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Posts from the ‘Duck Fat 50’ Category

Poutine or Disco Fries?

Poutine – that Canadian dish of exquisite perfection – is getting a lot of attention these days. This simple dish is nothing but french fries covered in a special gravy and topped with cheese curds.  But, oh, what a winning combination!

Food bloggers swoon over poutine and post photos all over the internet (go ahead, have a look).  Au Pied de Chochon in Montreal offers a version with foie gras (yes!) and a new restaurant called Big Cheese Poutinerie just opened in Chicago, offering 30 variations on the theme. Tucson residents can look forward to the August opening of the first U.S. Fries, a Canadian restaurant which will offer a poutine-centric menu.

Clearly the time has come to embrace poutine. And we are so ready.

Wait. Cheese curds?  Not impossible to find in the U.S. But it helps to be near a dairy or cheese factory, because these rubbery little chunks of salty cheese must be eaten fresh.  They are sometimes known as “squeaky cheese” because they squeak against your teeth when you bite down.

Poutine has been adapted in the U.S., specifically in New York City and parts of New Jersey, where restaurants offer “disco fries.”  By the late 1970s a hot dish of fries with beef gravy and shredded cheese was de rigueur dining for disco divas with a lot of alcohol in their systems at  2 a.m. Or at least that’s what we gather from the history page at the website Montreal Poutine.

For anyone living in Northern New Jersey during the past 35 years, disco fries have been a mainstay on diner menus. The Tick Tock Diner in Clifton, NJ offers disco fries with gravy and mozzarella 24 hours a day. A review on Trip Advisor calls them “the best disco fries in NJ.”

Eating in South Jersey Disco Fries

Disco fries. Photo from Eating in South Jersey blog

But they are NOT poutine.

The main difference between poutine and disco fries is the cheese. Cheddar or mozzarella cheese is fully melted over the heap of disco fries, unlike the cheese curds in poutine, which melt and soften, but remain whole and add a lot of chewy texture to the dish.

Apparently, you cannot even compare the two in front of a Canadian. We have one in our office and she became quite agitated at them even being mentioned in the same sentence. Sorry!

So we decided to make poutine D’Artagnan style, which means starting with duck fat fried potatoes. There is nothing better than duck fat for frying potatoes. We used 4 of our 7 ounce containers of it in this recipe. The great thing about duck fat is that you can reuse it (if it’s not burned), so let it cool and pour it into jar. Fry something else in it later. You will thank us.

Fries in the pan on the tray

One batch in the duck fat & parcooked fries on the rack.

 

Gravy

The gravy – beef & chicken stock with demi-glace

Our gravy is homemade with real chicken and beef stock, though we went a little too heavy on the chicken-to-beef stock ratio. A good dash of our duck and veal demi- glace balanced out the flavor and made the color a bit darker.

Fries in a bowl

After the second fry

Fries need to cook in hot duck fat twice. The first time for 5-8 minutes to par cook and the second time at slightly higher temperature to crisp and brown nicely.  This will only take a few minutes.

Poutine

The finished poutine

We tossed the fries in a bowl with a little gravy, then added the cheese curds, a little more salt and it was divine. If you can get cheese curds, we suggest you give it a try. And if you can’t, try them it some foie gras instead.

 

Duck Fat 50: Kale Chips Done Right

It seems like the whole world suddenly became obsessed with kale. Well, we like a leafy green just fine, especially when it’s cooked in duck fat. Hey, everything tastes better with duck fat.

Just take your kale cooked, and in moderation. There’s been a few reports lately about the dangers of too much kale, especially when eaten raw. It’s best to cook it, and we suggest using duck fat to do that. It imparts a wonderful flavor and crispy texture. Plus, duck fat is 15% off along with all the other good things from the duck this week at dartagnan.com.

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Duck Fat Kale Chips

  • 1 bunch kale or bag of cleaned, chopped kale
  • 2 Tbs. duck fat at room temperature or slightly melted
  • finely ground sea salt
  • Piment d’Epelette or black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese

1. Rip or cut the thick stems off the kale. Discard the stems.

2. Wash the kale and then dry it well in a salad spinner (or use pre-washed kale).

3. Rip the kale into chip-sized pieces and place in a large bowl.

4. Drizzle the softened duck fat, which should be a thick liquid consistency and toss to coat, using your hands to thoroughly mix it into the kale leaves. Try to use just enough duck fat to coat the kale, but not so much that the chips will be overly greasy.

5. Place kale on a baking sheet in a single layer. Do not overlap or crowd the pieces.

6. Sprinkle with salt and piment d’Espelette, then Parmesan cheese.

7. Bake the kale chips in a 400 degree oven for about 9 minutes. Keep an eye on them – they go from baking to burning pretty fast.  

Here’s our little video to show you how.

Duck Fat 50: The Duck Fat Doughnut

The duck fat doughnut is a savory miracle. We love this recipe by the incomparable Ian Knauer from  Gourmet magazine, and we continue to believe it is the best doughnut ever. But we might be biased. There is a lot of duck involved.

