Roasted Duck Fat Potatoes

8 Oct

This week’s recipe is very simple, and is actually a setup for next week’s recipe. At the same time, this recipe also carries a mandate: you should be cooking with duck fat. Not only does it have an excellent nutritional profile, it is an ideal roasting fat. Potatoes in particular really shine when cooked in duck fat.

Ducks have been consumed since prehistory, but the Chinese were the first to domesticate them, over 3,000 years ago. It may surprise you but nearly all domesticated ducks, including the white Pekin duck which is the most commonly-consumed duck, are descended from Mallard ducks. The only exception is the Muscovy duck, which is a native of Central America, and has recently been gaining ground as a domesticated duck raised for food. Ducks have a thick layer of fat between their muscles and skin, to help them stay buoyant. Up until the 1900s, duck breast was more often than not served rare, something that most people nowadays (myself included) would have a hard time stomaching.

Serves four

2-3 lbs white potatoes (Russet, Yukon Gold), peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
1/4 cup duck fat
sea salt to taste

Peel and cut your potatoes, then put them in a pot and fill with enough water to cover the potatoes by an inch.

Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 2 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Drain and rinse the potatoes with cold water, shaking them around to rough up the edges. Continue to rinse with cold water until they are cold to the touch, about 3 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels.

Parboiling potatoes may seem like an unnecessary extra step, but it allows for some of the starch to cook out of the potatoes. When cooking, the starch turns to sugar and can brown the potatoes before they can get really crisp. So this method will allow you to get a good balance of soft on the inside, and crunchy on the outside. This is done in many restaurants, especially in Europe.

Put the duck fat in a rimmed baking sheet, then put the baking sheet in the oven to warm, about 5 minutes. Take the baking sheet out of the oven, add the potatoes and turn the potatoes so they are evenly coated with duck fat. Put the sheet in the oven to roast for 30 minutes, then flip. Increase the heat to 450 and roast for another 20 minutes, then flip again. Roast until they are golden brown, about another 10 minutes. Patience is key – don’t take the potatoes out of the oven just because your timer says to – the potatoes will tell you when they’re done, because they’ll look incredible and smell just as good as they look.

Pull the beautiful potatoes from the oven, place on some paper towels to drain, and season with sea salt to taste.

For future experiments, try adding root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, turnips, and rutabaga cut in similar sizes to the roasting pan (no need to boil ahead of time).

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32 Responses to “Roasted Duck Fat Potatoes”

  1. Ada ~ More Food, Please October 8, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    Yummy! I’ve never had potatoes roasted in duck fat before, but I can imagine how flavorful it is. Now I need to get my hands on some duck fat!

  2. primalgastro October 8, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    Brilliant- simple and decadent at the same time. I have to thank you for promoting the PHD! I don’t feel guilty about eating white potatoes anymore and I’m enjoying my Paleo lifestyle much more :)

  3. timmilford October 8, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    Quite agree. Roast Potatoes simply cannot be done without duck fat. In fact it should probably be illegal not to use it.

  4. Chris October 8, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    There’s no chance these potatoes aren’t delicious.

  5. SamN October 8, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    Thanks for the recipe. Off to locate some duck fat. I’ll be saving this recipe for xmas dinner. I’ll also be sure to recite your interesting historic information about ducks also. Nothing like making peoples food more interesting by telling them a whole bunch of awesome stuff about it! cheers

  6. AB October 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    Any recommendations on a good source to buy Duck fat?

  7. Robbie October 8, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    I will try this recipe with sweet potatoes. I can’t eat regular potatoes anymore. It really does a number on my tummy. I will let you know how it turns out.

    • Russ Crandall October 9, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

      Sounds like a plan! Let me know how it goes.

  8. Eileen @ Phoenix Helix October 8, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    I was gifted some duck fat & was wondering what to do with it. Now I know! I can’t have potatoes due to nightshade intolerance, but I will definitely be roasting up some yummy root veggies. Thanks for the inspiration! One question: I read that duck fat has a smoke point of 375. Did you notice if it smoked at the higher temps?

    • Russ Crandall October 8, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

      Hi Eileen, I haven’t ever noticed any smoking when roasting potatoes or vegetables. 375 is kind of surprising, but you’re right, I just checked!

  9. Pacific Merchants October 8, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

    As a total duck fat fries addict (Hot Doug’s in Chicago is AMAZING) I’m excited to try these. Of course, I have to get my hands on some duck fat first. . .

