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A Right Royal Feast

No one knows for sure how many Mallorcan families had an authentic Rostit Reial roast for their Christmas dinner this year, if any, but, I am assured that the royally stuffed turkey did exist not all that many years ago (see Andreu Manresa’s Crónica de Baleares, El País, December 26th, 2010). You may know the Rostit Reial (Asado Real in Castellano) by the term of Turducken, a dish not dissimilar to the Yorkshire Christmas Pie, an English dish served in the 18th century, consisting of five different birds either layered or nested, and baked in a standing crust.

In Mallorca, the traditional Rostit Reial is a recipe that involves stuffing a turkey with a guinea fowl, which is stuffed with a partridge, which in turn is stuffed with a tordo (thrush). Can’t be done, you say? Well, it can. The trick is that the birds have to be deboned to fit one into another. Also, according to señor Manresa, the Baroque style feast will need to be slow-cooked at low temperatures for at least twelve hours. I must confess that I have never eaten one of those delights but, I would like to, one day.

Apparently, Alexandre Balthazar Laurent Grimod de la Reynière (1758-1837) published a similar recipe in his L’Almanach des Gourmands on an even more elaborate level, including the consecutive stuffing in descending order of bustard, turkey, goose, pheasant, chicken, duck, guinea fowl, teal, woodcock, partridge, plover, lapwing, quail, thrush, lark, ortolan bunting, garden warbler, along with olives, anchovies and capers. What a banquet.

You may well think that I am having you on. After all, it is the Día de los Santos Inocentes today, here in Spain, a day when it is customary to send friends and readers up the garden path, similar to our April Fool’s Day practice. Well, I am not sending you nowhere. The information given above is true and correct on any day of the year. Trust me.

The photo (top) was taken near Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: December 18th, 2010. The time was 13:09:32. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of and Matt Bolus. Thank you very much.

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December 2010


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