for too much turkey, so I halved the amount.  I liked that it was so much easier to make than a turducken, and it's perfect if you're just feeding a small crowd for Thanksgiving.  Moving the duck to the outside and browning it first gives you a really nice, crispy skin, too, without making the rest of the meat dry.

Next:  Grapefruit Pie
Previously:  Cereal Milk Ice Cream and Pie
Four years ago:  Homemade Crystallized Ginger


  1. I have never had a turducken but it's something very intriguing and I must have it SOON! :) Your version seems easier and yummy! :) Thanks for sharing!

  2. I've wanted to eat turducken for a while, but we never have enough people around. Duchikey sounds like a great alternative. :)