It’s a perfect recipe for Hanukkah, or for that rarest of holidays, Thanksgivukkah. Sufganiyot, or doughnuts, are traditionally served to commemorate the miracle of the oil at Hanukkah; when you make them with a savory filling of duck confit, they are practically a meal.

We took plenty of photos of the process, which you can enjoy in the slideshow after the recipe….which comes with our heartiest of recommendations.

17 Donuts on the Rack

Savory Duck Fat Doughnuts from Gourmet, August 2009

Recipe: Ian Knauer

INGREDIENTS

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
Scant 1/2 cup warm whole milk (105-115°F)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus additional for dusting
1 large egg
About 4 cups rendered duck fat, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 confit duck leg
2 tablespoons sour cherry or red currant preserves plus additional for serving

EQUIPMENTa stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment; a deep-fat thermometer

1. Stir together yeast and warm milk in mixer bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast.) Mix in 3/4 cup flour at low speed until combined. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled and bubbles appear on surface, about 1 hour.

2. At low speed, mix in egg, 2 Tbsp duck fat, sugar, salt, and remaining 3/4 cup flour until combined, then beat at medium speed until smooth and elastic, 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape dough into center of bowl and dust lightly with additional flour. Cover bowl with kitchen towel and let dough rise at warm room temperature until doubled, about 1 hour.

3. Discard skin and bones from duck confit, then shred meat. Stir together meat and preserves.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and lightly dust with flour. Punch down dough (it will be soft) and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into 16 equal pieces. With lightly floured hands, flatten 1 piece of dough and put a heaping tsp duck confit mixture in center. Gather dough up and around filling and pinch to enclose. Roll into a ball and transfer to baking sheet. Make 15 more balls, arranging 1 inch apart on sheet.

5. Heat 2 inches duck fat in a 2-qt heavy saucepan over medium heat to 350°F. Fry doughnuts in batches of 4, turning frequently, until puffed and golden, about 2 minutes per batch. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Return oil to 350°F between batches. Serve doughnuts hot, with additional preserves.

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Duck Fat 50: Potato Pancakes AKA Latkes with Foie Gras

These golden potato pancakes are crisped in duck fat before being crowned with silky foie gras and tart apple. Delicious. And appropriate for Hanukkah. Or Thanksgivukkah. After all, the history of foie gras in Europe can be traced back to Jewish immigrants, who brought the technique of fattening ducks and geese from Egypt. Schmaltz, anyone?

Recipe_Foie_Gras_Latkes_HomeMedium

INGREDIENTS

2 medium Granny Smith or other tart green apples, peeled, cored, and cut crosswise in 1/8-inch slices (reserve trimmings)
2/3 cup simple syrup
1¼ cups duck and veal demi-glace
2 medium-large baking potatoes (about 1¼ pounds), peeled
1 small onion
1 small golden delicious or other sweet apple, peeled
1 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
1 egg, beaten
6 or more tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
1 duck fat
6 foie gras slices

PREPARATION

1. Combine sliced apples with simple syrup in a bowl and soak for 8 hours or overnight.

2. Add apple trimmings to demi-glace, bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and keep warm.

3. Grate potatoes, red apple, and onion. Gently stir in parsley, egg, and flour, and season with salt and pepper. Heat enough duck fat to measure about ½ inches deep in a large heavy skillet. Form mixture into 12 pancakes. If too moist, add a little more flour. When fat is hot, about 375 degrees F, add only as many pancakes as will comfortably fit in pan without crowding, flattening them slightly. Cook until browned and crispy on both sides, turning once. Remove with a slotted spatula, blot on paper towels, and keep warm in a warm oven. Discard fat and wipe out pan.

4. Heat pan until very hot. Season foie gras with salt and pepper, and sauté until lightly browned and medium-rare inside, about 45 seconds per side.

5. On warm plates, place a potato pancake, then add an apple slice and a foie gras medallion on top. Spoon on sauce, and serve.

Duck Fat 50: Ultimate Movie Night Popcorn

Movie night goes glam with this indulgent popcorn, cooked on the stove top. Because it’s so easy to pop this way, and it’s more fun than the microwave.  The duck fat gives it texture and a certain satisfying flavor, but the truffle butter takes it to another level. Serve it family-style, in a large bowl, or go for the in-theatre experience and use individual paper cones. But be warned: this popcorn is addictive.

Recipe_Truffle_Butter_Popcorn_HomeMedium

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup high-quality popcorn kernels
  • 3 tablespoons duck fat
  • 2 tablespoons black truffle oil
  • 3 tablespoons black truffle butter
  • ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated super-fine
  • Big pinch of dried Herbs de Provence
  • Maldon sea salt, to taste

PREPARATION

1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt truffle butter. Remove from heat, add the truffle oil and set aside.

2.  Heat the duck fat and 1 popcorn kernel, over medium-high heat, in a large pot with a lid. As soon as the kernel pops, add the rest of the popcorn, cover the pot and shake over the heat—quickly moving the pot back and forth over the burner—until the popping stops.

