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Posts tagged ‘duck fat’

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 with some foie gras instead.

 

Get Deals on Duck!

We are obsessed with duck. It’s kind of our thing. And we’ve heard that you like duck as much as we do.

That’s why we’re kicking off the month of March with a giant all-things-duck sale!

This means that duck leg confit, raw moulard duck breast, whole Rohan, Muscovy or Pekin duck, smoked duck breast, duck rillettes, duck prosciutto, duck bacon, duck sausage, duck fat and even our cassoulet kit (it’s got duck in it!) are all specially priced to tempt you.

What are you waiting for?  Shop and save 15% on any duck of your choice this week at dartagnan.com.

If you need a little inspiration …

02737CT191Duck a la orange recipe

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Cassoulet is 15% Off All Week!

cassoulet in bowl

“Cassoulet, like life itself, is not so simple as it seems.”  – Paula Wolfert

But our cassoulet recipe kit makes it a whole lot simpler. It includes all the ingredients you need to make a cassoulet to serve 12 (with leftovers) and a clay bowl (cassole) for baking it.

 Duck leg confit, duck and pork sausages, ventreche, duck fat, demi-glace and the all-important Tarbais beans are the simple ingredients of this legendary dish. The magic happens when all the flavors mingle together into a thick stew that is ideal for cold winter days. Just get a few bottles of Madiran or Malbec wine and invite some friends over for dinner.

Learn more about the preparation and history of cassoulet here.  And the reason we insist on using Tarbais beans here.

Click through to shop the 15% off sale now, because the deal ends Sunday, January 12, 2014.

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Thanksgivukkah Comes But Once Every 79,000 Years

You’ve surely heard. It’s being touted by the media as a once-in-a-lifetime event. The convergence of the Jewish and Gregorian calendars brings us a hybrid holiday this year: Thanksgivukkah.

Hanukkah falls early this year, with the first night of the Festival of Lights on Wednesday, November 27. And Thanksgiving is later than normal on Thursday, November 28.

So Jewish families will find themselves lighting a menorah after their turkey dinner on the second night of Hanukkah. And that means …

Thanksgivukkah

It might have been called Chanksgiving, but in a frenzy of excitement surrounding this unique holiday, the most common appellation is Thanksgivukkah. Seems it’s the winning hashtag. And once the mayor of Boston said he would proclaim November 28, 2013 “Thanksgivukkah,” the name stuck.

Thanksgivukkah has inspired products like the menurkey, a menorah shaped like a turkey (a nine-year-old kid created it!), t-shirts, cards, and an all-things Thanksgivukkah website. Rabbis have been commenting on it, and Buzzfeed weighed in with a credible mash-up menu for the festival (Manischewitz-brined turkey, anyone?).

Thanksgivukkah-2

Light your menurkey.

Even satirist Stephen Colbert has commented on the phenomenon with a sketch, and this song parody supplies an anthem for Thanksgivukkah.

We are not falling for the hype…OK, maybe just a little. Come on, it’s not going to happen for another 79,000 or so. Let’s celebrate!

That means food in our book. Our friends at Bon Appetit have been unimpressed with the weird Thanksgivukkah recipes populating the internet, and their post about the worst-ever Thanksgivukkah menu had us chuckling.

So we’re just going to recommend a few of our favorite recipes that are appropriate for the occasion.  You decide how carried away you want to get with it.

First up, cassoulet. Granted, we have a little pork in our recipe (ventrèche is salted pork belly), but this bean and meat stew bears more than a little resemblance to cholent, a slow-cooked bean and meat stew served at countless Sabbath meals over the centuries in Eastern Europe. And with all due respect to kosher laws, the pork really adds something special. Cassoulet would make a perfect centerpiece for a Thanksgivukkah meal.

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Cassoulet serves a crowd.

For a more literal interpretation, try our potato latkes topped with foie gras and apples, which we just posted on the blog here.

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Potato latkes with foie gras

The legs of duck make beautiful confit when slow cooked in their own fat, and when they are shredded…well, we think duck rillettes are one of the most satisfying meat spreads around. Slice a baguette and get a jar of cornichons. Long live the duck fat!

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Duck rillettes

And speaking of confit, garlic can be cooked in duck fat for mellow, tender cloves that are virtually spreadable. We like them in any dish calling for garlic, and love stuffing poultry with the savory tidbits.

Cloves cooked.

Cloves cooked.

Sufganiyot are doughnuts, traditionally eaten because all the oil represents the miracle of the oil that Hanukkah is based upon. We use duck fat in the dough and in the fryer when we make doughnuts. You will agree this is divine once you taste them.  

15 First one out of the pan

Duck fat doughnuts.

Of course, for a smaller gathering on any night of the holiday (Hanukkah lasts eight nights…does that mean Thanksgivukkah does too?) , a de-boned turkey breast that has been slathered with black truffle butter before roasting makes a very satisfying feast.

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Turkey roulade with black truffle butter.

Perhaps our newest product offers the simplest solution. Our Jean Reno Reserve Oil is much like the oil used in the Jewish temple to light the menorah. It is pure and is made using ancient techniques. And you can use it as a finishing oil without much fuss or forceful combining of recipes. It’s a lazy, but elegant solution.

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Celebrate the miracle of the olive oil.

Whatever you eat, however you celebrate it, Thanksgivukkah is the rarest of holidays. Enjoy it!

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: 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.

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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.

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.

Click here for more tasty how-to’s.