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How To Render Duck Fat

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I think it is probably hard to convey, in writing, exactly how giddy this photo makes me. Do you see that beautiful, clear, golden liquid? That’s duck fat. Otherwise known as, “one of the most delicious substances you could possibly ever consume.” Also known as, “nearly impossible to find without paying a fortune.” Finally, known as, “the substance Katy is so in love with that her parents worry she will die of a heart attack at 26.”

Heart heath aside, I am so incredibly excited to have this little jar in my fridge (and two others in my freezer). And I am extra, extra, extra excited to share it with all of you! So let me start at the beginning.

Sometime in early 2008, I came to the conclusion that many dishes, be they vegetable, soup, or sauce, could be improved with a richer, more flavorful cooking fat. I like olive oil as much as the next girl, and I’ll use butter on occasion, but I was intrigued with the idea of cooking with other types of fat. I experimented with sesame oil, dabbled in truffle oil, but finally I realized what my dishes were lacking: duck fat.

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So, I started looking. None of the grocery stores in my neighborhood sell duck, except in the prepackaged D’Artagnan ziplocs — no duck fat scraps to be had there. But in the back of my mind, I remembered the meat sellers at the farmer’s market. If you can buy a duck breast or leg at the farmer’s market, I figured, the rest of the bird is pretty likely to be for sale as well (the same is probably true of a good butcher, if there’s not a farmer’s market near you).

Sure enough, the following Saturday, I asked at the farmer’s market if the duck meat vendor had any fat for sale. The man gave me a curious look, and said, “we don’t bring it every week, but if you give me your name a week in advance, I can take an orde