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When I decided to tackle the Turducken, I knew that I wanted to use this recipe as the duck stuffing. It’s from the Inn at Little Washington, one of the country’s great restaurants in the Virginia countryside outside of Washington DC. This is one of my favorite sides; I serve it with everything from cedar plank salmon to pork tenderloin. I’ve quadrupled the recipe here so there’s enough to serve on the side or for leftovers.
Wild Rice Pecan Pilaf
3 cups wild rice (NOT a blend)4 medium carrots, peeled and minced 4 stalks celery, minced 2 cups button mushrooms, minced 2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped (as in Step 5) 4 ounces (one stick) butter Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a rapid boil and add ½ teaspoon kosher salt and the rice. Boil the rice uncovered, adding more water as necessary to keep the rice submerged, until the grains pop. This will take about 45 minutes, but the rice will still be al dente; drain the rice and set it aside. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and sauté the carrots for 2 minutes. Add the celery, mushrooms, and pecans, and continue cooking for 2 minutes more while stirring frequently. Add the wild rice to combine and season with kosher salt and pepper, to taste. Remove the rice from the heat and spread it on a cookie sheet to cool as in Step 5. Keep it refrigerated until you’re ready to assemble in Step 8.
The stuffing for the chicken is a combo of the original Turducken blueprint and my favorite shrimp Creole from New Orleans’ iconic Commander’s Palace. The seafood adds another flavor profile to the mix and you can control the heat to your own taste.
Shrimp Creole Stuffing
4 ounces (one stick) butter4 bay leaves 2 large yellow onions, diced 4 stalks celery, diced 2 green peppers, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 cups grape tomatoes, diced 2 tablespoons paprika 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce 1½ pounds shrimp, peeled and chopped 6 slices dense white sandwich bread, e.g. Pepperidge Farm, cut into 1/4–3/8” cubes Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper Poultry stock from Step 4, as needed to moisten
Melt 6 tablespoons of the butter with the bay leaves in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the celery, green peppers, garlic, tomatoes, and paprika and continue to sauté for an additional 4 minutes until the celery and bell peppers are faded in color. Add the Worcestershire, Tabasco, shrimp, the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and stir until the butter is melted. Add half of the bread cubes and continue to stir for 2 minutes to moisten. Add the remaining cubes and stir until everything is mixed in, about 2 minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat, extract the bay leaves, and stir in just enough poultry stock to moisten the stuffing and bind it together; it should not be wet. Then, adjust the seasoning with kosher salt and pepper. As in Steps 5 & 6, spread it thinly on a cookie sheet to chill in the refrigerator. Be sure it is completely cool before you stuff the chicken in Step 8.
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