A Chanukah Without Latkes . . .

First let me come out and state that I bear no hardship towards the latke.  I love latkes we even have an amazing latke recipe that I bought potatoes for, anticipating making them.

This year however, in Oma’s memory, I wanted to eat duck.  Let’s be clear, I never ATE Oma’s duck, or more often goose as a child.  The prospect of eating a weird bird that did not come in nugget form was completely unappealing.

I do however remember that come December Oma was on the hunt for her bird.  My dad often aided and abetted, going to the old German butcher, and at the time, I thought that Oma was buying the duck/goose for Christmas.  This wouldn’t have been such a stretch there were many German Christmas delicacies in her house shtolen and lebkuchen in particular.

However, earlier this year, someone told me that eating duck/goose on Chanukah is a Yeckish minhag.  The idea is to eat an oily bird to commemorate the miracle of the oil.  Now a more adventurous eater, this was a custom, while I’m not sure I would embrace, I was at least enthusiastic about trying once.  I asked our local butcher if he could get duck and he said he keeps them in the freezer downstairs all the time (note to neighbors) and it’s a hot seller.

The duck was somewhat more expensive than I expected and when I brought it home Eli and I decided that it was important not to waste one single bit of this potential delicacy.  The problem with that was that neither Eli nor I had ever cooked duck at all.  Since I was completely un-interested in eating it until this year I certainly didn’t have Oma’s recipe.  We (Eli) spent a week researching how to use it and the next week (Chanukah) breaking it down and cooking it for shabbos.

In the end here’s how we broke it down:

Breasts – Sous Vide then seared with Orange Sauce

Legs – Cured then slow cooked until shabbos lunch.  Pulled and put on salad.

Skin – Fat rendered out and then fried into duck croutons, also known as gribenes.

Bones – Duck soup

The skin and the legs, and some of the left over orange sauce from the sauce were featured in this amazing salad, which was, hands down the best I have ever eaten.


Those interested in the recipes, they appears on the Lansey Brothers Blog.

Will we do it again next year?  Honestly I’m not sure, while it was a unique and delicious treat, it WAS a lot of work, and I really do like latkes.  It was certainly something worth doing once.

Also, we’re taking suggestions with what to do with the rendered duck fat, the only bit that’s left.


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