I've recently become intrigued with duck, perhaps because it's readily available at the local grocery stores. I don't remember seeing duck at DC-area Giants and Safeways.
I made duck for the first time this past Christmas. It was pretty tasty. Today I made it again. I bought two half-ducks and used a combination of recipes I found online (seriously, I don't know why I even own so many cookbooks). I was interested in wasting as little of the duck as possible, so I decided to render my own duck fat. (I learned how to do this on the Internet too).
So I started with the left over fat from the duck. This is the skin and fat remaining after our dinner:
I also had this:
The recipe I used called for steaming the duck in a steamer basket set into a pot of several inches of water. I put the steaming water into the fridge overnight, and the drippings solidified and became the solid white mass, about 1/4 of an inch thick, that you see above.
I put the skin and the white solid fat into a saute pan and filled it with about 3/4 an inch of water. I set the stove to the lowest heat setting as I had read online. That turned out not to be nearly hot enough, so I raised it to 3.
After 30 minutes, I had this:
I decided at that point that maybe I should have cut the fat up smaller, so I fished it out and did just that. After a total of 55 minutes of cooking time, I had this:
And after 75 minutes, I had this:
I fished out the cracklings with a slotted spoon (had to loosen them from the bottom of the pan first) and then strained the remaining fat. I ended up with this (sorry for the poorly focused photo - I get no natural light in my kitchen and also I don't really know what I'm doing):
The cracklings are delicious, but really, really rich. I ate four of them (all about dime-to-nickel sized) and couldn't eat any more. That's saying a LOT, because this girl can put away animal fat.
I used a bit of the duck fat to roast red cabbage and onions for tonight's dinner. Pretty tasty. I plan to experiment with frying eggs in it later in the week. And tomorrow I will use the bones left from the duck to make duck stock. Voila: no waste!