TURDUCKEN – that would be TURkey, DUCK and chickEN. A 3-bird roast usually entails having a larger bird stuffed with a smaller bird, which is then stuffed with a couple of breasts of the third bird, with stuffing between all layers.
First published Dec 2011. Updated Dec 2017.
However, the combination of birds varies according to the cook, the number of diners and availability. Not to mention size of oven! The variations or combination is completely up to you. I have done:
- turkey, duck, chicken (the real Turducken)
- duck, chicken, pheasant breasts (today’s recipe)
- duck, chicken, partridge breasts
- turkey, chicken, duck breasts
How to cook a 3-Bird Roast
A roast totalling 3 kg would feed around 8-10 people. We cook it in exactly the same way one would a standard bird, varying the time slightly. There are various schools of thought here, some like to do an initial blast in the oven, some like an even medium-high temperature all the way through and then there’s the low and long group! I’m somewhere between 1 & 2!
If you are not handy at deboning, get your butcher to bone the birds you’ll be using, telling him how many people you’d like to feed, make sure to tell him to save the bones for that gravy you’ll be making from scratch! See our Easy Make Ahead Gravy recipe here.
In the recipe here, we’ve got duck, chicken and pheasant breasts, as well as 2 different types of stuffing. You can stick with one stuffing, if you like. I used the very traditional Sage, Onion and Sausagement Stuffing as well as a variation of that: Spicy Chorizo Stuffing. You can use any sausages for the chorizo stuffing, as we add chilli to the mix too.
How to serve Turducken or 3-bird Roast
The same way you would your roast turkey, roast goose or any other roast your family traditionally has at Christmas. We serve the Royal Roast with the usual suspects like roast potatoes, gravy, extra stuffing, cranberry sauce, etc. For ideas, head on to the Christmas Page for recipes like:
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Three Bird Roast Recipe (aka Royal Roast, Turducken)
- 1 large duck
- 1 medium chicken
- 2 pheasant breasts
- 1 portion stuffing of your choice or use 2 types, but half the amount
- 1 celery sliced thickly
- 2 carrots sliced thickly
- 1 celery sliced thickly
- 1 onion quartered
- 4 cloves garlic
- handful of fresh herbs – I used thyme rosemary and sage
- salt and pepper
- butcher’s needle thread
- Heat the oven to 200˚C/Fan 180˚C/400˚F. Rinse and pat dry all the birds. Place the duck flat on your work surface, skin side down. Rub a pinch of salt all over and sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper.
- Spread the first stuffing all over, stopping short of going all the way to the edge.
- Place the chicken, skin side down, on the duck. Do the same with the salt and pepper. Make sure that there is about an inch of spare duck all around the chicken. You will need that extra to wrap it all up. If not, don’t be afraid, get a pair of scissors, and trim that chicken. Use the chicken trimmings in the gravy, or freeze them to cook another day.
- Same again, spread the second stuffing all over.
- Finally the 2 pheasant breasts. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. No need for stuffing.
- Now comes the fun (messy!) part. Roll the duck up very slowly, make sure to displace as little stuffing as possible. But don’t worry too much about it – it’s going to be messy!
- Using the butcher’s thread, start stitching the chicken at bottom end. You could do a total of about 4-5 single dead knots across the bird (or more for a turkey). Or you could just literally, sew the 2 ends from the bottom to the top. I did 4 single knots here. Leave a bit of thread hanging and make sure you stitch about 2cm (just under an inch) away from the edge, to prevent tearing when the meat is cooking.
- When you get to the neck end, fold the flap in and stitch across tightly, or secure with a cocktail stick or two. I left it open, in this case, as you might make out from the picture.
- Now it’s time to cook it. Weigh your stuffed royal roast, so you know how long to cook it for. The time here are for a 3kg roast.
- Get a large roasting dish, lightly greased with olive oil. Scatter all the chopped up vegetables in it, followed by some salt and pepper.
- Place the royal roast on the vegetables and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven for an hour. This timing is for a 3kg (6 3/5 lb) roast.
- Baste the roast, lower the oven temperature to 180˚C/Fan 160˚C/350˚F and cook for 2 more hours, basting occasionally.
- After 2 hours, remove the foil, baste and cook for another 30 minutes to brown it. At the end of this time, the birds should be done but if you want to make absolutely sure, insert a meat thermometer, the temperature should read at least 70˚C (160˚F). Roast for an additional 15 minutes for every 500g (1.1lb) more of the total weight you have.
- Take it out of the oven, cover with foil and place a tea towel over it and let rest like that for at least 30 minutes while you finish the spuds off! This resting will give you a moist roast.
- Slice your multibird roast and serve with all the trimmings.