Thursday, December 26, 2013

On Non-Boring Christmas Dinners and Roasted Waterfowl

Duck in Progress
Man, the older I get the more quickly time really does fly. I still kind of can't believe that Thanksgiving has already come and gone, yet here we are on the day after Christmas. Cooking Christmas dinner was a fantastic mixture of fun and tiring as usual. That's what the holidays are really about to me though. There's genuinely nothing I'd rather do on Christmas Day than cook and enjoy a wonderful meal with loved ones.

Seth and I have really warmed up to this idea of having alternative roasting birds for Christmas dinner ever since we roasted our first duck the year before last. I know a lot of people just wind up cooking another turkey, but for me personally, the "time flies" factor makes Christmas feel a little soon for a repeat of something that generates a good two weeks' worth of leftovers. I always feel like we just had turkey... and roasted potatoes, summer squash, pumpkin pie, and all the rest of the things that tend to be Thanksgiving staples in our household. Having the same things for Christmas just feels really anticlimactic and a little boring.

Finished and Perfectly Roasted Bird
That's exactly why we were just so happy to be able to snag a duck for Christmas dinner. A lot of people seem to have the same exact idea about Christmas food that we do, because even though we tend to see ducks, geese, and other such things in the stores around the holidays, they disappear again super quickly. If you want one, you really need to grab it when you see it and sock it away in your freezer or something until the holiday gets here... and that's exactly what we did.

As you can see, the duck roasted up wonderfully and made us a really nice Christmas dinner. It was stuffed with a combination of apple, onion, orange, tangerine, and a multitude of herbs. We basted it with a little Burgundy a couple of times throughout the cooking process as well. We also tried to mix things up a little bit when it came to the sides. I made spicy duck gravy, olive oil and herb smashed red potatoes, habanero-serrano bread stuffing, sauteed broccoli-carrot medley, and steamed asparagus. It was fantastic!

I have to say I really like this idea of keeping with the tradition of roasting some kind of bird for Christmas and having stuffing, potatoes, and veggies as sides... but making some different choices or putting some new twists on things. It freshens things up and makes it feel like it's not just a Thanksgiving rewind, but it still feels like a "special", traditional, and festive meal as well. Next year, we're thinking we might want to do a prime rib for the first time. Or a capon, a goose, anything really. The possibilities are endless.
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