What’s the best thing about making duck for dinner? The leftover duck fat. At least, so says The Mouse.
What’s even better? Using that fat to fry potatoes. Mmmm, mmm, mmm. Right now, I’m not sure you could convince me there’s a more delicious thing on the planet.
So, last week, I made a couple of duck breasts glazed with a raspberry and blood-orange pan sauce (recipe forthcoming).
The skin was crispy, the sauce was juicy and fragrant, the meat was succulent (and cooked to about medium…not rare, like many do).
The whole thing was super yummy, but I’m embarrassed to say that I was almost more excited about what was left in the pan: spoonfuls of gloriously rich duck fat.
Duck fat provides an excellent flavor base for lots of things.
Hands down, though, my all-time favorite thing to do with it is use it to fry potatoes. (If you ever get to Portland, Maine, stop in to Duck Fat, one of my folks’ favorite restaurants, and you’ll see what I mean.)
Oh simple potato, you don’t know what you’ve got coming!
Like the first part of my “One Potato, Two-Potato” series, Cognac-Laced Potato Cream Soup, this is definitely a once-in-a-while treat. (Diet food, it’s not.)
If you don’t have any duck fat on hand, bacon fat would work really well in this recipe, too.
Wait, wait…where do I get the duck fat?
To state the obvious, ducks are really fatty birds. When you cook a duck, typically a recipe will instruct you to prick the duck’s skin all over, to make the fat render more readily.
As the duck cooks, it will let off copious amounts of the stuff. Simply skim that fat off and save it in a jar in the fridge. (Strain it through some cheesecloth, if you like, to remove any little browned bits.) This is mine:
If you don’t have the time, patience, or inclination to cook a duck, the good folks at D’Artagnan sell a 7-oz. tub of duck fat for $3.99.
But, isn’t duck fat bad for you?
Well, that’s up to you.
According to D’Artagnan, duck fat is low in saturated fat and has a good mix of poly and monosaturated fats. That makes it more similar to olive oil than to butter.
Of course, all that said, it is still fat.
Duck Fat Hash Browns
1 1/2 cups potato, cut into small dice
1/2 small onion, cut into small dice
1 1/2 tsp. duck fat
1 sprig of thyme
freshly cracked black pepper
Serves 1 as a large side, or 2 for a smaller portion
Duck Fat Hash Browns: Prep your veggies
Cut your potatoes and onions into a small-ish dice, like this (for scale, that’s the tip of my 10-inch chef’s knife):
Duck Fat Hash Browns: Fry the veggies
Measure out your duck fat and put it in a non-stick pan on top of the stove.
Set the heat to medium-high to melt the fat.
Toss in the diced potato and onion.
Sprinkle on some fresh thyme, kosher salt, and pepper to taste. I deliberately didn’t use any garlic so as to not obscure the flavor of the duck fat.
Stir to coat them well with duck fat. Fry over medium-high heat for a few minutes�without stirring�until they’re golden brown on the bottom, like this:
When the bottoms are browned, stir them around.
Continue to fry them like this, stirring occasionally, until they’re the same golden brown on all sides.
You want them to go from looking like this:
To looking like this:
Duck Fat Hash Browns: Serve & enjoy!
When the hash browns are golden brown on all sides, give one a taste. It should be cooked through. If it’s not, drop the heat a bit and continue to fry, stirring occasionally, until they’re soft throughout.
Serve and enjoy!
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Copyright 2008-2009 The Hungry Mouse�/Jessica B. Konopa. All rights reserved.