  10. vanbraman October 9, 2013 at 12:15 am #

    They look very tasty. I have had potatoes roasted in duck fat before and they were really good.

    Some of the best fries that I have ever had were cooked in beef fat. Animal fat can have very good flavor.

  11. Paul Halliday October 9, 2013 at 7:48 am #

    Classic! Well presented. Personally, I prefer goose fat for roast potatoes.

    For folks in the UK, you can get duck fat in just about every supermarket. You’ll find it in the oils section and also in the chilled meat section with birds. The chilled is the better stuff. Goose fat in the same places.

    • Russ Crandall October 9, 2013 at 8:59 am #

      Paul, thanks for the tips. Goose fat is very hard to find here in the US, but now you’ve inspired me to find some!

      • Paul Halliday October 9, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

        You’ll be eating it straight from the fridge! I do … like a fat sorbet. Gorgeous! It’s lighter and somehow more textured than duck.

  12. Ann October 9, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    Hi – I have been using duck fat for potatoes because there really isn’t any other fat that is safe at high temps that tasted that good! I just roast them without the simmering step – is there a reason you do that? Seems like extra work.

    • Russ Crandall October 9, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

      Hi Ann, great question. Parboiling or pre-cooking potatoes allows for some of the starch to cook out of the potatoes. When cooking, the starch turns to sugar and can brown the potatoes before they can get really crisp. Parboiling also allows you to get a good balance of soft on the inside, and crunchy on the outside. This is done in many high-end restaurants, especially in Europe. Some people just soak the potatoes in water for a while beforehand, but I’ve found that parboiling makes a consistently tasty and crispy potato. It does seem like an extra step, but the payoff is totally worth it. I’m going to amend my recipe above with this info, I realized today that I hadn’t explained this method on my site before.

      Some people feel that another way to accomplish this is to have two different fryers – one at a lower temp, one at a higher temp – to pre-cook the potatoes and then crisp them up at the end. A lot of fish and chips stalls in England use this method. Overall, I used a little of both methods – parboiling for only two minutes (4-5 mins is what many people do) and increasing the heat near the end of cooking.

      • Paul Halliday October 9, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

        For traditional British Sunday Dinner Roast Potatoes …

        First, fat into a roasting dish. Oven on. I’d got to 200C/400F. Smoke point? What’s that, then? :D

        Par-boil … kitchen technique would dictate cold water, raised to the boil and then drained; in the home, boiling water over and 3 minutes … ish. Drain.

        Now, lid on and shake the pan! That’s the magic!

        Tip out into the now warmed fat and get it back in the oven fast. The shake will give a fluffiness to the outside, catching the good fat and giving a really crisp finish.

        During cooking, shake around. Turn each individually, if you’re really into perfection.

        Same technique for any roots, even squashes.

        Happy roasting …

  13. buttoni October 9, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    Mmmmm. And I have some duck fat in my freezer. Can’t wait to try these, Russ.

  14. lanarichmond October 12, 2013 at 3:08 am #

    Roasted duck fat potatoes are absolutely delicious. Just perfect! :)

  15. elizabethjaneclarke October 22, 2013 at 4:55 am #

    Love anything with duck fat in the title. YUM!

  16. MacGirlie (@MacGirlie) October 27, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    I make a Duck Provençal recipe that does have the duck breast served rare and it’s fantastic. The skin and outside are well cooked but the center of the breast is more rare. It’s not gross at all, and you’re talking about someone who cannot stand smoked chicken (too wet and “uncooked” seeming). Give it a try. Magret de Canard (google, tons of versions out there). It’s the dish I make when I want to introduce people to duck or do something fancier for dinner guests. Crazy easy and the sauce is to die for.

    • Russ Crandall October 27, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

      Ok, I’ll definitely check it out. Thanks for the tip!

  17. Joseph Downey October 31, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

    Want duck fat? Roast a duck. You’ll have more than enough to make this recipe. In San Diego, there are several asian markets where I can purchase frozen ducks or geese for a reasonable price. Goose and duck can be very expensive if you buy them anywhere else. Even when I lived in West Michigan, I found several Asian markets which carried reasonably-priced duck. They are a wonderful resource for the culinary adventurous.

  18. Logan Meek November 16, 2013 at 11:37 pm #

    Those look great.

  19. Susanna B February 6, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

    Goose fat is quite delicious as well and keeps beautifully in the freezer.


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