Many weeks back some friends of ours in Brooklyn had invited a dozen people to share Thanksgiving with them. We were very happy to be included, but our hosts’ plans had to be canceled only days before the event because of a death in the family. Our fallback was to prepare a dinner at home. Unable to find guests at such short notice who were not already committed elsewhere, we had to re-think our favorite harvest féte as a much smaller affair than we would have preferred.
I would probably have eschewed turkey even if we had guests, but since if seemed we were going to be only two at dinner, I tried to think of an alternative which might be as appropriate as the archetypal American turkey but taste even better. I picked out a small Muscovy Duck, or Canard de Barbarie [original to South and Central America] at Ottomanelli‘s on Monday. Today, Thursday, with a few appropriate “trimmings”, it did its special magic, introducing a hint of “the wild” into a very domestic holiday.
In the end the main course at least turned out to be more French than American. But, upholding one of the traditions of the day, we did manage to have some leftovers, although the vegetables were not among them.
- a potage assembled from pumpkin, apple cider and red onion, served dribbled with cider syrup
- wine: Boyer Brut Blanc de Blancs from Sherry-Lehmann [although Eleonora Riesling Halbtrocken, from our stock of sparkling Mosels, by Christoph von Nell would probably have been better with the earthy sweetness of this dish]
- Muscovy duck [canard de Barbarie] roasted on a bed of cut-up carrots, celery and onion, with a pan sauce made from the reduced cooking juices; accompanied by turnips from Healthway Farms in the Union Square Greenmarker, braised in butter [navets à l’étuvée] and finished with drops of lemon and chopped parsley; and sauteed yellow-stem chard [bette à carde] from Lani’s Farm, also in the Greenmarket, finished with oil and lemon
- wine: a very nice Pomerol, Chateau Vray Croix de Gay [awesome name!] 2006, a terrific bargain purchased on line from K&D Wines and Spirits, in a very good Bordeaux sale
- mince pie from Windy Maples Farm at the Union Square Greenmarket, served with a dollop of Ciao Bella vanilla gelato