French goose and duck fat: A Golden Treasure © Mother Linda's
You can no longer buy French goose fat in the United States, but I have wonderful duck fat from Rougie, the same French company that used to export goose fat to the US. Rougie recently started working with a duck farm in Quebec.
Duck fat is wonderfully golden and has a fatty acid profile similar to goose fat. I know you will love it. If you would like to buy duck fat from Rougie, click on the PayPal link below.
The article below is a legacy piece about products of the humble goose, but the principles apply to ducks, too, except perhaps "duck down."
The humble goose is the source of luxury down, goose meat, foie gras, and golden goose fat.
Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat, writes in her tome
History of Food,
“In the South of France, goose fat is as important as butter in Normandy or
olive oil in Provence. It is more than just a cooking fat; it is an article of
When geese are fed lots of corn to fatten up their livers before they are harvested for foie gras, the whole bird becomes fattened up, including the meat and skin. When a goose is cut apart to prepare it for cooking, as the French rarely roast a whole bird as the Chinese do, most of the skin is reserved to make goose fat. The thickened skin, which can be as thick as 1/2-inch, is cut into bite-sized cubes and placed in a copper pot with a little water. (The water helps the skin not stick to the bottom of the pot and eventually evaporates). The fat is slowly melted over very low heat—which is called rendering. Some add a little salt and sugar to the liquefied fat which helps sink the crispy skins to the bottom of the pot. In France, crispy skins, or cracklings, are called gratons, and are seasoned with salt and pepper and served as an appetizer with an aperitif.
When it cools, goose fat is a beautiful pale yellow and solid at room temperature, but softer than lard. The French goose fat I sell comes packed in a can that you can leave at room temperature until it is opened and thereafter keep in the refrigerator. After opening the can, you can also transfer the goose fat into a glass jar.
Some say goose fat
is good for pastry, but I find the dough easily falls apart. Hence, I much
prefer lard. Since goose fat is stable at high temperatures, it is great for
frying potatoes (see recipe on back panel), but one of the most classic dishes
incorporating goose fat is the French
This classic dish can be made with pork or
lamb, but some of the best are made with goose. Cassoulet recipes are long and
time-consuming in preparation—but are well worth the effort. The basic
ingredients are beans and
which is goose meat preserved in goose fat.
(pg. 244) she quotes a
New York Times
article that talks about the long-lived inhabitants of
Gascony, a region of southwest France. Gascons revel in the use of good fats
like goose fat. They slather it on bread instead of butter, much like Germans
spread rye bread with
an interesting and ubiquitous
a lard/crackling combo.
10-year French study mentioned in the
New York Times
revealed that although Gascons eat one of the most fatty diets in the
industrialized world, they also have the lowest rate of heart and cardiovascular
disease in France.
For an out-of-this-world dish, fry potatoes in goose or duck fat seasoned with dried rosemary. A little duck fat goes a long way. Dried rosemary gives off the most amazing aroma—one that fills the whole house—so you might want to double the recipe.
2.5 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes
Tbsp. duck fat
Tbsp. dried rosemary
Heat the duck fat in thick-bottomed pan, such as cast iron or stainless steel frying pan. When the fat is hot, add the potatoes. Sprinkle the dried rosemary on top of the potatoes. Let fry without turning until the first side is golden brown (you can test a few by peeking under them). If needed, be ready to add more duck fat a little at a time. Turn several times until the potatoes are done.