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Fat!


Lori in PA
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I've become rather obsessed with fat in the past few months -- not cutting it out of my diet, like most, but gathering it to myself and treasuring it! I have questions, in no particular order:

--At the moment, I've just rendered chicken fat from excess skin and fat on 9 lbs. of chicken thighs. I've also browned said thighs in preparation for a braise, which gave off lots of fat and juice. Can I keep this liquid for storage and later use in cooking, or does the fact that I thoroughly browned the thighs in it somehow render it unsafe for later use?

--What types of fat should I be saving? I've got duck fat, pork fat, bacon fat, and now chicken fat. Beef fat?

--Can I reuse duck/pork fat for confit after confit or is it a one-time-use-only thing?

~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

My egullet blog: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=89647&hl=

"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

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I've become rather obsessed with fat in the past few months -- not cutting it out of my diet, like most, but gathering it to myself and treasuring it!  I have questions, in no particular order:

--At the moment, I've just rendered chicken fat from excess skin and fat on 9 lbs. of chicken thighs.  I've also browned said thighs in preparation for a braise, which gave off lots of fat and juice.  Can I keep this liquid for storage and later use in cooking, or does the fact that I thoroughly browned the thighs in it somehow render it unsafe for later use?

--What types of fat should I be saving?  I've got duck fat, pork fat, bacon fat, and now chicken fat.  Beef fat?

--Can I reuse duck/pork fat for confit after confit or is it a one-time-use-only thing?

Myself, I would totally save the fat from browning those chicken thighs. Once it had cooled down, I would taste it (fat rendered from cooking some other dish can sometimes get too overly salty or seasoned), and then decide from there whether to store it separately or add it to any already-existing stashes of schmaltz. You can also save any fat that's congealed on top of containers of soup, stews, etc., again tasting to see how the original dish's seasoning has affected it. But in terms of wholesomeness, it's just fine. In fact I think fat from browning meat gets a nice nutty flavor that's not a drawback but an asset.

I haven't done a whole lot with beef fat, but I believe that's fair game for saving and rendering too. And my understanding is that fat from around kidneys is supposed to be really choice. Dunno anything about reusing confit fat. Hopefully somebody a whole lot more knowledgeable about that will weigh in on all of this...

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You can definately reuse the fat from duck confit. It will become too salty after a while and should be thrown away. How many "confits" you get depends on how salty you cure your duck.

The rest of the stuff I don't know...

May the schmaltz be with you.. :biggrin:

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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Rendering beef fat has become one of my favourite things. I rendered the fat from some beef stock I made a while ago and I use if for frying potatoes and making yorkshire pudding.

Today I visited my favourite butcher at Whole Foods and while buying a rib roast I asked him what the do with the fat cap they usually cut off the roasts (I don't let them cut it off mine). When he said they normally throw it out, I asked for any that they had in the back. I came away with a nice few chunks of beef fat that I will render tomorrow.

There's nothing quite like potatoes fried in beef fat and if you don't have enough pan drippings to make yorkshires, you can go to your trusty stash of beef fat.

I love beef fat.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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So it's ok to add the fat from the browned thighs right in with my "pure" schmaltz from rendering chicken skins?

Totally okay. I've done that many times.

The only reason IMO to keep them separate would be the flavor issue--for instance, if you wanted to reserve one really neutral-flavored batch of schmaltz for more light-flavored cooking.

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So it's ok to add the fat from the browned thighs right in with my "pure" schmaltz from rendering chicken skins?

I think browned fat should be considered 'spent' and therefore unhealthy. If you do want to use it, I'd keep it separate from your clean rendered fat.

The fat from homemade confit can be used for potatoes, stews, soups, etc., but if you have used it to brown the confit, I wouldn't put it back with cleaner fat.

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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I have been thinking about fat, recently, too :smile:

I have a jar in my fridge with olive oil that I used to make the coddled pork from Paula Wolferts Slow Meditteranean. I used the same fat a week later to 'coddle' some goose legs, and since then I have been using spoonfuls of the stuff to saute onions, add to braises etc. It's good stuff! But I am wondering, how long does it keep? If I want to coddle something again, this amount won't be enough. Can I just replenish with fresh oil.. but that way there will always be a little bit of fat in there that just keeps getting older and older, and that sort of worries me.

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Can I just replenish with fresh oil.. but that way there will always be a little bit of fat in there that just keeps getting older and older, and that sort of worries me.

Exactly the kind of thing I've been wondering, Klary!

