I’m a huge fan of dinner parties more so than going to a loud bar. They’re my means to catch up with friends and meet new people in a comfortable environment. With the knowledge that yesterday I had off for President’s Day, I decided to invite a few friends over for dinner on Sunday.
Succotash is a traditional Native American dish with corn, lima beans, bear fat, and some form of meat (often DOG). However, I can’t easily access bear meat and eating dog is something I will never knowingly do. That being said, I had been trying to use a leftover duck and heirloom beans, so I made this dish my own.
I got the duck from Hong Kong Supermarket in Chinatown a few months ago for $10. I thawed it in a large bowl with water for 2 hours.
The heirloom beans were from a Napa farm called Rancho Gordo and were given to my roommate by a family friend from California. I haven’t seen them around Williamsburg except Brooklyn Kitchen ($6.99 a bag).
A few hours before I began cooking, I picked up a few new used vinyls, so they became the soundtrack for cooking: Chicago’s “II” (this album is a nice balance of jazzy, classical, and rock), Joe Cocker’s “Stingray” (stand out track was Dylan’s The Man In Me, which was arranged by Peter Tosh), The Moody Blues’ “Every good boy deserves favour” (what can I say, they’re the band my Dad spoon fed me as a child), and Stanley Clarke’s “Journey to Love” (features Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Jeff Beck, and Lenny White).
Now onto the recipe–
Soaking the beans
To cut down on the cooking and help kickstart the expansion process for the beans, you gotta soak them. Overnight or a minimum of 6 hours is preferred. Although, since this was a game time decision, I only soaked for 3 hours and it turned out just fine.
Clean out the skin and inside of the duck. Pat it down until dry. Sprinkle salt and pepper onto skin. I used the rack from my toaster oven and placed it over a medium roast pan. I added water to the pan before placing the duck on top.
I was going for pulled pork vibe for this dish, so I roasted the duck at 375° flipping sides every 30 minutes for anywhere from 2-3 hours depending on the size of the duck. Pay very close attention to the duck when you take it out to flip for the 4th and 5th time to make sure you’re not overcooking it.
Wait 15 minutes for duck to cool down and then cut off the meat. Pull apart the meat (if it’s been cooked properly this task should be fairly easy), place in grease pan, and wait for the beans to cook.
Boiling the beans
Once the beans have been soaked, rinse them off them place them into boiling water. I added some of the delicious duck grease to the water. Once adding the beans bring them back to boil then bring down the temperature to low medium. Depending on how you long soaked the beans and the kind of bean, they should take anywhere from 10-30 minutes. My beans were close to 20 minutes and wouldn’t have known they were cooked properly unless I tasted them a few times for correct softness. Strain the beans once they’re done cooking.
In the same pot I cooked the beans in, I added back the beans, pulled duck, salt, pepper, sauteed onions, fresh garlic, chilli flakes, a heavy portion of nutmeg, and a drizzle of olive oil. Stir everything together and you’re ready to serve.
I served this dish on top of brown rice with a side of sauteed yellow squash.