Thursday, January 30, 2014

Duck fat and Resolutions

New Year's is barely a month away and I'm already finding myself cheating on those promises I made (to myself). Cheating---not dropping---my resolve to maintain the weight loss I accomplished and hopefully, to loose a bit more.

Loosing resolve happens too easily when you cook for a living and it happens too easily when you love to eat. And it happens when I find myself with a pile of duck fat that is begging for rendering and potatoes longing for frying in hot oil.

What to do, what to do. You know the answer and so do I. Render that fat, enjoy the cracklins, fry the potatoes and eat! I did....without a bit of remorse.

Step #1---How to render duck fat:

Put the duck skin and fat in a deep heavy pot. Pour in enough cold water to just cover the fat and skin. Bring to a gentle boil and just let it go. No stirring needed. 

After one hour, the mess you started with will have turned into golden bits of crispy duck skin cracklins and a luscious deep amber liquid. Strain the liquid through a couple of layers of cheese cloth and drain the remaining cracklins on paper towel. Sprinkle them with a little salt while they're still warm. The duck fat----if it lasts that long----can be held (refrigerated---not frozen) for up to one year. 

In the beginning, an unappealing pot of raw skin, fat and water
About 20 minutes later, not looking much better...just let it keep going

After one hour, golden goodies. Sprinkle with a little salt and enjoy your cracklins.

The final reward. A few cups of amber goodness. The duck fat!

Step #2, Frying potatoes in duck fat:
serves 4 generously

  • 4 Idaho potatoes, scrubbed, skin left on and cut into thick fries
  • 1 cup of rendered duck fat
  • Maldon salt (or any other good finishing salt)
  • optional: 1 small sprig of fresh rosemary.
Soak the potatoes for about 30 minutes in cold water, rinse and pat dry.

Heat the oil to medium (350 degrees) and add the potatoes. Fry them for 5-6 minutes until they just begin to turn opaque. Remove to paper towels and let drain. Do this in batches if necessary. Don't crowd the pan. 

After all the potatoes have had their first fry, return them to the pan, in batches if necessary, with the optional spring of rosemary. Fry until golden, drain on paper towels, sprinkle with the salt and eat!

Strain the used duck fat through 2 layers of cheesecloth, cool and refrigerate. This used duck fat is good for 1 month.

Crispy duck fat fries.

Credits to others: My camera malfunctioned and I lost my own photos. I have shamelessly used pics I found on line and offer thanks to those who have generously made their own work available.