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Best uses for duck fat?

My newly found gourmet market has neat stuff, and today I bought in addition to many other items, a roast duck. I asked the sweet woman there about how they are cooked and the duck fat, and she said they don't sell it, just toss it, and she gave me about 11/2 pints from today's ducks which is now in my freezer, and she said I can have all I want.

Healthiness aside, I sense I'm on to something good - what are the best uses for duck fat? Thanks.

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  1. ZOMG --you SCORED. Stuff is $4-5 a jar, even here in France where it's made!

    Potatoes Sarladais -- diced potatoes sauteed til golden with a little garlic -- in duck fat.

    Roasted veggies of any kind -- put a couple of spoonsful of duck fat in the roasting pan -- excellent flavor.

    Confit du canard -- duck slow-cooked in molten fat.

    Excellent addition/substitution for fat in nearly anything savory.

    Substitute for fat as a base for any sauce.

    Google "duck fat" or "gras de canard" and prepare to be amazed.

    8 Replies
    1. re: sunshine842

      Holy cow. My first thought was to substitute it for lard in some of my mexican recipes and see how it goes. But I am a totally amateur cook and french is way beyond my comfort zone and is very intimidating. Am I ready to swim away from the shallow end?
      This serendipitous encounter with duck fat will either drown me or make me a better man. But for the time being I have unlimited duck fat. It probably should have happened to someone else.

      1. re: Veggo

        I dunno about make you become a better man, but you'll be drowning in delicious food. French, smensch, just fry some eggs, sauté whatever veg is in season in your parts, roast potatoes tossed in the fat. You will be converted, I guarantee it.

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          Ditto on the fried eggs.

          And me thinks Veggo doth protest too much :) Amateur indeed.

          BTW, if the duck fat has been rendered, I was advised here on CH that it lasts forever in the fridge. No reason to freeze it. And that way it's handy for that egg frying. And if it hasn't been rendered, then, no, I don't know how to do that. But I'm sure CHs can tell you. Good score, Veg. You should take that lady some flowers :)

          1. re: c oliver

            Theresa is her name, a portly Irish pixie with a mellifluous brogue who just returned from Europe after a 3 week cheese buy mission.

            The duck fat was strained and was a crystal clear amber color, and now is white as snow in my freezer.

            I will be a frequent customer for cheese, but I should continue to accept the duck fat, it seems?

            1. re: Veggo

              Yes, as others have noted here, large amounts of duck fat make it possible to make duck or other confit preparations. A sublime thing!

              Esp. in Winter, there are many people scrambling hard to find duck fat in quantity, and they pay a lot.

              1. re: Bada Bing

                Cool. I am energized with a new mission: duck fat hoarder. In Florida I was the huitlacoche hoarder. This helps to smooth the transition, thanks.

        2. re: Veggo

          French food isn't always complicated...potatoes fried in fat with garlic? How tough is that?

          A spoonful in a pan of roasted veggies? C'mon, a 6-year-old can manage that.

          confit du canard? Take away the French name and it's just duck slow-cooked in its own fat.

          French country cooking is stews and soups and beans and long-roasted meats -- nothing gold-rimmed or foofy at all...just good food, well-prepared.

      2. Very nice find--assuming the fat isn't scorched. I suggest that you heat it to fluid state, filter it through some cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer, and then keep it in the fridge or freezer. As I understand things, it is a relatively healthy fat, and better than butter (healthwise). Whatever.

        Duck fat is storied as a medium for cooking potatoes, and really most savory vegetable sautees or gratins. I bet it might add greatly to some frittatas, too.

        I've also used it as an element in a turkey meatloaf!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Bada Bing

          Yes, duck fat (in moderation because of the sheer calorie numbers!) is a healthy animal fat -- it's quite high in oleic acid, so it actually helps keep your cholesterol numbers in check, rather than adding to them.

        2. Potatoes, vegetables, eggs - all amazingly delicious cooked in duck fat. It will enhance anything you sauté. Since you have a source of plenty of it, make duck fat french fries - they will be out-of-this-world good. You have a real leg up if you want to make homemade duck confit.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            Wow, it seems like I opened a brand new door because I went to buy a bunch of expensive cheese because I have few other pleasures since my move to Dallas.
            Onward, duck fat fans! Lead me! Point me! I got the fat! Let's collaborate! I'll share!

          2. Duck fat is glorious. Sometimes I wish I could bathe in it!

            1. my god, that's like a free fast ticket to coronary disease if I had found a treasure trove like you did!
              soooo many uses!
              other than traditional uses like duck leg confit and duck fat fries, you really can use it to cook anything!
              fried rice, asian noodles of any kind, sauted veggies, searing meat, stuffing, roasted veggies, potatos, soups, brush on meat and then barbecue, gravy and other meaty sauces, anything with oil involved!

              3 Replies
              1. re: kerosundae

                I just finished eating the first half of the duck; I got a nice crisp on the skin under the broiler. To be repeated tomorrow, no complaints.

