How to render duck fat.
Once upon a time, a dear friend of mine brought eight ducks to Cottage Hill. These male ducks had warn out their welcome on her farm and though she didn't care if we butchered them, she didn't want to bother.
And thus, we inherited eight beautiful ducks.
The black and white gang were our adopted flock.
Here's the thing about male ducks though: they don't really serve a purpose (other than the “one purpose” that we know males on the farm serve). And while that is a noble service indeed (all two seconds of it once or twice a year), it's not necessary in our flock where we already have a male Pekin duck of our choosing.
Sorry guys. The need has been filled.
As this harvest season naturally progresses, it came time for us to harvest the male ducks and thin the flock for the cold, bleak winter ahead. So on a day when the sun sat low on the ridge line and our breath made small clouds in the chilly air, we quickly butchered eight ducks for the larder.
For the record, I would much rather pluck a duck than a chicken. Plucking a chicken is not fun. Plucking a duck is much more fun than plucking a chicken. Why is that?
They smell better too.
Anyway, as these things go, we sat at the end of the day, sipping red wine that warmed our chests, and stared at the bounty: sixteen breasts, sixteen legs, sixteen thighs, a tub of fat, and eight carcasses for stock.
What a harvest!
A carcass for perfect, rich stock
The fat was rendered down and strained to create the most luxurious cooking fat imaginable. Here's a quick how to, just in case you find yourself in a similar situation. Hey – it could happen!
How to Render Duck Fat
You will need:
1. Clean the fat of any feathers or meat. Pile it in the stock pot, like so:
Ahh, piled fat – a thing of beauty!
2. Put the fat on your oven over the lowest heat possible. We are not trying to cook the fat – we are trying to melt the fat. There's a big difference! I had eighty seven other projects going at the time, so my stove looked like this:
3. The fat will only take a few hours to completely melt down. Stir every so often so that the fat never burns or gets too hot.
4. Once the fat has melted, turn off the heat, and strain it carefully through a fine mesh strainer. Allow it to cool, at which point, it will solidify.
5. Boom. That was it. How easy was that? When people are like “Hey! Do you know how to render duck fat?”… you can be all like… “Heck ya, I know how to render duck fat.” You never know when someone will ask.
But why? Why is duck fat so incredible? Allow me to share some delicious information with you:
– Duck fat remains stable during cooking
– Duck fat preserves it's flavor during cooking
– Duck fat adds an extra depth to savory (and even sometimes sweet!) dishes
And thus, it is written in the stars that we must now fry all of our potatoes in duck fat. And we will be all the happier, and healthier, for it. Remember: your brain is made of fat. Your brain needs fat! I'm just a homecook, but I know what's delicious.
And that's duck fat.