I have been bursting-at-the-seams excited about something happening in my kitchen this week.
Something so scintillating, it has propelled my kitchen into a place of magic.
It is a magic elixir.
It is duck-stock. (What, you want a recipe? Couldn’t be simpler. Take everything from the duck that you didn’t eat — backbone, neck, all other bones, gizzards, skin, rendered fat, everything — put it in a pot, cover with water, simmer 4-24 hours, cool slightly, strain it, skim off fat and save it, reduce the stock if desired, and store it.)
Made from the remnants of Christmas dinner, this precious liquid also gave me something else: duck-fat.
Shiver of excitement (Yes, I stole that line from Alton Brown. He summed it up perfectly.)
These two substances have led me to the question: what to do with them?
The duck-fat query is the easier question to answer: anything. It’s one of the finest cooking fats in the world and can beat up bacon-fat and take its lunch-money any day of the week. Its flavor is unsurpassed and the smell… oh my, the smell. If you’ve never had the pleasure, please, let me know, and I’ll invite you over next time I’m cooking with it. I’m always looking for an excuse to pop up some pop-corn in duck-fat. Yes, you read that right.
Shiver of excitement
But what to do with the stock? Being totally flummoxed, I asked Facebook and immediately got nothing-short-of-inspiring answers from my friends Heather and Adri: risotto.
I’m just gonna let that sink in for a minute.
Ok, are you better now? Because I certainly felt as though I had been taken by a case of the vapors when I first heard their suggestion. However, I think I’m going to wait until the spring to make it because I can think of nothing better than fresh in-season asparagus to go into the risotto with my favorite fowl.
So what to do in the meantime?
I thought about putting it in a soup: something simple that would really let the stock shine. Perhaps a cream-less potato-leek soup? That certainly sounds amazing! But what could I do if I wanted to expand beyond soup?
Duck pot-pies! Poach up some duck in the duck stock and then use it to make the gravy that goes in the pie — glorious, yes? And we all know that the crust is easy to make (if you have the right recipe that calls for some vodka), but really good fat makes for really good pastry…
You see where I’m going with this, right? It’s only logical:
Duck-fat pie-crust! YESSSSS!
I did a bit of research, and of course, I’m not the first one to think of this (Exhibit A | Exhibit B). It turns out that duck fat is excellent in pastry, producing a wonderfully flaky and flavorful crust. Which means…
It’s on like Donkey Kong.
I simply can’t wait to do this. You know you’ll be hearing from me when I get an opportunity to get into the kitchen and go bananas!