Duck fat has been a favourite ingredient amongst chefs for decades and now it’s time to introduce this super-fat to the home cook!
Before we get into how to cook with duck fat, it’s worth mentioning that duck fat isn’t as bad for you as you might think!
Unlike olive oil or butter, duck fat has a high smoke point, meaning you can cook with it at very high temperatures without smoking or adopting an off flavour. Duck fat also has a higher percentage of mono-unsaturated fat than saturated fat, making it nutritionally closer to olive oil than it is to other animal fats.
With this is mind, it’s time to start putting this natural animal fat to good use!
Duck fat potatoes
Is there anything better than duck fat potatoes!? Duck fat enhances the natural earthy flavour of potatoes perfectly and gives them a nice, golden crust. For roasted potatoes, simply coat the potatoes in duck fat and roast until golden. Add a drizzle to mashed potatoes instead of butter for a smooth, silky finish or deep-fry potatoes by gently melting solid duck fat over a medium heat until liquefied before increasing the temperature to a high heat for frying.
Cooking vegetables such and onions, asparagus or pumpkin in duck fat helps caramelise them and lets off a slight umami taste. For oven roasted vegetables, simply toss them in duck fat before roasting. For an extra delicious stir-fry, heat a tablespoon of duck fat in a pan to a medium-high heat then add the vegetables and cook to taste.
Nothing dresses up a salad quite like duck fat! It’s the perfect addition to hearty greens like kale, radicchio or beans or even a mixed grain salad. Just combine a teaspoon of melted duck fat with a sweet balsamic vinegar or pomegranate molasses to add a savoury note to your dish.
If you’re more of a baker, duck fat may well become your new best friend! Try replacing half of the butter with duck fat next time you cook a puff pastry or pie crust. You’ll quickly see how flaky and tender it becomes and will enjoy the subtly depth of flavour. As a general rule of thumb, for recipes using butter, simply replace half the amount with duck fat. For recipes that call for lard, simple replace the lard for an equal amount of duck fat.
Where to get duck fat?
Duck fat is now readily available in gourmet deli’s or supermarkets. You can also store your own duck fat saving the liquid remaining in your roasting pan next time you cook with duck. Simply allow the liquid to cool down before using a muslin cloth to strain it into a heat proof container. Then place your duck fat into your fridge or freezer until it solidifies. To prolong the life of your duck fat, ensure the top and bottom layer are scraped out and disposed. These layers are water soluble and will perish quickly.
A quick tip for storing duck fat is to separate it into smaller portions. By freezing them in smaller batches, you’ll only need to take out the required amount. Don’t forget – duck fat is also reusable so after you’ve cooked with it, simply strain and store away for next time.