Falling in love with Duck (and Duck Fat)
I'm just going to put this out there...Duck fat is awesome. When used to roast goodies, it creates heavenly crisp parcels of pure potato perfection that really cannot be surpassed in brilliance by any other method. So yeah, it's amazing. It is also *sigh* horrendously bad for you. Pure animal fat, people. This does not a healthy ingredient make, and should explicitly be saved for special meals, like Christmas or your birthday. I have fond memories of my Mum using tins of duck fat to make to die for roasted potatoes on those special occasions. It was then that my appreciation for this ingredient began.
I might sound like I'm contradicting myself..."duck fat is amazing but don't use it often". I have actually received a few emails asking me how I balance eating as both a Dietitian and a foodie, and so I might just do a post on that topic in the future. But for now, let me just insist that duck fat is not an ingredient to use frequently, it's just not. Eating well does not mean never indulging and it does not mean overly restricting your diet. No, healthy eating is about balance and knowing what the bulk of your diet should be made of. And that is not duck fat. Ok, now let's move onto appreciating this superbly delectable dish for what it is.
Last Saturday night my friend, Sarah, and I were watching an episode of Nigella Lawson, in all her sensuous glory. Nigella was making roasted duck and potatoes cooked in the fat of said duck (of course she was). I have never been a huge fan of duck when I've had it in the past, which was generally Asian-style duck. Yet there was one meal where I fell a little in love with the bird - it was last year at Bistro Vue (love) and the duck was slow cooked in an intoxicating French style. So as soon as I saw Nigella cooking her dish in a similar fashion I knew that I would adore it. And those potatoes...
Nigella's recipe for Roasted Duck Legs and Potatoes is delightfully easy (link). She really is the Queen of such meals, isn't she?
The cooking time and oven temperature had us a bit shocked, yet we followed the instructions diligently. Next time we will reduce the cooking time a little, as we really believed it to be a little keen and perhaps the cause of our slightly dry meat. But we are new to duck, so granted it may have been our inexperience. Thoughts? The potatoes were still divine though...how could they not be?
We served our duck and potatoes with green beans, which we sauteed with some garlic and extra virgin olive oil.
A little bit fancy, seriously indulgent, positively simple and completely sumptuous. Oh, it made me want to put on some Jazz, run a hot bubble bath and sip port from a crystal glass - sorry, did I just type that? Have we published already? Ok, well that's awkward. But it's true. Duck (and duck fat) will do that to you.