Difficult main dishes are often not so much a matter of being overly complex to prepare, but rather just very time consuming to complete. Some main dishes need extensive chopping and prep work, while others have many steps that could mean the cook has to start the recipe several days before actually serving it. Timpano, chile en nogada, turducken and cheese souffle can all be considered difficult dishes to prepare in some way.
The only really tough thing about making a cheese souffle is making sure that it rises in the oven instead of falling flat. The egg whites in the batter have to be beaten to the proper stiffness so that the structure of the baked souffle will hold together. Also, the cheese has to be well-grated since any large chunks may fall to the bottom of the delicate souffle.
Turducken is an elaborate, roasted poultry dish thought to be of Louisiana Cajun origin. It consists of a turkey stuffed with a duck which is then stuffed with a chicken. Turducken is considered one of the most difficult main dishes because the amount of preparation time needed could be up to fifteen hours. Some of the bones of the birds have to be carefully removed before roasting so that another bird can fit into the cavity. An herb rub and bread or other stuffing also needs to be prepared and then added to the birds before roasting.
The Mexican stuffed pepper dish chile en nogada may be considered one of the most difficult main dishes to make only because of the many ingredients and steps involved. The cook must start several days ahead by first washing, roasting and then cleaning out the insides of poblano peppers. Many ingredients such as onions, plantains and apples have to be chopped. In addition to a ground beef-based filling, a walnut sauce must be made. Some chile en nogada recipes call for the additional steps of preparing a batter and deep frying the poblano chile peppers.
The traditional Italian dish timpano also has many ingredients and steps. If ingredients such as meatballs, hardboiled eggs and pasta aren't prepared ahead, timpano can be extremely time-consuming to make. Yet, timpano is often one of those difficult main dishes that is well worth the effort because it can also make a great centerpiece on the table. Timpano is multi-layered, rounded and filled with layers of cheese, pasta, meatballs and tomato sauce between layers of dough. The baked timpano is sliced for serving.