As the idea of me in charge of a vat of boiling duck fat is too harrowing to contemplate, my husband makes the chips in our house. I’m happy to report that my competence does however run to eating them. My husband is away for a few days this week and, last night, Hugo pussyfooted (sorry Hugo – I know that’s not very flattering) upstairs to Léo’s room to dispense a big slobbery goodnight kiss. He has never done this before and probably won’t do it again as, having woken Léo up, he got very short shrift (there was a burst of shouting and Hugo reappeared downstairs looking decidedly dejected, his tail between his legs). I realised that he obviously considers himself to be a stand-in papa, so now I’m wondering if he could bring the wood in for the hot-water boiler, take out the dustbins and then make me a big bowl of chips…
Chips, or French fries, cooked in duck fat are a speciality of Southwestern France. Duck fat is high in monounsaturated fats, which make up 50 percent of its total fat content, with saturated fat making up just 14 percent (much less than butter). Most of that fat is linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that helps maintain healthy cells, muscles and nervous system. It also boosts calcium absorption and aids in kidney function. From a nutritional point of view, duck fat is comparable to olive oil.
Ingredients (serves 6)
2 kg floury potatoes
2 litres duck or goose fat
Peel the potatoes and cut into medium-sized chips (roughly 6cm long, 4mm thick). Rince and dry in a clean tea towel. Place the fat in a deep frying or chip pan and heat to 150°C. Plunge half of the potatoes into the hot fat for four minutes, remove, drain and set aside. Repeat with the second half. Then recook the first batch for a further four minutes until golden brown. Remove, drain well, season and serve. Repeat with the second half.