What the duck? Buttermilk Channel gives us its meatloaf recipe

What the duck? Buttermilk Channel gives us its meatloaf recipe
Photo by Tom Callan

You only wish your mama made meatloaf like this.

Buttermilk Channel, the popular American bistro on Court Street, may not have been the first to jump on the elevated comfort food bandwagon, but a dish like Ryan Angulo’s duck meatloaf with creamy ginger parsnips provides the best example of the trend.

“It was supposed to be just an occasional blue-plate special,” said Angulo, the head chef. “But we quickly realized they were going to be way too popular. So they had to stay.”

It was a good call; the duck meatloaf is far and away one of the most ordered items on the menu, selling upwards of 150 plates a week.

“It started out as just a regular meatloaf — ground beef, carrots, I think I threw some ketchup in there,” remembers Angulo. “It was really tasty and simple, but then I started to think of ways to refine it. I took out the ketchup, of course. I swapped the carrots for raisins. I threw in some thyme and parsley. And the beef became duck. It gives the meatloaf a more delicate, but richer, flavor.

“It also allows me to present duck in a way that is more accessible to customers,” added Angulo.

Accessible, but no less impressive. Angulo’s approach harkens back to techniques he learned at Picholine, a three-star restaurant in Manhattan.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t make it yourself, you know.

Buttermilk Channel [524 Court St. at Huntington Street in Carroll Gardens, (718) 852-8490].

Duck Meatloaf

From Buttermilk Channel

Serves four

1 pound ground duck meat

4 ounces ground duck fat

1/2 cup minced onion (cooked)

1/4 cup chopped raisins

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

2 tbls. parsley, chopped

1-1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg

1 tbls. chopped thyme

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients. Portion into four equal-sized patties. Sear on medium heat and transfer to the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Creamy Parsnip Puree

1 parsnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

2 cups whole milk

Zest of one orange

2 pieces star anise


Combine parsnip, milk, and star anise in a small pot. Make sure parsnip is just covered with milk. Cook parsnip till tender.

Strain parsnip reserving liquid. Remove star anise and transfer parsnip to a blender or food processor. Add orange zest and process till smooth using as much reserved liquid as needed. Season with salt.

Crispy onions

1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tbls. black pepper


Oil for frying

Separate onions into rings and soak in buttermilk. Mix flour and black pepper together. Remove onions from buttermilk and dredge in flour/pepper mixture.

Heat oil to 350 degrees. Fry onions in batches till golden brown. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.