Turducken Poutine

Here’s a great way to use left over turkey. Particularly if it was smoked. We used leftover turkey, cooked the potatoes in duck fat, and then needed a hen to finish off the clever name. Well, we found the perfect bird, it just wasn’t a chicken. And this bird made our turkey sing. More on that in a moment. First, a quick review on poutine.

We’ve done poutine before with smoked duck. And the thing is, poutine really isn’t Great Lakes Cuisine. It’s Quebecois – which is one of my favorite words. Poutine was popularized in Quebec, but has become according to some the National Dish of Canada. There is even a Poutine Festival in Toronto.

It’s fried potatoes, usually what we call fries in the U.S. and what they call chips in Canada, topped with gravy and then cheese (often cheese curds). Sometimes meat will be added, like pulled pork. Less often, smoked duck like we mentioned above. Combining of potatoes, gravy, and cheese in some order has become so widespread across the Western European world as to have almost no specific geographic significance. Still, poutine is Quebecois. That is fairly undeniable. And we had fun with poutine as our creative landscape as we have in the past with our Duck, Duck, Goose. Once again the name for this dish plays off the ingredients, which are very Great Lakes indeed.

We started by roasting fingerling potatoes in 2 Tbsp. of rendered duck fat from Maple Leaf Farms, a healthy bunch of thyme, 6 cloves of garlic, and Maldon sea salt at 500 degrees until delightfully browned and crispy, about 45 minutes.

For a previous dinner, we had smoked a turkey on our Green Egg over applewood chunks harvested from a former tree in our backyard. In a small saucepan, we tossed in a small sliced onion, the peelings from three carrots, a sprig of thyme, and the skin and bones of a smoked turkey leg. We seasoned with salt and allowed this to caramelize on medium high heat for about ten minutes and then added 2 cups of roasted vegetable broth. We allowed it to simmer for about 30 minutes while our potatoes roasted. Then we strained out all solids, returned to medium high heat and added just enough cornstarch to thicken to a gravy. To the gravy we added about a cup of diced smoked turkey meat and let it simmer until the potatoes were crispy.

So now our bird. The chicken is a critical part of the turducken – which is technically a turkey stuffed with a chicken stuffed with a duck (and then maybe some sausage or foie gras in the middle). So turkey-chicken-duck, or a turchuck or turchickuck, but somehow we got to turducken. Anyway, the chicken matters. We contemplated a cheesy egg preparation as one possibility. But decided to look for a cheese named for a chicken which we did not find, but we came across this stunner:

Oh yeah, that’s a quadruple cream…freaking quadruple cream…blue cheese. Head over to The Cheese Professor for a primer on double and triple cream cheeses. So this is really ratcheting up the creamy, butteriness in a blue cheese. And then they add juniper berries which takes it to a whole other level. If you haven’t enjoyed the tangy, fruity, herbal wonderfulness of the juniper berry, you should go here and get some. They add that unique piney, citrusy flavor to many Germanic dishes and to many a gin. So this is our perfect bird to alight atop a mountain of crispy duck-fat roasted potatoes and smoked turkey gravy, The Blue Jay from Deer Creek.

Pop it under a broiler or perhaps just into the microwave for 30 seconds so the cheese begins to melt and ooze down Mount Poutine. A few fresh thyme leaves dot the plate. And as that cheese, with all its creamy, gooey, tanginess hits that smoked turkey gravy, it’s heaven. The crispy, salty potato provides the perfect foil, the perfect base for the flavors.

It might be poutine heresy, but there have been more than a few poutines I have tried where the gravy and the cheese don’t do all that much together. Often the cheese used, which traditionally white cheddar curds, simply doesn’t melt all that well and the gravy is overly thick. It makes a stunning picture, but the cheese doesn’t meld into the gravy. This was the problem we encountered when using on our Potage Colcannon. The Blue Jay melts into buttery goodness with the smoked gravy. The combination is intoxicating.

So in the end, no chicken in our Turducken. Perhaps a Turduckay? Regardless, we recommend The Blue Jay as a taste delight with your leftover turkey, however you choose to prepare it.

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