Duck Puck

Winter holidays vanished like the birds of summer, and for a fleeting weeknight I caught friends going in opposite directions on overlapping layovers.  Jeff and Grant were just in from Sydney; Bob and Michael, about to fly home to San Francisco.  In honor of our great migrations and tired wings: duck.

This recipe came from the newspaper.  The new Frank Bruni (a misnomer) recently rounded up the highlights of his first five months as the Times’ restaurant critic, and made the very thoughtful inclusion of recipes, adapted from the restaurants’ own files, for salivating readers (like me) who would inevitably want the duck meatloaf from Buttermilk Channel in Brooklyn right on the same plate as ribbons of pommes aligot from Minetta Tavern, in Greenwich Village.

By my calculations, each of these little patties had about 19 grams of duck fat.   Grant, the leading exponent of the year-round swimtrunks diet, unwittingly polished off two without asking.

Our spin: swap chopped misison figs for the golden raisins; sub ground chicken for half the duck; add chopped oyster mushrooms.

Adapted from the NYT adaptation of Buttermilk Channel’s duck meatloaf.

1.  Mix well: 1 pound ground duck, 8 oz. ground duck fat, 1 pound ground
chicken, 2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley, 2 Tbsp. chopped thyme, 3
tsp. salt, 2 tsp. ground black pepper, 1 cup toasted panko, and three
medium or two large lightly-beaten eggs.

2.  Saute: 1 1/4 cups diced onion and 3/4 cup chopped oyster mushrooms
in 2 Tbsp. canola oil, until onions are lightly caramelized.  Deglaze
pan with a splash of white wine, e.g. Gewurztraminer.  Let cool.

3.  Combine: duck mixture and onion mixture, and form into 12 patties.
(I used a 3″-diameter cookie cutter.)

4.  Sear: patties, four at a time, over medium-high heat, 30 seconds on
each side.

5.  Bake, 400 degrees: patties, until internal temperature registers 165
degrees on a meat thermometer.

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