My fat from browning the thighs looks SOOOO dark compared to the "pure" chicken fat. I didn't burn the meat at all, so that isn't it, but the difference is striking. Paula, I vaguely remembered you, I think, making a comment (perhaps on the duck confit thread?) about fat used for browning being carcinogenic. If it was you, could you explain a little more fully?

~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

My egullet blog: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=89647&hl=

"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

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. Can I just replenish with fresh oil.. but that way there will always be a little bit of fat in there that just keeps getting older and older, and that sort of worries me.

It's not getting older, it's maturing :laugh:. At one time or another, I've had:

Schmaltz

Duck Fat

Lard

Tallow

Bacon Drippings

Butter

Shrimp Butter (fry shrimp in butter, add water and more butter, chill, scrape of the wonderful orange fat that floats to the top and spread on toast)

in my fridge, one time, all at once. I love cooking with fats and just a tiny bit is enough to round out the flavour of a meal.

One of my most favourite secret dishes I learned from good eats is, after roasting a chicken, to take the roasted chicken fat from the bottom of the pan and use it in a salad dressing over some simple greens. The amount of flavour that gets packed into that chicken fat makes some of the best salad dressing I've ever tried. Potato chips fried in tallow is also amazing and bacon drippings are god like in their power to perfume a dish.

But probably my now favourite, all round versatile fat is duck fat from an aged duck confit.

PS: I am a guy.

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Bacon fat has to be my favorite. Since I stopped being vegetarian a few months ago, I've gone pretty crazy with bacon, and in doing so, acquired a lot of bacon fat. I keep it in my fridge and take out a little whenever I need it - my favorite use is cooking scrambled eggs in it. At first, when I was truly in a meat frenzy, I took a shot glass full of bacon fat to IHOP and used it as a condiment - french fries dipped in bacon fat, pancakes topped with bacon fat, bacon dipped in bacon fat... I can't say I'd make a habit of it, but it was really good.

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I have some lovely rendered beef fat in my freezer. One of the advantages of raising a steer is that the feed and activity of the animal can be monitored and if it is raised by 4-H kids for competition, it packs on a lot of muscle and fat because that is what wins at the shows.

In particular there is the pure white, kidney suet which renders out to a clear, almost colorless liquid that imparts a wonderful flavor to anything fried in it. Baby Yukon golds, cut in half and fried with the skins on are especially nice.

It also adds a lovely texture to steamed puddings and short pastry for savory pies. It has to be almost frozen before cutting into the flour and is a bit of work, however the results are well worth the effort.

Bacon drippings are a staple both for cooking fat and for flavoring everything from cornbread to green beans, greens, brussell sprouts, baked beans, dried beans, etc.

Duck fat is always on hand, too many uses to list but certainly I couldn't make paté without it.

I also have some goose fat in the freezer.

I don't use a lot of chicken fat because for some reason it doesn't set well with me.

I use lard in most pie crust, biscuits, scones, some fruit cakes, and etc.

I use Crisco for a couple of recipes that simply do not work with anything else and I have tried various substitutes.

Olive oil of various grades and tastes, the greener ones do have to be fresh.

Canola oil, corn oil, avocado oil, tea oil, all have their uses.

I use coconut oil in smoothies and for a few special recipes.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Thanks for the ideas re salad dressing, etc.

Well, I ended up pouring my browned thigh fat into a separate jar. If I don't control this new fun, my fridge is gonna be overrun with mayo jars of fats! Thanks for the article link re used cooking fat, Paula.

~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

My egullet blog: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=89647&hl=

"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

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Thanks, Andiesenji, for clearing up my question - in advance! - about whether you can freeze beef fat. I've had some in my freezer for a fortnight and I only put it in on the assumption that nothing happens to the fat on a frozen steak after it's defrosted, but I wasn't sure if it would be OK - had a vague feeling of worry about it. Now I am - thanks again.

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Every time I go past the beef suet at my supermarket I almost buy it thinking it would be great for fried potatoes. I take it I should go for it, yes?

We used some leftover lard for frying potatoes and it was good. When it set the next morning, it looked pretty clean so we used it again to fry some sweet potatos. How many times can I do that, assuming there is a minimum of bits n' things... which I could sift out anyway, now that I think about it.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Every time I go past the beef suet at my supermarket I almost buy it thinking it would be great for fried potatoes.  I take it I should go for it, yes?

We used some leftover lard for frying potatoes and it was good.  When it set the next morning, it looked pretty clean so we used it again to fry some sweet potatos.  How many times can I do that, assuming there is a minimum of bits n' things... which I could sift out anyway, now that I think about it.

