Going deeper into duck fat territory

Here in Duck Country, better known as the Greater Daglan Area, we are always looking for more ways to get the most from our favourite bird. So I was pleased when I saw on a cooking show recently what looked like a nice way to employ goose fat in the frying of potatoes. Using just a wee touch of creativity, I thought: “Let’s try that with duck fat.”

Since we were planning on having Boeuf a là Bourguignonne  for lunch today (Sunday), we thought that duck-fried potatoes would be a nice side dish. So my wife Jan walked over to Daglan’s 8 à Huit convenience store, and returned home proudly carrying a fairly large can (or tin, if you prefer) of duck fat, known around here as graisse de canard. Here it is:

Duck fat

Relax -- it's only 700 grams of duck fat. Not a kilo!

One of my tasks this morning (after I had finished peeling the skin off the caps of a bunch of button mushrooms, for the Boeuf a là Bourguignonne) was to cut several potatoes into small cubes. Then I brought a pot of salted water to a rolling boil, and dropped in the potato cubes for five minutes. After that, it was a simple matter of drying off the cubes on paper towels, and putting them into a hot pan of duck fat. Here we are, at an early stage of frying:

Early cooking

The little cubes of potato are nestled in the duck fat.

Now a real chef would probably use his or her fingers to turn the cubes, but I haven’t yet developed the necessary fireproof coating on my hands. So I used a knife and a tablespoon to gently turn the cubes as they cooked, trying to get them golden brown evenly. Generally, it went pretty well, as this photo shows:

Browning potatoes

The potatoes are getting a bit more colour.

As the cooking neared completion, however, the browning started to take place very quickly, and I must admit that some of the little cubes got darker than I wanted. We decided to do a taste test, so I pulled out one of the cubes and had Jan try it. “Terrific!” she said. So I rescued all of the cubes from their duck-fat swimming pool, drained them, and salted them. Then it was on to the plates, with the beef and some broccoli. Here we go:

Finall dish

Potatoes, at bottom. Broccoli, upper left. Beef, upper right.

Was it worth the effort? For sure. Next time, I think I’ll boil the potato cubes for one minute longer, and take them out of the duck fat one minute earlier. But the idea is right, and we’re certainly not suffering from a shortage of duck fat. So as our friend Rob would say: “Bring it on!”

This entry was posted in French food, Life in southwest France and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Going deeper into duck fat territory

  1. Rob says:

    {Homer Simpson-esque drooly sound}

  2. Double D says:

    Duck is the new bacon? Understandable given your bacon reviews.

    We notice you peel the mushrooms as opposed to brushing them. This is something D1 wonders about as D2 favours just cleaning them with a clean moist cloth

    Either way it all looks like an excellent Sunday meal.

  3. Rob West says:

    Pommes de Terre Sarladaise is a favourite in our household as well. Yummy. –> http://www.gourmet.com/recipes/2000s/2009/05/pommes-de-terre-sarladaise

  4. loren24250 says:

    On the mushroom question, I’m usually with D2 — just clean off the mushrooms. But my recipe for the beef recipe says to peel them, so I’m doing that. Not much difference, as far as I can tell. As for pommes de terre sarladaise, it’s somewhat different — the potatoes turn out softer, as opposed to my new version, which are crispier. Also, I don’t use any garlic, which is standard for the sarladaise recipe. Both are good! However, I find the potatoes sarladaise served in many restaurants around here are both too garlicky and too mushy.

  5. Lisa at fLVE says:

    I find your blog a pleasure to read. And wanted to let you know that you won the Leibster Blog Award. Congratulations and best wishes!

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