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.