Firm plump breasts

If you have never prepared duck breasts, you will find them extremely firm and plump. They are also quite fatty. I managed to render over 3 cups of duck fat from breasts I prepared Monday night. (And yes, I saved the fat, much to Sofia's dismay, it is sitting in the fridge. I used some tonight when I prepared Turkey a la king - using it to sauté the onions).

Unlike my mother, who always prepared the same traditional dishes Christmas Eve, I always try to prepare something new. Sometimes it is successful, others times it is not. I think my worst failure was an almond rice I prepared a few years ago. It called for amaretto extract - it was overwhelming and quite disgusting (sadly, we had guests that year. oops).

This year we started with potato, pear and leek soup. Which I thought was very good. My kids disagreed.

This was followed with crab cakes. With more disagreement from the kids.

The main course was duck breasts in red wine (I used a very nice sweet Peruvian wine, but I think it would have been better with a dry wine, but we had none), with basmati rice and horrible frozen vegetables (I am never buying that brand again - a local store brand). Again, my kids had disagreement with me over the food. This happens most times I cook, since I am always willing to try new stuff. Last Christmas I had prepared quail and they didn’t want to eat that either. sigh.

Dessert went better; it was trifle, with lots of fruit and jello (and some of that nice red wine). The only thing I didn't like about the trifle was the watermelon flavoured jello I had used (Jason insisted). Sorry, but watermelon flavour didn't go well with it.

Later in the evening, we had hot chocolate with Panettone (for a decadent breakfast, substitute slices of Panettone for bread when making French Toast).


b said…
Were you going for the shock value with that title?! :) This sounds like a great meal. I like the idea of experimenting but in my family, it seems we usually stick with traditional meals (lest someone should be disappointed or worse, actually enjoy something new!) on holidays. Speaking of quail, I had an amazing stuffed quail a couple of weeks ago. It was stuffed with cornbread and served with a wonderful sauce and sweet potatoes! Yum. I like the sound of that potato, pear, and leek soup. Your own recipe?
Richard said…
breal: if I was going for shock value, I would have begun something akin to: "I couldn't believe how firm and plump the breasts felt in my hands." There may have been some cheekiness in my title choice.

You can find the potato, leek and pear soup on the internet. I was looking for potato & leek, but came across one with pears in it as well.

Traditions are great when they ground us, but they are a hindrance when the stifle us.
b said…
Yes, I'm happy to hear that you do recognize that the title is somewhat cheeky indeed! :) And that alternate title would have really made me fall out of my chair!! :)

I might look for that recipe, thank you.

I like what you say about traditions here and very much agree!
carra said…
Well my husband an I do the same for Christmas (or Yuletide as we call it now) every year. First Christmas together we had all Lithuanian stuff because he wanted to try, next year we had English Christmas, then Goose and everything we could come up with (we both enjoy cooking and experimenting) last year we had French Christmas with goose liver foie gras and 144 oysters and other see food. This year I prepared a lovely roast chicken breast, because we couldn't splash out. Next year I am intending to have big fat Christmas with definitely something new! I love the idea of having something different every year as for almost eighteen years I had the same crap year in year out nothing new...
Richard said…
breal: yeah, I not totally oblivious to everything I say and write.

It is a good soup. Though Sofia was not too crazy about it because she finds mixing sweet (the pear) with salty (the potatoes and leek) wierd.

carra: my mother always prepared the same every Christmas Eve. The food was good and I enjoyed it, but when I got married and started my own family, I thought it best to create new traditions (which, from the kids' point of view seems to be "wierd and yucky food for dinner").

For me, it has to be special and I think trying out new dishes fits into that category.

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