In it's 9th hour, the great bird(s) was(were) barely browning, it's internal temperature nearly 20 degrees below where it needed to be. The 20 guests mingled beautifully and patiently, waiting for the promise of Turducken to be fulfilled.
Just the day before we had picked up the beast from Jefferson Market, where we had acquired it the year before. It looked fine - a great swollen bit of de-boned turkey , trussed up with string, presumably wrapped around an equally bone-challenged duck and chicken, with deposits of stuffing between each layer of bird.
However, into the 8th hour of cooking, the turducken's interior was well below the temperature where we'd be assured of a salmonella-free holiday feast. I cranked up the heat to burn my way to victory, but it ended up being a total of 12 solid hours of cooking before we were ready to eat (I had started cooking it at 8:30 am). And upon cutting into the thing, we discovered why: this turducken was a LIE. No multi-layered trophy, but instead merely a boneless turkey stuffed with chopped up pieces of duck and a single kind of stuffing, with no chicken to be found. And it explained the uneven cooking and odd temperature readings I was getting as well. Suffice it to say I was PISSED... and confused, as we had gotten a turducken the previous year from the same place, Jefferson Market, that had been perfect. Fortunately everyone was very patient and seemed to be enjoying one another's company, so the evening still went off beautifully despite this hitch.
If anyone is curious, here was the menu:
- Fake Turducken
- Stuffed Roasted Butternut Squash for the vegetarians
- Sweet Potatoes
- Green Beans with Caramelized Onion Vinaigrette
- Green Beans with Goat Cheese, Walnuts and Fennel
- Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Scallions
- Cranberry stuffing, both with and without sweet sausage
- Salad with Carrot Ginger Dill Dressing
- Collard Greens sauteed with Garlic
- Cranberry Sauce
After supper, everyone chatted, laughed, drank and played mini-Ping Pong in the back room on an improvised table that had been set up using a Ping Pong net and paddles set I had purchased for the boys nearly 7 years ago. We were regaled with hilarious tales of dysfunctional family woes from my roommate Danny and his visiting brothers - a tri-alogue piece I have entitled "Drives with our Father."
After everyone had left, the brothers Dempsey, our other roommate Luke and I took some chairs outside to the parking lot and smoked some Cuban cigars one of the brothers, Jeremy, had smuggled back from Europe. The cigar kinda sucked, but it was a fantastic end to the evening.
Thanksgiving is a great holiday. Thanks Hallmark.