December 7, 2009

Goose Fat-Fried Pommes Frites

(First things first - here is my photographic tribute to the Hawkeyes - Orange Bowl Bound! The bear used to wear an Iowa Hawkeyes sweater, but that was replaced by the turtle shell that he now sports. No, I did not eat that particular turtle, but that gives me an idea for a future post...)

In their early greatness, by the shores of Gitche Gumee by the shining Big-Sea-Water, the native Americans are said to have let no scrap of their buffalo victims go to waste. While not exactly inspired by this noble ideal so much as by my taste for worldly excess, I would like to describe my Thanksgiving tribute to the ancient Iowans whose culture was obviously more humane and evolved than our own... NOT.

This discussion will dovetail nicely with my sister's record of our recent post-Thanksgiving goose - that description being deficient in this key point: THAT GOOSE WAS ONE FAT HONKER. I don't think the picture of the whole goose in her post realistically depicts the sheer volume of grease (oil, fat, lard, blubber, tallow!) that graced the roasting pan when it was time for me to make the gravy. Now, I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that most people would not have thought twice about decanting this syrupy mess and throwing it away, but I was under the influence of at least two trains of thought that made me, at that particular moment, unlike most people.
  • Number 1 - as soon as we decided we were going to cook a goose, I had been looking forward to cooking the goose liver. Fate intervened, however, and the liver was thrown in a pot of boiling water along with the other offal only to end up not being used at all! No!
  • Number 2 - since moving to Chicagoland, I have re-watched several cooking shows where the hosts sample various Chicago eateries and, in the pertinent episode of No Reservations with (pompous douchebag) Anthony Bourdain, what do they feature at a haute dog joint called Hot Doug's but duck-fat french fries? Hmmm...
Today, I'll be talking about cooking potatoes in goose fat. The plan is simple - heat the goose gut in a deep pan until it is really hot. Slice up some potatoes into french fry-shaped strips. Fry.

Let's begin at the beginning - after the goose was done cooking last week, I poured off the crystal clear goose fat into a couple salsa jars and let it cool to room temp before storing it in the fridge, where it turned solid and milky white. [And a week elapses...]

Let's face it, my wife ain't the fried-in-goose-fat type, so I waited until my mom was in town to give these a try. For the record, my mom turns out not to be the fried-in-goose-fat type either and made that clear.

To go with the potatoes, I cooked a corned beef brisket in my slow cooker (recipe: put corned beef in cooker with fatty side up; almost cover with water; add pickling spices that usually come with the beef; turn on low for hours and hours - I find, having 4 or 5 of these figuratively under my belt, that if the fat is above the water you get better results).

Back to the fries. I spooned out of one of the jars into a deep saucepan and set it to low to liquify the fat.

Once it was all melted, I turned the heat up to medium-high.

While it was heating up, I sliced a couple russet potatoes. I prefer the dark, rich flavor of russet potatoes over the creaminess of something like a Yukon gold. According to my mom, I sliced the potatoes thinly enough for me to call them "pommes frites," but I like the original French term "frites de liberté."

Testing the fat:

I added the potatoes and cooked them until they were browned. With these russets, they might look like they are burned, but they were perfect when the outsides were fairly dark brown like the bottom picture. As I mentioned above, my mother was skeptical of my plan, but after trying the fries, she told me "I admit it when I am wrong, and I was wrong about these." I have to say that they certainly are the best fries I've ever made at home, but that's out of a total of maybe 3 attempts. The corned beef was melt-in-your-mouth amazing. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of any of the salads and fresh, healthy, vegetable nonsense that Caryn put together to go along with my decadent 8-hour-cooked meat and meat-flavored vegetables.

Stay tuned for future goose-fat gastronomy. I have another fresh jar plus the leftovers from the fries. I'm at least going to make a pot of beans using the stuff, and I'd be willing to try other recipes if people have ideas.

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Blogger Kirsten said...

YUM! Mom and Caryn are the worst!

December 07, 2009  
Blogger kenikeia said...

No, actually, Mom admitted she was wrong! The "pommes frites" were amazing!!! As was the corned beef!

December 08, 2009  

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