IT'S POTATO WEATHER.
Duck fat potatoes aren't just for winter. They're for rainy days, sunny days, and all sorts of emotional weather, too.
It’s potato weather. And if it hasn’t actually been raining where you are, then it’s probably emotional potato weather anyway. So I propose: duck fat potatoes.
These are ridiculously good at any time of the year, but they are perfect for adding scrunch to a warm, early Autumn salad when you least expect it. Great with my roast chicken tray salad instead of boiled spuds. Great with a steak. Great with a cocktail.
Duck fat, goose fat, whatever. Buy it by the can and it will last forever and a day. Or save the rendered fat from roasting a duck, strain out any ickies, and store in the fridge. Raid a spoonful when frying eggs, baking vegetables, roasting chicken.
How come duck fat potatoes are so good? Because the high smoking point of the fat means you can get an incredible golden crunch without burning and - miraculously - without greasiness.
Need to know: Instead of standing at the stove moving the little critters around in the duck fat for half an hour, just bung the lot in the oven and they will crisp beautifully in the time it takes to decide what you’re going to have with them. Even if it’s just a cocktail.
The bonus here - apart from the mandated laziness - is the spuds seem to absorb less of the fat when roasted rather than fried.
Roast alongside whole garlic cloves and thyme sprigs.
Throw in a sliced red onion that turns into Onion Frizz (see pic above)
Toss the end result in sea salt mixed with fennel seeds and/or roasted chilli.
DUCK FAT POTATOES
2 large potatoes (pontiacs, dutch creams, desiree, sebago)
3 tbsp duck or goose fat
Sea salt and a few sprigs of rosemary
HEAT the oven to 210 C. Dollop the duck fat onto a medium oven tray (that doesn’t leak) and place in the oven to melt.
PEEL the potatoes and cut into 2 cm cubes. Carefully remove the tray of melted duck fat (maybe place the smaller tray on a baking sheet to make it safer to move in and out) and add the potatoes, socially distanced, turning once to coat in the fat.
BAKE for 30 minutes (check occasionally, you don’t want any smoke), then flip them over and bake for a further 15 minutes or until crisp and golden.
DRAIN off the duck fat (strain and use again) and toss the potatoes in sea salt and rosemary.
Please note, kitchen vultures will swoop in over your shoulder at this stage and carry off your duck-fat potatoes when you are not looking.
As a nod to this week’s International Women’s Day, a big shout-out to Olia Hercules, Ukrainian-born cook, author and activist #cookforukraine. Not least for relating the story of the woman in Kyiv who knocked down a Russian drone by hurling a 3 litre jar of her fermented tomatoes at it. See? Women can do anything.
Thanks for reading – it’s your turn now, to add a comment, or share with a friend, or subscribe for more Jill Dupleix Eats in your inbox (free!) every Thursday. Special thanks to my right-hand man, Terry Durack, for leaving enough potatoes on the tray for me to have some too.
I would also like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands and waters upon which I work, live, cook and play; the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. I fully support the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice to be enshrined in Australia’s Constitution. It’s about time, folks.
I've had a few requests to make it easier to print out the recipe as a single page (I know! So annoying!), so I asked the lovely people at Substack, the platform for this newsletter. They don't have that facility yet, but if anyone wants a recipe emailed to them as a one-page attachment, let me know on firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send it out. xJ