Speaking to The New York Times in 2012, self-proclaimed turducken inventor Paul Prudhomme took credit for coming up with the concept of combining a boned chicken, a boned duck and a boned turkey into a single stuffed-and-roasted entity. But he would not share the name of the Wyoming lodge where the dish was first made or why he created it.
The origin of the turducken croquettes, which executive chef Antimo DiMeo has on the menu at his Delaware meat palace Bardea Steak, is not nearly as shrouded in mystery. As DiMeo, a native of the greater Philadelphia area, explains to InsideHook, his croquettes were inspired by a Thanksgiving-themed sandwich — dubbed the Bobbie — that originated at the flagship location of Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop on Wilmington’s North Union Street.
Named for the aunt who served Capriotti founders Lois and Alan Margolet her version of a leftover sandwich the day after Thanksgiving, the Bobbie features slow-roasted turkey topped with cranberry sauce, handmade stuffing and mayo. “We buy the Bobbie for staff meal at Bardea a lot,” DiMeo says. “It’s essentially a Thanksgiving feast in a sandwich that is served year-round. I was eating it once and it was kind of like a light bulb went off. I thought it would be really cool if we took the sandwich a step further and made it a play on a turducken. We began testing it from there.”
The croquettes are made by cooking the turkey and duck confit style before incorporating fried chicken skin to fulfill the poultry trifecta required for a turducken. The recipe was an instant hit, and the croquettes went on the menu nearly immediately, even though it was summertime. “We fell in love with it,” DiMeo says. “There are some dishes we kind of hit on our first swing, and this was one of them. The vision was there. We have a saying in our kitchen. ‘Is it good or is it great?’ Everybody unanimously thought it was great. We felt really good about it.”
Rounded out with ingredients including mashed potatoes, speck and scamorza cheese, the croquettes are a bit complex, but their flavor profile is pure turducken. “We really wanted the meats to shine and have it be as if you were eating a turducken sandwich in croquette form,” DiMeo says. “We were able to enhance it with all the flavors and the ingredients, but we really started light. You can always add something, but you can’t take it away. We didn’t want to mask anything too much and really tried to amplify the natural ingredients.”
And, like the Bobbie, the turducken croquettes aren’t going anywhere once Thanksgiving and the holidays are over. “Obviously, people order turkey more in November because when they think Thanksgiving, they think turkey,” DiMeo says. “I’m the opposite. I eat turkey year-round. It’s our ethos to try to really push people to get out of their comfort zone a little bit and try something they’ve never tried before. We try to present different flavor profiles you really can’t get at a prototypical steakhouse.”
Now some of those flavor profiles can make their way into your kitchen.
Bardea Steak’s Turducken Croquettes Recipe
Prep Time: 4-6 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 5-7 hours
Servings: 24 croquettes
- 1 lb. duck breast, cooked, confit and pulled
- 1 lb. turkey, cooked, confit and pulled
- 3 1/2 oz. butter
- 1 cup demi-glace
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 4 Tbsp. crème fraiche
- 2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp. white miso
- 1/4 cup cream cheese
- 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 2 tsp. smoked soy
- 1 pinch chopped thyme
- 1 pinch chopped chives
- 1 pinch chopped parsley
- 1 pinch chopped oregano
- 1 lb. boiled white potatoes, mashed
- 4 oz. boiled speck
- 12 oz. scamorza cheese
- 4 eggs
- Canola oil, for frying
- Panko, for breading
- Rice flour, for breading
To make the rillette/croquette base
Combine the duck breast, turkey, butter, demi-glace, mayonnaise, crème fraiche, mustard, white miso, cream cheese, fish sauce, smoked soy, thyme, chives, parsley and oregano in a food processor, and pulse until desired consistency is achieved. It should look like a thick paste.
To make the croquettes
Combine the rillettes mixture with the mashed potatoes, speck and scamorza in a big mixing bowl.
Set up the breading station. Put one cup of rice flour in a shallow bowl. In a second bowl, gently beat the 4 eggs to make an egg wash. Add panko to a third bowl.
Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop the mixture into 2 oz. balls.
Dip the balls in the rice flour to coat well. Then dip the balls in the egg wash, and finally coat them in panko as the final breading step. Note: Mix crispy chicken skin into the panko, if possible.
Chill the balls in the fridge. When they are cold, fry them in canola oil in a deep-bottomed frying pan at medium-high heat until golden brown.
Remove from oil using a spider or slotted spoon. Top with a dot of your favorite cranberry sauce and serve.
Join America's Fastest Growing Spirits Newsletter THE SPILL. Unlock all the reviews, recipes and revelry — and get 15% off award-winning La Tierra de Acre Mezcal.