Our favorite annual tradition — dinner with friends the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Usually we spend Thursday morning on the road on the way to Annefield, and this year was no different — except for what we served that Thanksgiving day — a roasted duck.
We’ve never prepared duck before, and looking over different recipes noticed that each had you turning the duck periodically while cooking. Why bother if you have a rotisserie? And with the reverence held for duck fat, we chanced upon a preparation that called for using a rotisserie and roasting potatoes in the duck fat as it dripped underneath. So with visions of Peking duck in shop windows in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Alea iacta est (“the die is cast”), and that was what we had for Thanksgiving dinner.
The afternoon started on a really festive note. We joined our friends at Tranquil Hill in Halifax County for a decadent brunch of Eggs Benedict with Asparagus and these lovely rose-shaped muffins and decadent Bloody Mary’s.
In retrospect we’re feeling a bit spoiled at the moment, if exhausted from all the cleaning and putting away.
Roasted Duck with Roasted Potatoes.
- One 5 or 6 pound duck
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
- A handful of fresh thyme and rosemary
- 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered and salted
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Juice of one lime
- 6 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- The day before roasting the duck, liberally sprinkle it inside and out with salt and pepper; place in a dish uncovered in the refrigerator. (Note: all poultry benefits from this technique.)
- Remove the duck from the refrigerator about two hours before cooking to allow to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Mount duck on the rotisserie skewer. Juice the lime, and stuff the duck with the lime rinds, thyme and rosemary with the butter. Close up the opening using small skewers.
- Roast on the rotisserie for about 45 minutes, with a tray underneath to catch the fat. Add potatoes, and roast for an additional 45 minutes. Stir the potatoes every 15 minutes or so.
- Brush the glaze on the duck a couple of times, and allow it to cook an additional five minutes.
- Allow the duck to rest about 15 minutes. Add more glaze. Slice and serve with the potatoes.
One duck will serve two people generously.
As a break from all this richness, the next night we made pizzas while finishing preparations for Saturday’s meal.
At the appointed hour we greeted our dozen guests with a bourbon cocktail called a Jackrabbit — squeeze a dozen lemons, add the juice and the rinds to a bottle of bourbon (we used Buffalo Trace) with a cup of sugar, and let rest refrigerated overnight. We found it a bit too tart, and added a second bottle of bourbon the next day, which perfectly modulated the acid and the sugar. For a festive touch, we served them in sterling silver Julep cups over ice.
A friend brought these wonderful spiced cashews and prosciutto cups for passing, and dinner, in due course, was (of course) wonderful. We included a couple of reliable favorites (its less stressful to serve things you’ve already made) — a Slow Roasted Turkey, Creole Oyster Stuffing, a Marinated Beet and Berry Salad and a Pecan Chocolate Tart. We made a slight variation on the stuffing, substituting ground bison for the ground beef, and using shallots rather than garlic (we forgot to buy garlic but had plenty of shallots — the result was divine). This year we served on a mix of very old and new china, breaking out the 19th century Canton China for this special occasion.
Roasted Red Pepper Soup Shots with Spinach and Artichoke Phyllo Bites
Mont Marçal Brut Cava Reserva 2009
Marinated Beet and Berry Salad
Naje Riesling 2012
Slow Roasted Turkey
Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes with Milk and Butter
Brussels Sprouts and Celery Salad with Schezuan Peppercorns
Green Bean Casserole
Sweet Potato Casserole
Dried Fruit Compote
Rolls with Herbed Butter
Domaine Lafage Nicolas Grenache Noir 2013
Lemon Meringue Pie
Pecan Chocolate Tart with Whipped Cream
Sweet Potato Pie
Ramos Pinto Collector Porto Reserva