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Nov 4, 2010 09:33 AM

Duck Fat Instead of Butter at Thanksgiving??

My sister's newborn has a dairy allergy, so she has to stay dairy-free while nursing. Good grief. My Thanksgiving menu is a butter lover's delight. I'd like to make sure she can still enjoy her favorites. Do you think I could substitute duck fat for butter in recipes like stuffing (for sauteeing the onions, etc) and what about for what usually is my herb butter that gets rubbed on the turkey? I know i can use olive oil, but i like the richness of butter flavor for my holiday cooking. Your opinions and suggestions are appreciated!

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  1. I think duck fat for the stuffing and the herb compound on the turkey would work really well. I don't think it would work in mashed potatoes (and there's also the cream problem there), not that you asked. I know I have seen olive oil mashed potatoes but never tried to make them. Maybe Sis could have roasted potatoes and the rest of you could have mashed. (Can you tell what MY favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is????)

    1. You can certainly substitute duck fat in most recipes (it's going to give the stuffing and other things additional deliciousness), but your mash is going to suffer.

      I've attempted non-dairy mash using duck fat + stock and olive oil + stock and it doesn't work. Grey, clumpy, rather unpleasant. Since this is going to be a one-off (assuming your sister's subsequent children won't be dairy-challenged), would you consider doing something unconventional and making her say duck fat fries or pommes à la sarladaise (potatoes fried in duck fat, topped with persillade)

      Basting the bird in duck fat is going to be interesting; I have made turkey thigh confit with duck fat (that worked nicely), but the melting temperature is different so you can't just make a herbed duck fat and then rub it on. You can constantly paint it on if you don't mind pulling your turkey out relatively frequently.

      1. Margarine, chicken broth, and lots of gravy for your mashed potatoes.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jaykayen

          I used chicken fat for my mashed potatoes when I ran out of margarine and butter and it was very tasty.

        2. try not to cringe - but why not margarine? I know, I know...sacrilege -- but so is mashed potato with duck fat (much as I love duck fat)

          1. My friend makes a "pound of bacon" mashed potato that is insanely delicious: 5 lbs of potatoes + 1 lbs of bacon, crumbled plus ALL of its rendered fat. NO butter necessary and it's super delicious. Optionally you can add some cheddar and chives/scallions.

            1 Reply
            1. re: joonjoon

              "NO butter necessary" -- good lord, I'd hope not!

              It sounds good, in that "oh my god it will kill me" way.

              But duck fat is far richer-tasting (no more or less delicious), and I'd be afraid it would overpower everything else on the menu --