Recipes, Adventure and More
|French goose and duck fat: A Golden Treasure
French goose and duck fat: A GoldenTreasure © 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."
$29 for TWO 11.28 oz. jars French-style duck fat with shipping to all US addresses--please read update above
The humblegoose is the source of luxury down, goose meat, foie gras, and golden goose fat.
Food historianMaguelonne Toussaint-Samat, writes in her tome History of Food,“In the South of France, goose fat is as important as butter in Normandy orolive oil in Provence. It is more than just a cooking fat; it is an article offaith.”
When geese are fed lots of corn to fatten up their livers before they areharvested for foie gras, the whole bird becomes fattened up, includingthe meat and skin. When a goose is cut apart to prepare it for cooking, as the French rarelyroast a whole bird as the Chinese do, most of the skin is reserved to make goosefat. The thickened skin, which can be as thick as 1/2-inch, is cut intobite-sized cubes and placed in a copper pot with a little water. (The waterhelps 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. Someadd a little salt and sugar to the liquefied fat which helps sink the crispyskins to the bottom of the pot. In France, crispy skins, or cracklings, arecalled gratons,and are seasoned with salt and pepper and served as an appetizer with anaperitif.
When it cools,goose fat is a beautiful pale yellow and solid at room temperature, but softerthan lard. The French goose fat I sell comes packed in a can that you can leaveat 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 fatis good for pastry, but I find the dough easily falls apart. Hence, I muchprefer lard. Since goose fat is stable at high temperatures, it is great forfrying potatoes (see recipe on back panel), but one of the most classic dishesincorporating goose fat is the French cassoulet. This classic dish can be made with pork orlamb, but some of the best are made with goose. Cassoulet recipes are long andtime-consuming in preparation—but are well worth the effort. The basicingredients are beans and confit d’Oie,which is goose meat preserved in goose fat.
In SallyFallon’s Nourishing Traditions (pg. 244) she quotes a New York Times article that talks about the long-lived inhabitants ofGascony, a region of southwest France. Gascons revel in the use of good fatslike goose fat. They slather it on bread instead of butter, much like Germansspread rye bread with Grieben Schmalz,an interesting and ubiquitous a lard/crackling combo. A10-year French study mentioned in the New York Times articlerevealed that although Gascons eat one of the most fatty diets in theindustrialized world, they also have the lowest rate of heart and cardiovasculardisease in France.
According to Mary Enig, lipid scientist and author of Know Your Fats, goose fat contains 35 percent saturated fat, 52 percent monounsaturated fats and about 13 percent polyunsaturated—hence, should be classified as a monounsaturated fat.
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
2-4Tbsp. duck fat
1-2Tbsp. dried rosemary
Heatthe duck fat in thick-bottomed pan, such as cast iron or stainless steel fryingpan. When the fat is hot, add the potatoes. Sprinkle the dried rosemary ontop of the potatoes. Let fry without turning until the first side is goldenbrown (you can test a few by peeking under them). If needed, be ready to addmore duck fat a little at a time. Turn several times until the potatoes aredone.