My romantic old darling brought me home a duck last night and I am making many plans for it because he says I can eat it all myself!! I'm not much of a meat eater but I do love a duck!
I have decided to confit the legs (plus another two I have in the freezer) and roast or pan fry the breasts in a couple of wonderful ways and I also might make some duck soup of the Chinese persuasion or maybe ... ooh I don't know, more about the results of these plans later. However the idea of confitting sent my mind running along skin and fat in general and duck and chicken skin and fat in particular.
Of course it goes without saying that all leftover duck fat resulting from roasting a duck should be set aside in the fridge and used to roast potatoes which will then be remarkably delicious.
Bits of leftover chicken skin can just be popped into a hot oven till crisp and served as a nibble or garnish.
These are diced duck skin with any adhering fat which have been fried (boiled in oil according to one Gascon recipe I recently read) till crisp, seasoned and served as a snack or garnish. I have often done a similar thing when serving duck breasts in a restaurant situation - I remove the skin, toss with salt and pepper and olive oil, spread them on a baking tray and cook in the always on hot oven till crisp. They make a fine crunchy contrast to the tender breast meat.
This is a Yiddish term for rendered chicken fat (pronounced שמאַלץ according to Wikipedia!) and is essential in many kosher dishes such as chopped liver and matzo balls or sometimes just eaten on toast instead of butter. As with duck fat a small amount can result from roasting a chicken, especially a fatty one, but it is easy and well worthwhile to make it on purpose too. Gather together, in the freezer is fine, enough fatty chicken skin to make the job worthwhile and then ...
~ Chop the skin and fat in 10mm or so pieces.
~ Spread over the bottom of a preferably non-stick frying pan, cover and cook over gentle heat for 10-15 minutes until the fat starts to render out and pool in the pan.
~ Remover the lid, turn up the heat to medium and continue cooking till there is plenty of melted fat at the skin is curly and starting to turn brown, maybe another 15 minutes.
~ Turn off the heat and allow to cool a little then strain through a metal seive - the melted fat is the schmaltz; cool to room temperature and then store in the fridge till needed.
~ Don't throw away the skin - now is the time to make ...
~ Add about and equal quantity of thinly sliced onion and cook together till all are crisp and golden.
~ Season with salt and pepper
~ Using a slotted spoon carefully lift the gribenes from any malted fat in the pan then spread them out on a piece of kitchen roll to drain and cool.
~ Add any remaining fat in the pan to the cooling schmaltz, it will taste even better than before.
In other news ...
If these are just a few of the suggestions I can think of for leftover skin and fat don't you wonder what ideas I have for the other 450 potential leftovers in my book The Leftovers Handbook?
I was glad to hear a lady on the bus (yes) the other day telling her husband how she was going to take the lettuce out the leftover salad and then make a stir fry with the rest. Good girl!