Sunday, May 22, 2011


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):

and this:

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!

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