I had the day off yesterday, and since it was a Thursday in November, I decided to make Thanksgiving in Prague. Here goes…
The first store did not have any turkeys, no problem, so we just get the ducks that they did have. We picked one out, and since we were expecting company, it looked a bit small so we bought two ducks. We bought two ducks! Only after having paid for them did we even stop to consider they might not be able to fit into the oven. But we do, we have quite a luxurious oven.
So at this point, it was already 10 am, and we had two frozen ducks on our hands. We placed them in the oven on defrost mode and after an hour, realized, that there had been cold air blowing on the ducks the whole time, doing absolutely nothing for the defrosting. Time to think…and guess what our brains came up with; one duck went into a plastic bag and into the bathroom sink which we filled with hot water and let the faucet run hot water. The other duck just sat on the counter in a big bowl.
The second most important part of Thanksgiving is the pie. Pumpkin and cheesecake. Ok, I admit, cheesecake isn’t the typical dessert, abut I’ll use any excuse to make it, and then of course eat it.
First obstacle-there is no pumpkin puree in Czech, so I had to use a real pumpkin. Bake, scrape, mix, blend. Yum. This part turned out to be quite easy, because we just bought a mixer last week, so making the pumpkin pie mixture was easy. What we did not have is a pie baking dish.
Second obstacle-what to bake the pumpkin pie in? I have this glass baking dish with a lid. So I made pumpkin pie in the lid of the baking dish and the cheesecake went into the bottom part. The pies came out perfectly…the only strange part was that the baking dish is oval so the pies were a bit lopsided. Try cutting that into equal slices.
At this point, the pies were ready, the stuffing made…but the turkey duck still frozen. We had already given up on the one on the counter and put our faith in the one in the sink. All the waiting made us so tired that we fell asleep. We had a frozen duck in the sink with hot water pouring over it and we went to sleep!
We were woken up by a text message from our friends saying they were going to have to skip dinner because of unexpected changes in their work schedule. That left two whole ducks and two people. Our calculations went wrong somewhere. So we shaved down our plans…no other side dishes, just duck, stuffing and cranberries and pie.
A couple of friends came by for coffee and pie, so at least we took a good chunk out of those…. And we got to eat dessert before dinner. The concept of pumpkin in a pie is quite strange for the locals here, but unless they were just being polite, they seemed to like it.
At 1:30 I pulled out the frozen gizzards and stuffed the bird full, covered it completely in aluminum foil
(I did think of buying a plastic baking bag, but when I started asking people about it, they looked at me like I was crazy, so I dropped that idea quite quickly)
and shoved it into the oven for 3.5 hours.
5 pm and I was carving duck! We conquered half the duck, stuffing, ½ a bottle of white wine and were just about ready to go back to bed. But being Thanksgiving, and being truly grateful that we thawed the duck, we went to church for mass. Coming home, it started snowing very lightly. Stuffed and satisfied, we headed home, only to realize, that we still had a whole duck and half a duck sitting on our counter and no idea what to do with it.