Mr & Mrs Burghound Duck Curry Banquet

The Duck Curry Global Migration journeys to Portland, Oregon, USA with Mr & Mrs Burghound enjoying a Duck Banquet with friends

Mr & Mrs Burghound Duck Banquet - The Whole Duck

In November 2011, I received an email from our friend Curtis Marsh (Wandering Palate) with a request to participate in the “The Duck Curry Global Migration.”  Among the instructions were that we share the experience with some friends and document the occasion with photos and a write up – and info on where the duck was sourced from.  And the easiest of all of the instructions was that we were “encouraged” to “drink pinot noir with your duck curry and let us know the actual wine, and its merits or personal appraisal of how it paired.”

Sometime after that a bottle of the very special curry powder arrived at our home in Los Angeles and I started “Mission:  Duck Curry Migration”.

First, I needed the chef.  And not just any chef but someone who I know is adventurous, a great sport, loves a kitchen challenge and who we would enjoy sharing the experience with.  While Allen is himself a great chef, I knew his time was limited.  So I had two choices:  Chris Eber, a good friend residing in West Linn, Oregon; or Pat Dukes, another good friend (and owner of Dukes Family Vineyards with his wife Jackie), residing in Amity, Oregon.  Both are amazing chefs, both have vast kitchen gardens with a huge variety of herbs and veggies, and both are up to the challenge – and it was a huge plus that they love pinots and burgundies!  I settled on Chris because Allen and I attend the IPNC each year in Oregon, and we started a tradition of a Wednesday dinner at Chris and Liz Eber’s home before the IPNC starts (coincidentally that event is bookended by a fabulous brunch spread at the Dukes’ home as we are leaving Oregon after the IPNC!).

Motivational cooking music

I sent Chris the recipe, curry powder and instructions and he enthusiastically pounced on the challenge.  He started researching where to source the best duck from.  He knew he didn’t need to make his own duck, and could purchase an excellent roast duck from the local Asian community of markets in Portland.  He settled on Legion Restaurant for the duck where he pre-ordered and purchased two whole roasted ducks – head and all.  He also needed to acquire several of the ingredients including coconut milk, Kaffir lime leaves, Thai basil (although regular basil works he wanted to be authentic to the recipe), baby Kai Lan and Thai fish sauce.  He did use fresh pineapple (vs. tin).

Mr and Mrs Burghound Duck Curry

As suggested by Curtis in the instructions, Chris did in fact play Led Zeppelin loud.  In fact, he got through Zeppelin I, II, III and IV (the actual process took a couple of hours)!  He chose not to drink as also suggested until the task was complete!  He did turn the provided curry power into a paste before commencing as instructed.   The recipe was simple, according to Chris, with the longest time element being the cutting of the duck.  He did make the recipe the day before and when I arrived at the Eber home on Tuesday, he had just finished the main process and the dish looked and smelled wonderful – we even compared the look of the dish to the photo provided by Curtis and it was a spot on match.

WEDNESDAY:  Chef Pat Dukes joined Chef Chris Eber in the morning to finish the curry dish (later adding the vegetables and basil), and also make accompanying dishes, appetizers and more.  Chris decided it will be an “All Duck All the Time” menu and add some additional duck dishes to the dinner.

Afternoon:  More prep work; the Kai Lan was torn in anticipation of being sautéed in olive oil with garlic.  The Thai Basil was finely chiffonade.

Duck Eggs Benedict

(Also Allen and our son Christopher arrived via Los Angeles after Allen’s recent return from Burgundy).

Appetizers:  Wild Boar Kabasa* topped with stone ground honey mustard and sautéed with pea shoots

Prince of Wales Island freshly caught salmon tartar

Foie gras Sauternes terrine* on toast points

2002 Dom Perignon and 1998 Krug

First course:  Duck egg benedict* salad with hollandaise sauce and crispy crumbled duck prosciutto

2002 and 2003 Bouchard Père et Fils Corton-Charlemagne

Second course:  Foie gras club* on toasted brioche, with fig jam.  Served with duck fat braised fennel slaw.

1997 S.A. Huet Vouvray Cuvée Constance

2002 and 2003 Bouchard Père et Fils Corton-Charlemagne

Main course:  Duck Curry, wild rice with morels, and sautéed Kai Lan

1993 Chapelle-Chambertin and 1995 Chambertin-Clos de Bèze, Domaine Pierre Damoy

Cheese course*:  Epoisses, Huntsman Long Clawson Dairy, Up in Smoke Rivers Edge Chèvre, St. Agur blue, Pierre Robert Rouzaire

1993 Ramonet Bâtard-Montrachet

Since one of our assignments was:  “drink pinot noir with your duck curry and let us know the actual wine, and its merits or personal appraisal of how it paired”, here is what Allen Meadows “Burghound” had to say about the pairing of the two red burgundies selected for the Duck Curry course:

1993 Chapelle-Chambertin and 1995 Chambertin-Clos de Bèze, Domaine Pierre Damoy

1993 Chapelle-Chambertin and 1995 Chambertin-Clos de Bèze, Domaine Pierre Damoy

At first blush, a pairing of fine red burgundy with a curry dish wouldn’t be anyone’s first choice but in this case, not only did it work but it worked well for several diverse reasons.  The first, and most important, is that the spice component was not too pronounced.  Second, there was enough fat in the dish to partially buffer the spice, much in the same way that the fat in salmon, tuna, mackerel or yellowtail works to temper the wasabi and soy sauce.  Third I chose vintages that were quite structured to begin with and even though they are coming up on 20 years of age, they still are quite vibrant.  This was important because with the natural richness of the curried duck, it was important that there be enough acidity to cut the succulence.  Lastly, I not only selected vintages that are still energetic but also selected terroirs that naturally produce robust flavors so as to have no problem marrying with the full-bodied nature of the dish.  In both cases I found the pairing to be quite complementary as it allowed the more subtle nuances of flavor to be savored and appreciated.  All in all, a terrific experience!  Allen Meadows – aka Burghound

Not a bad line-up

The entire meal was a great success.  We again thank Chris Eber and Pat Dukes for all they put into making it a most memorable meal and evening; and also to our gracious hostess Liz Eber.

What a treat!


Chef and photographer Chris Eber

Clockwise from left: Liz Eber, Erica Meadows, Pat Dukes, Lauren Eber, Tom Dukes, Allen Meadows, Jackie Dukes, and Chris Meadows


By Curtis Marsh | Media Gallery | Related to: , , |

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