Way back in November when I posted on our Thanksgiving Duck two people emailed me asking about rendering duck fat. So......the Missus has been craving duck and asked me to make duck confit this past weekend. We didn't have much duck fat leftover from Thanksgiving....duck fat lasts forever....even with what I had from our previous confit. So it was a perfect time to order a duck....I get a duck from Bristol Farm. I order it from the poultry guy since I don't want one of the frozen ones. He places his orders to Mary's on Fridays and Wednesdays.....I do the Wednesday order thing, it arrives on Friday, I pick up early Saturday morning, along with two extra legs. Why? Well, unless you see any four legged ducks out there.....
The process is simple.....you take Ducky....pat the poor fellow dry.
The Missus was amazed that I could break this baby down in less than 10 minutes. Actually, you know that's a lie....She would never be impressed because "it's just a duck, it's already dead, there are no feathers........2 minutes max!"
I then trim the fat from the carcass, I follow-up by trimming the portioned legs and breast. I then cleaned up the skin and fat by taking off excess bits of meat and other "stuffs".
We are then ready to go. I slice the fat into thin strips and put into a heavy bottomed pan. I turn the heat to medium and add a half-cup of bottled or filtered water.
You may ask "water???" But yes, water. It helps to keep the skin and fat from burning during the rendering process...really!
When things start getting kind of exciting....lot's of bubbling, I turn the heat down a smidge.....
After about 35 minutes to 45 minutes you start getting something that looks like this going on.
A few minutes later you're ready to strain the whole thing. And you end up with this.
Yep, duck cracklins. I dropped a small packet off for our good friend "YY" and the rest we used as salad toppings. And heck, I just read that duck fat might be a healthy alternative to butter. Anyway, a little goes a long way.....folks have used duck fat to preserve food...as in duck confit. I used what I had in the fridge and about 2/3 of a cup of the recently rendered fat, leaving me with a cup for other stuffs.
I mean really, this duck and parts ain't cheap, like over $40...however, 2 meals from breasts, bones for soup, 4 legs confit...duck fat and cracklins.....priceless.
Trying to figure out how to do the duck breasts within the limits of the Whole 30 was interesting......
We settled on slowly searing the breasts, crisping the skin while rendering the fat, draining periodically. While the duck finished in the oven. I used some of the rendered fat to saute vegetables, some of which, like the padron peppers came from our garden, flavoring with a natural Date Vinegar with no added sugar we bought in Ghent. I then took the rest of the rendered fat from the breasts and made a sauce of sorts with the vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Oh, and you can't forget that these had been seasoned with five-spice from QingDao....after all, according to the Missus, duck is not duck without that flavor profile.