3. Pour half of the popcorn into a large mixing bowl, removing any unpopped kernels. Drizzle half of the butter-oil mixture and sprinkle half of the cheese and herbs over the popcorn, tossing to evenly distribute. Repeat with the rest of popcorn. Season to taste with Malden salt and serve immediately.

Garlic Confit: A Duck Fat Secret

Whip up a batch of this garlic confit to keep in the refrigerator and add to just about anything.  Ariane loves this trick,  and would tell you it’s one of her little secrets in the kitchen. The super simple, 2-ingredient recipe provides soft, fragrant cloves of garlic, perfect for potatoes, bread, pasta, or pizza. After a little bath in hot duck fat, there’s no garlic bite left, just mellow flavor that will complement many meals. Store garlic cloves in duck fat and they will last quite along while (not that we would know, the stuff seems to vanish all too quickly!).

Ingredients

2 containers duck fat
3 whole heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled

Preparation
Melt the duck fat slowly in a small sauce pot over medium-low heat. Add garlic cloves and turn heat to the lowest possible flame. Cook garlic until the cloves float and are very soft.
Pour the melted duck fat through a fine-mesh strainer to catch the whole cloves. Place the garlic into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and strain the duck fat into the jar through a layer of cheesecloth to catch any burned bits of garlic.

garlic in pot

Cloves of garlic simmering in duck fat.

Cloves cooked.
Checking on the progress of garlic cloves.

Cloves drained in bowl.

Cloves drained in bowl.

Christmas Cookies D’Artagnan Style! Duck Fat Biscochitos

Duck fat is not only an indispensable cooking fat, it’s also excellent for baking. It can be substituted 1:1 for lard in any old fashioned recipe, you just need to keep it well-chilled while you work with it. Duck fat adds depth of flavor to baked goods, makes an especially tender pie crust, lofty Viennoiseries, and flaky cookies. Ariane’s father, Andre Daguin, made duck fat pepper biscuits in his chef days. He served them with chilled marinated peaches, the recipe of which is in his 1981 cookbook, Le Nouveau Cuisinier Gascon.

A holiday staple in the American Southwest, biscochitos are cookies made from lard and flavored with anise seed and orange zest. Since anise and orange are also common flavors in Southwest France, we thought we’d put our own spin on biscochitos by making them with duck fat. The cookies are delicious and quickly becoming a holiday favorite around the office. Give them a try!

Recipe after the jump…

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How-To: Duck Fat Fries

The humble Idaho spud gets a decadent upgrade when cut fresh and plunged into bubbly duck fat. The resulting frites are golden and crispy with tender, creamy interiors and a hint of delicious duckiness.

Obtain the Duck Fat

You might already have some rendered duck fat in your refrigerator or freezer from the last time you roasted a whole duck or seared duck breasts. You will need enough to completely cover the potatoes as they are cooking, about 2 or 3 inches in the bottom of a pot. If you don’t have enough rendered duck fat on hand, supplement with pre-rendered Duck Fat.

Prep Your Potato

The russet potato is the ideal frying potato. Peel the skin for a more refined frites, or scrub the skin well and leave on for a rustic fry. Cut potatoes into sticks between 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch wide. Rinse the cut potatoes in cold water to remove any excess starch. If you have the time, soaking them in ice water for 30 minutes will yield even better results. Drain the potatoes before frying and pat them dry.

Learn the Correct Frying Technique

The secret to the perfect French fry in any fat is the double-fry method. The first fry is to cook the potato through. The second fry at a higher temperature is to crisp them up. Melt the duck fat in a heavy-bottomed pot with high sides. Heat the fat to about 325 degrees F. A deep-frying/candy thermometer is really handy for getting an accurate reading. Cook the potato sticks in small batches to avoid dramatically dropping the temperature of the hot fat. After about 5 to 7 minutes, test the doneness by poking a fry with a knife. The knife should slide in and out with no resistance. If the potatoes are cooked through, remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon, spider skimmer, or tongs and let drain on a sheet tray covered in paper towels. After all of the batches are cooked and cooled, raise the heat under the pot and bring the melted duck fat to 350 degrees F. Return the fries to the pot, in batches again, for only about 1 minute. Drain on fresh paper towels. Sprinkle them right away with your choice of sea salt, black pepper, paprika, parmesan cheese, fresh herbs, or whatever seasonings you like. Doing this step while the fries are still hot will help the seasonings to stick.

Consider Dipping SaucesYour duck fat French fries will be perfect by themselves. However, you can take them one step further by serving with a dipping sauce. Try serving them with mayonnaise mixed with fresh herbs or take your frites over the top with a drizzle of truffle oil. When all else fails, ketchup is a trusty stand-by. Use your favorite store-bought brand or get adventurous and make your own out of roasted red peppers and roasted garlic.

Don’t Waste the Duck Fat!

After your fries are cooked, turn off the heat and let the duck fat cool so it is easy to handle but not solidified. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any pieces of potato. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled and then freeze for a later use.

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