                Then I removed my two almost-full pints of duck fat from my freezer, and stared at them, somewhat bewildered. This is edible gold? So much new and unexpected fun, just for buying cheese when I was hungry and went a little crazy and bought a duck.

                1. re: kerosundae

                  no -- duck fat has been proven to NOT contribute to coronary disease -- it seems to actually help *fight* it.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    Actually most new research shows that saturated fats etc don't affect heart disease at all. Its looking like it was all a giant myth, much like the whole "fiber prevents colon cancer" thing in the 80's and 90's.

                2. Use in risotto! Toast the dry rice in it first.

                  1. SCORE!!!

                    With that much liquid love, you've got to go over the top. Sure, you'll want to use a couple of tablespoons for eggs or home fries, but there are some things that require more duck fat than most of us have seen at one time. As noted above, french fries are a great option. And yes, duck confit has a French name and an esteemed history, but it's basically nothing more than duck carnitas.

                    Wait, did I just say **nothing more than** duck carnitas? Because I can't imagine anything being any more...

                    Oh, and if you're feeling really motivated, the scraps and bones from that duck carcass can be turned into a mean stock.

                    1. As fats go, duck fat is surprisingly pretty good for you. Duck fat is mostly oleic acid, a good monounsaturated fat, the same as olive oil, and most of the saturated fat is stearic acid, which is generally considered heart friendly.

                      And once you roast potatoes in duck fat, you'll never look at Wesson the same way again.

                      1. French fries


                        Basted or fried eggs

                        Pie crust


                        Use for popcorn (pop the corn in it)

                        Rub it on roast chicken to make it nice and crispy

                        Fry spam and/or scrapple

                        Hashed browns

                        1. Agree with all the posts . . . .

                          Use it as the fat in the crust for a duck (or chicken) pot pie - yummy too!

                          12 Replies
                            1. re: DoobieWah

                              OMG, that sounds devilishly good.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                Yeah, you start making popcorn with duck fat ... you may never go to the movies again.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    Only if you can sneak it in pass the ushers.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      Actually I can't remember the last time I went to a movie...but I'm sure going to put some duck fat on popcorn.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        No, no!

                                        Not on top. Use the duck fat to pop the corn!

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            My god.

                                            If you popped it in duck fat and then topped it with duck fat, you might have a coronary artery explode on the first bite.

                                            I might top it with some crushed Zocor, if you must have a topping.

                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              Already on cholesterol med so here's mud in your eye :)

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                Bring on the duck fat, y'all -- sbp and I mentioned this upthread, but it bears repeating (credit to sbp)

                                                "As fats go, duck fat is surprisingly pretty good for you. Duck fat is mostly oleic acid, a good monounsaturated fat, the same as olive oil, and most of the saturated fat is stearic acid, which is generally considered heart friendly."

                                                the old folks in the southwest of France swear that the duck fat and red wine accounts for their good health and remarkably long lives -- turns out they're right.

                              2. re: DoobieWah

                                I'd never thought of this one. Must try! (I've got plenty of duck fat after buying 10 pounds of it through a food service wholesaler, for confits.)

                            2. roast potatoes. peel and half or quarter some potatoes, melt duck fat in the oven till bubbling, add the potatoes carefully which have previously been dried on paper towel, turn over the spuds in the hot fat, add salt and pepper and roast in a 350 oven for 2 hours basting or turning a couple times.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: smartie

                                smartie, I do my potatoes exactly the same way and my MIL just can't figure out what makes them so good....lol...
                                Veggo, I wish you could ship us all some of that liquid gold...be careful not to let them know what they are giving away, cuz you may find the next time you go shopping it will be jarred, shelved and price tagged!!!
                                Here's to a great new duck fat adventure ; )

                                1. re: heylids

                                  At Alan Barnes' suggestion, I made simple duck fat hash browns yesterday morning. I peeled, grated, and dried 2 russets, folded them into 1/8 inch of hot fat in a skillet, slight taps with a spatula, and a couple turns for a nice golden crisp. Only seasoning was S&P. With a little Heinz, I ate the whole batch at a single sitting. Tasty and easy.
                                  Oh, and I scored another pint of fat last Friday. I think duck hash may be next.

                              2. I like to add a few tablespoons to non-fat refried beans, which seriously defeats the point of them but makes 'em nice and creamy.

                                1. Now that the new potatoes are coming in, suggest you get a bunch of the little wee ones (bubblgum jawbreaker size or smaller), put a couple of TB of the fat in a frying pan, add the spuds and some salt, cover them and let them cook over low heat for quite a long time (30 mins or so), shaking the pan from time to time. Uncover at the end to crisp up a bit. I just did this with the fat from a pheasant I cooked (there was quite a bit of fat in the cavity - peculiar to the bird in that it's quite bright yellow) and they were some of the best spuds ever.
                                  We eat a fair amount of duck and I almost always fry potatoes in the fat.