Hmm, never seen suet in the supermarket. Where is it normally kept? I've seen lard, but understand that the kind you buy in a supermarket is not good to use since it has been hydrogenated. I wonder if this is the same with the suet too...

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Kidney suet usually looks like lumpy or even crumbly fat, almost pure white and it is that way when it is trimmed away from the kidney and surrounding tissue. Once rendered it is liquid but solidifies as it cools, chilling in the refrigerator makes it a solid. It is never hydrogenated.

Plain fresh lard is rendered from "leaf" lard and is not usually hydrogenated because it is naturally a "plastic" fat, that is, solid at room temp.

Liquid vegetable fat is hydrogenated to make it solid.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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To accompany The Great Souffle Experiment last night, I made a quick vinaigrette for the salad with some of the browned chicken thigh schmaltz. I thought it was: OK. I didn't mention the change and none of my family commented on it, so I don't think it was just me. I used fat:white wine vinegar 3:1, salt, pepper, smidge of Dijon and tossed it with romaine, frisee, a bit of minced red onion, and topped with a spoonful of crumbled bacon.

~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

My egullet blog: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=89647&hl=

"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

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never seen suet in the supermarket. Where is it normally kept?

It's with the marrow bones, smoked hamhocks, salt pork and tripe. That's the section all the kids go "eeeeww!" when they walk by. The beef suet is quite the unattractive package, white-ish with a streak of blood hither and yon, crumbly, about the size of a small boule, and cheap: $1.09 or so per lump.

We used snowcap lard which is definitely hydrogenated, so I'm peeking into this new frontier for inspiration. I did learn from a chef-friend that duckfat is reusable for a long time. He also said he'd show me some tricks if I wanted to get a few whole duck so I can render my own fat then get into some exciting duck recipes.

But what about this beef suet idea?

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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johnnyd,

Render some suet and try frying potatoes in it, either sliced or cut in wedges. You don't need al lot of fat, you can use it for deep-frying but I simply scrub potatoes, Yukon Golds are especially good, cut them into slices or wedges, dry them well with paper towels then transfer them to a cast iron skillet in two layers, if sliced, one layer if wedges, with about 1/2 inch of fat. When the edges of the slices begin to brown, I try to turn the potatoes in batches, about 1/4 of the skillet at a time but with a smaller skillet and a larger turner, it is possible to turn the entire batch at once.

The second side will probably cook faster because the potatoes are hot. When they first go into the skillet, they are cool and will cool the fat a little.

I like them very brown and crusty, but you have to fix yours the way you like.

I don't think you will be sorry.

I think the reason that French Fries in restaurants do not taste the way they used to is because they are no longer fried in beef fat.

Back in the '50s, in Wisconsin, my step-dad's sister managed a Howard Johnson's and I know for a fact that their French Fries, fish, clams and other deep-fried items were fried in a mixture of beef fat and lard that came in 10-gallon cans.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Excellent!

Okay, I looked at that stuff a million times and it finally dawned on me that it was the stuff people brought to high heat and fried things in back before there were buckets of fryolater oil. And the talk on eGullet promoted alternative, old-school fry-media for better flavor - I'm all for it!

Thanks! Fry Fest tonight! :biggrin:

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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I used to use bacon fat for hashed brown potatoes. MMmmmmmmmm...... :raz:

Seems a lifetime ago now.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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I've become rather obsessed with fat in the past few months -- not cutting it out of my diet, like most, but gathering it to myself and treasuring it!  I have questions, in no particular order:

--At the moment, I've just rendered chicken fat from excess skin and fat on 9 lbs. of chicken thighs.  I've also browned said thighs in preparation for a braise, which gave off lots of fat and juice.  Can I keep this liquid for storage and later use in cooking, or does the fact that I thoroughly browned the thighs in it somehow render it unsafe for later use?

--What types of fat should I be saving?  I've got duck fat, pork fat, bacon fat, and now chicken fat.  Beef fat?

--Can I reuse duck/pork fat for confit after confit or is it a one-time-use-only thing?

After much searching I was able to find a place that processes and sells top quality "leaf Lard". See:

http://www.mountainfolk.com/dietrich.asp

I usually order (5) one pound containers and keep one on the countertop and the remaining in the fridge. It makes unbelievable old fashioned biscuits and cornbread. I particularly enjoy their plain country smoked sausage. They took my personal check and the transaction was completed with no problems at all.

I also really enjoy the pure 100% virgin coconut oil that you can get from " Tropical Traditions."

Edited by clearblue (log)
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