Tonight, on Birthday Eve, Nancy and I cooked duck.
Two, to be exact. (Minny, before she was sauced, is pictured here.)
I know there were many who wanted to be at the duck table, and don’t worry, you will be invited in the future. But it was only appropriate that for the first time I prepare duck, I do it with my most constant and trusty cooking partner.
For some reason, we thought two ducks were necessary. Perhaps it was that our table hosted three adults and seven children. Perhaps it was fear that not enough meat would come off just one carcass. Nancy’s boyfriend even brought ribs for the kids, in case they didn’t want duck. Let’s just say, he’s got a lot of leftover pork and Christmas Eve dinner will feature a duck ragu.
We had to remain true to Julia Child and therefore make her Canard a l’Orange. That recipe calls for a duck in the oven, so for the second duck, we sought a recipe that could be rendered on the stove top. From Jacques Pepin, we found skillet roasted duck with parsnips and shallots.
Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs. But it was the best Birthday Eve dinner ever.
No good meal is complete without phenomenal wine pairings. We started with the Iron Horse Golden Gate Cuvee. And because kitchen prep was taking longer than we anticipated, we then went to the Iron Horse Wedding Cuvee. But for dinner, Nancy brought two bottles of Chateauneuf du Pape, the perfect duck companion. The wine did not disappoint.
I’m so full I can barely move. But I’m already running through ways to improve upon what we did tonight. For starters, focusing on just one duck. And preparing that duck medium rare. (Tonight, both ducks, though flavorful, were unfortunately more on the medium to medium well side.) I’d love to try duck confit. Duck cracklings are my new favorite crispy snack.
Let’s just say, this was not the last time duck will appear at my table. I just might not make so much of it next time.