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Miller Foods' Turduckenease: A Holiday Dining Tradition for More Than a Decade

It's a duck. It's a chicken. It's a turkey. It's...all three! The Avon family food business celebrates 2013 and its original version of the turducken called the 'Turduckinease.'

Cal Miller-Stevens demonstrates how to cook Miller Foods' Turduckinease. Credit: Jessie Sawyer
Cal Miller-Stevens demonstrates how to cook Miller Foods' Turduckinease. Credit: Jessie Sawyer
There are mixed reports about the exact origin of the turducken, a holiday favorite that includes de-boned duck and chicken meat cooked into a turkey, often with stuffing. 

But there is no question about who invented the original Turduckenease, a Miller Foods trademark that has been putting an Avon spin on the turducken for more than a decade after establishing its signature Turkease about 20 years ago. 

The Turduckenease includes thin filets of boneless  and skinless duck and chicken, without the fat, stuffed inside a semi-boneless Turkease. The wings are removed unless by special request.

"We called our master butchers who work with their knife like an artist with their brush," Cal Miller-Stevens, one of the owners of Miller Foods, said. 

The meat used in the Turduckenease comes from the United States.

"Turduckenease is king," as in king of the poulty, Capri Frank, project manager for her family's business, said. 

Many turduckens come filled with stuffing, but the Miller family prepares it without the stuffing so that you get more for you money in terms of meat, Miller-Stevens and Frank said. That also leaves room for you to add your favorite family stuffing recipe to the Turduckenease to make the meal your own.

The Miller family decided to sell the Turduckenease for "something different."

"How often do you eat duck?" Miller-Stevens said. "At the holiday times you eat steak. Even if you get a ribeye or a roast, it's meat. You eat beef throughout the year. Lamb, that's easy. People might not eat it as much. All of that is available. So, the key is that you want something different."

To celebrate 2013, Miller Foods is doing a promotion for the Turduckenease, offering $2.13 off per pound for online orders.

The Avon food business is also partnering with 102.9 DRC-FM to support Toys for Tots. People who bring a toy to the Toys for Tots drive at the Shoppes at the Farmington Valley in Canton will also get coupons for a free carton of a dozen eggs and $2.13 off of every pound of Turduckenease from Miller Foods. More information is available on the Miller Foods Facebook page.

Miller Foods is known for their turkeys and Turkease, a semi-boneless turkey with the drumsticks, and many people flock to the store and their holiday tent for Thanksgiving. The Avon family business fed more than 100,000 people for Thanksgiving with its meals, Frank said.

Miller Foods also carries many different types of beef, pork, ham and poultry, including goose, capon, Cornish hen and duck for your winter holiday meals, as well as many sides, appetizers, cheeses, pies and other desserts 

 "It's a holiday destination," Frank said.

You can order the Turducken up until Dec. 23 in time for Christmas Eve or Day.

To order online and to see other holiday specials, click on the link provided. Orders can also be shipped. 

The Mystery of the Turducken's Origins

As for the roots of the turducken, there doesn't seem to be a definitive answer. NFL personality John Madden popularized the turducken when he famously carved one on national television during a football game on Thanksgiving in 1997, crediting his find to a New Orleans chef after trying one the Saints' publicist brought him, according to kcet.org. Many credit Louisianna chef Paul Prudhomme.

The New York Times reporter Amanda Hesser sought the answer in a 2002 article. While Prudhomme told her he came up with the idea at a Wyoming lodge, he wouldn't reveal when or the name of the place. It took her several calls to find a butcher in New York who would make a turducken for her, though the tradition is growing in New England.

She learned of a recipe for poultry stuffed within poultry dating back to 1832 in Charleston, South Carolina, as referenced in John B. Grimball's diaries that entails stuffing a dove into a quail into a "guinea hen" into a duck into a capon into a goose and, finally, into a peacock or turkey. 

But accounts of stuffing birds within birds within birds date as far back as 1807 in European history with a 17-bird dish called the rôti sans pareil, according to www.delish.com

Miller Foods will be open until noon on Dec. 24.

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