Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Braised duck

Eastside Road, December 19, 2012—
BOY, WHAT A DELICIOUS dinner. I like pork, lamb, and beef; I like antelope and goat. Of the fish there are several I would not want to give up: cod, tuna, anchovies, all those flat things in the North Sea.

And then there's poultry. Well, chicken, of course; there are many fine things to be done with chicken: fried, roasted, … well, I guess that's about it. There are the distinctions between young ones and old ones; pullets, roasters, stewing hens, coq au vin of course. Capons: but when did I last feast on a capon?

Pigeons have their place; also quail — we had quail just the other day, and it was superb. Pheasant: haven't had one in years. Peacock: ditto.

But when it really comes down to it, there are two birds I particularly gravitate toward: goose and duck. I'm thinking we'll roast a goose next week; it seems the right thing to do. Tonight, though, we feasted on duck — braised duck legs, to be precise — and there are few finer things in the world to eat, to my way of thinking, especially on nights like these — it's already down to twenty-five degrees at our gate.

We went down the hill to the neighbors' house for dinner, and there Eric braised this duck. He cooked it in chicken stock with liberal amounts of porcini mushrooms, and chopped carrots, leeks, and celery. It was cooked in this black iron pan, in the wood stove that heats the dining room. It was finished atop the stove, mainly I think to fill the room with its irresistable aroma.

Afterward, chestnuts, roasted in the same stove; for dessert, brutti ma buoni, house made, and an orange-flavored tea cake, and a glass of very healthful eggnog.

Cabernet sauvignon, "Claret," Black Label Series, Francis Coppola, 2002: mature, closed, woody (thanks, Kendall);
Petite Syrah, Preston of Dry Creek, 2009: full, good varietal, forward

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