Friday, November 29, 2013

A Modest Dinner

With the likelihood of not being here in 70,000 years when the next confluence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving occurs, my buddy and I had a suitable dinner. We both agreed that turkey was not inspiring either of us, and we both like duck, so with that in mind we prepared. Last week I got two ducks, frozen. After thawing for 4 days in the fridge I put them in a brine on Tuesday. Wednesday I delivered them to David for smoking, then yesterday they were baked and served.

They turned out so good I thought I'd share the recipe. 

First, the brine:
I used a 5 gallon stainless steel pot, probably 4 gallons of water, to which I added:
1.5 cups kosher salt
several cloves of mashed garlic
soy sauce, maybe .5 cup
fresh sage, oregano, rosemary and thyme, chopped 
.5 cup red wine vinegar
about 2 tablespoons of Tom Ka Gai soup paste my daughter gave me (adds a Thai spin)

The ducks sat in it for 24 hours, sitting on my cold back porch. (note: a buddy of mine did a similar thing last year near here, he put the container in his back yard overnight and made a black bear very happy)

I cut some alder branches for the smoking wood, David smoked them for 16 hours at around 120f. 

When finished smoking, they went into a 475f oven for 20 minutes, then sat out to rest. 

Accompanying the ducks at dinner were latkes, local potatoes shredded with the usual egg and flour, also as a nod to the Southwest, some of the hatch chilis I had a run in with earlier in the year, fried in a cast iron skillet. Green beans, steamed then sauteed with various herbs and duck fat, a sourdough Challah with poppy seed crust, cranberry with port wine, and it was washed down with a nice Malbec. 

Full though we were, we were obligated to have a piece of my squash and ginger pie:

We talked about our kids and times past, the time we made them go camping on thanksgiving and cooked a turkey in a dutch oven, and the 40 years we've known each other. We missed the kids, but, as David reflected, "at least we didn't have to make them a separate pie". 



  1. Your meal looks and sounds wonderful. You and David spent the day in the best way - good food and drink with good friends, recalling good times.

    (WV is ssatedD - how appropriate!)

  2. Hope your thanksgiving was a good one, Martha.

    1. It was. Not the way we usually do things, but it was good.