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Are You a Fat Blender?

[Or a skinny toaster?] JK

Serious question: When it's time to saute/fry, do you stick to one fat (e.g., butter/EVOO/duck/bacon/lard), or do you use a proportion?

I ask because I rendered a BUNCH of bacon a few days ago, kept the grease, and have taken to adding just a *bit* to otherwise "healthy" fats for this. Tonight was floured pork cutlets (jowls), and smashed 'taters with morell bits and mushroom gravy and roasted pencil asparagus. I've done this before with butter+EVOO, but with a 1/2t of bacon grease added in, it makes a huge difference!

That got me thinking... Will a *touch* of goose or duck fat give you the flavor without the infarction or the bankruptcy?

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  1. I was with you until the last line... I have no idea what infarction or what is going bankrupt?

    However, adding a bit of animal fat can take a dish from very good to excellent when used with an understanding of flavor. I almost always have both bacon and duck fat in the kitchen to add at those moments.

    4 Replies
    1. re: smtucker

      myocardial infarction = heart attack, and i assume the bankruptcy comment had to do with the retail prices of goose & duck fat.

      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Last time I bought duck fat, which I'm still using, it was $10 for a pint. Not bad IMO.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Ah... but duck fat isn't a "bad" fat, and for that matter, isn't all that expensive. Buy a duck, cut off the extra fat and render. Then save the fat that renders during cooking.

          Thank you for the translation. I didn't "get" it at all. :-)

          1. re: smtucker

            well i didn't say i agreed with the sentiment, just thought i'd translate it for you :)

        1. I use bacon and chicken fat- with my EVOO and butter. I believe that saturated fats are not unhealthy in moderation- and I also save and render my fats to use later. It is both thrifty and healthy.

          1. I'll do it for flavour - a little bit of bacon fat goes a long way. I also mix fats for cooking purposes, as I find that if I want to do good sauteed onions a mix of olive oil and butter works better than one or the other (same for frying perogies, actually).

            1. A few tablespoons of chicken fat added to the frying oil is one of the secrets to great chicken-fried steak.

              1. Yes, I save duck and chicken fat for such use, especially if the animals are raised on pasture. No use in wasting all that healthful CLA, plus there's the deliciousness!

                1. OK, that's a start... Anyone gone systematic about it? Is a Tablespoon of good beef fat a qualitative/flavor boost (over straight butter or olive) to browning beef chunks? Is there anything like a recognized ratio of *flavorful* vs. *healthy*? Should we eschew chicken fat to brown pork loin, etc.?

                  1. Duck or goose fat may hit the pocket book with a resounding thump but it ain't gonna do nothin' bad to your heart! But it's a common "misbelief." I used to suffer from it too until I looked up duck fat one day to find out just how bad it was for me. Turns out it's damned healthy! A LOT better than chicken fat! Or bacon fat. Or butter. It even gives olive oil a run for it's money! Here's some fun reading to assuage your fears:
                    http://greenmarketrecipes.com/poultry...

                    As for mixing fats, yup, I do it. Well, I rarely mix anything in with peanut oil, but olive oil and butter are an old standby. But I don't pollute my duck fat! '-)

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: Caroline1

                      Good article, Caroline.

                      The old folks in the Southwest of France swear that their ripe old age is due to the dark red wines of the region and the duck and goose fat...turns out they're right -- dark red wines have lots of tannins and resveratrol (the stuff that flushes out cholesterol), and the duck fat helps keep it from forming in the first place (and further helps flush it out.).

                      So...a diet of duck and rich red wines is good for you. YAY.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        Orrrrrrrrrrrrrr... You can just take resveretrol capsules as a dietary supplement and reap the benefits of drinking over 300 glasses of red wine a day without any stumbling, speech or pocketbook problems! I swear by them!

                        I suspect that foie gras is to duck fat what resveratrol capsules are to red wine. Those lucky Frenchmen! '-)

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          so a handful of pills is more appetizing than a plate of confit de canard and *A* (just one solitary) glass of red wine? I've read several studies that have come to the conclusion that resveratrol helps, but that wine still has some "compound x" that they have not yet identified...wine drinkers reap more benefits than pill takers.

                          Sorry, you take your capsules, I'll have real food, thanks.

                      2. re: Caroline1

                        Thanks, Car! Time to start rendering those mallards in the freezer.

                        I'm not so sure the isolated resveratrol is *the* wine compound--we're still ID'ing *new* compounds in wine every year (Last time I checked, we were closing in on 1,500). If you don't like to drink the wine, there're always red table grapes and wine raisins. I've even seem freeze-dried pomace for cooking.

