Rendered Duck Fat
Turn unwanted duck skin to liquid gold – rendered duck fat is both a delicious and frugal way to cook. A jar of duck fat does not come cheap but it is almost costless to make at home! The French loves to cook with duck fat. Anything and everything tastes better in duck fat. Duck fat is great for pop corn and duck confit. Or just use it in place of olive oil when you pan fry an egg, roast vegetables/potatoes, in stir-fries and salad dressings.
I started to learn this because I cook Chinese-style duck soup fairly regularly where the skin needs to be removed to prevent an oily film on the surface after cooking. After some time, I reckon I need to do something about the wastage ;) Nowadays I even asked my mum to freeze her unwanted duck skin for me, much to her bafflement at first. Once you make rendered duck fat, you will never throw the skin away again! Check out the step-by-step pictures further down the post.
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You will get: (1) golden duck fat oil right after rendering. When chilled in the fridge, the oil turns into (2) a creamy white solid state resembling butter. As a bonus treat, you get (3) the crispiest duck cracklings which is a result of the duck skin deep frying in its own oil during the rendering process.
These duck fat “crouton” cracklings are incredibly crispy. They make a great snack (on their own or lightly salted) and as salad toppings.
When chilled in the fridge, the duck fat solidifies into this dreamy creamy texture.
The solidified duck fat is spreadable, like butter.
Duck fat can be used for a variety of dishes. Here they are used to cook baby potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
|Click on photo to view full size|
|Note: Ingredients, seasonings and measurements are at the “Printable Recipe” link above.|
|Remove the skin and fats from the duck while avoiding the skin. P.S. These duck meat were meant for cooking Chinese szechuan vegetable duck soup.|
|Freeze the duck skin and fats until a good amount are collected (for me it’s two ducks worth of skin). Thaw them before use.|
|Cut them to uniform small sizes like this…|
|… or even smaller like this (depends on the size of duck cracklings you like).|
|Place all the cut duck skin to occupy the bottom of a heavy-bottomed pan (I am using a 28 cm wokpan here). Refer to printable recipe for the measurements.|
|Pour in water. Refer to printable recipe for the measurements. When the water comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer…|
|… this is what the rendering process look like at the 15 minute mark. As the water evaporates, the fat is rendered out, cooking the skin in its own oil.|
|This is what the rendering process look like at the 30 minute mark. Rather than checking the time (most recipes I tried recommended 1 hour which was why I burnt them on my first attempt), observe the colour of the duck cracklings. It is almost done here. You don’t want to take your eyes off them from now on.|
|Turn up the heat slightly for just a few more minutes (about 3 minutes), and it is done! You can see that the duck cracklings are now shrunken and golden. Turn the heat off, otherwise everything will be burnt.|
|Filter the oil through a sieve to separate the cracklings. They are perfect :)|
|Store duck oil and cracklings in separate tightly lid jars. When chilled, the golden duck oil turns a solid creamy beige. You can also freeze the duck fat in ice-cube trays.|