                        1. re: kaleokahu

                          This will be the *ONLY* time I mention this on these boards (hopefully, but I'm such a blabber mouth), not that I'm ashamed of it, but it doesn't "define" me... This is simpley to share information and first hand experience, and who knows, maybe somebody will learn something? I have had multiple sclerosis for 55 years now, the relapsing remitting type, so it has been pretty good to me overall, but less so as I age. I first read about resvertrol on the United Kingdom MS Society web pages buried in the back under "Recent Research", or something like that. A double blind study was recently completed testing resveratrol on people with MS, and they said it helped. Not that it cured MS (there is no known cure, but we're hoping!), but that it really did help. Either they have since dropped that page -- it was covered under new research -- or I can't find it again.

                          Anyway, I figured, hey, for 20 or 30 bucks a bottle, I don't have to buy it a second time if I'm not happy with it. So I tried it and have never looked back. That was six or eight months ago. FOR ME, it has been beneficial. I'm in the unfortunate position of having turned allergic to my $2,200.00 a month daily injections for MS a couple of years ago. My prescription insurance company was thrilled about the savings (I assume) but it sort of left me out in the cold! '-)

                          Anyway, 1,500mg of resveratrol a day is one hell of a lot cheaper than ten or so bottles of wine a day. Which does not mean that I never drink wine... It's just that it's not very advisable for ME to drink much of it or I'd be one heck of a lot more active on the wine board! I just try to make lemonade when I can. '-)

                          Oh, and for the record I'm allergic to a lot of grape varieties, especially concord. You'll find NO grape jelly on MY PB&Js!

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            Caroline, you've always been such a high-spirited inspiration on these boards...i never had any inkling that you were battling a chronic illness. thanks for sharing, and i'm so glad to hear that the resveratrol is helping!

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              Thank you! If I had thought it would have helped anyone, I would have shared sooner, but MS is such a highly individualized condition that I don't think it is at all useful to share. It's an auto-immune disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheathing of the central nervous system, therefore the symptoms can be as varied as anything the central nervous system does. So it's a disease that can "take you down" in a flash, or just sort of nag and nibble for years and years. And not well understood, I might add. And to the best of my knowledge, there are no diet modifications that can help, except don't drown your central nervous system in alcohol, but a little is okay. So there's really been no point in mentioning it because it's pretty much irrelevent to these boards... Until resveratrol came up! '-)

                              You, on the other hand, my dear, you've done a FANTASTIC job educating and helping people with celiac disease. Every time I run across gluten free products, you are the first person, place or thing that pops to mind. Good job! With celiac disease, people have to understand the impact of their diet. Well, the other option is to ignore it and be miserable. And endanger yourself to boot. I think you do a great service. I also guiltily think of you when I have a puff pastry dessert or a cream puff. So I often eat two... One for me and one for you... LOL! (That's a lie. I eat them both for me!) '-)

                              1. re: Caroline1

                                C1 All I can say is live long and prosper! But knowing you (from CH posts only) you will live long and prosper as the best revenge (and best spice) plus giggle totally along that Yellow brick road.

                            2. re: Caroline1

                              So glad it's helping you...if "regular" medicine is no longer working, then it falls under the heading of "whatever works"...and it sounds like it does.

                        2. The conventional wisdom re animal fats that we have been subjected to for the past 30 years (eating a steak will give you a heart attack) is in the process of being debunked, takes a little effort to understand the truth (there is science involved) but the idea that animal fats are unhealthy holds no water.

                          1. All the time. While I sauté most things with oo, I often add a dab of butter at the end to mount the sauce.

                            When I use bacon or goose fat, I don't tend to add any other fats, tho. I don't want to dilute the flavor.

                            1. I seldom cook with just one fat. When I use butter, i add a touch of canola to up the smoke point. When I fry corn, i use a combo of bacon fat and butter.

                              I also add a small amount of bacon fat to new canola when I'm deep frying to add the soaps needed for good browning.

                              1. Oh yes, I def. mix my fats...and funny enuf, keep them in jars similar to the illustration C1 linked. As we all know, each fat brings something flavorful to the dish. Last night it was butter, olive oil and veal juices in the soup pot.

                                1. Depends on what I am cooking. A butter braise, maybe a tad of OO to extend the range a bit, asian, no, anything tater like yes.

                                  1. The only fat I tend to combine is butter and oil usually olive oil. I think it's something I learned watching the Frugal Gourmet.