Duck Fat Roasted Kipfler Potatoes

I grew up on a mixed farm in Saskatchewan with a ‘meat and potatoes’ kind of family. We raised and butchered our own beef for many years until our large herd of cattle became a smaller herd of bison. I’m not saying they magically turned, but eventually our family made the switch and it didn’t happen overnight. I remember the butchering days (I must have been around 10) when my job was to run pails of offcuts from the shop to the house and down the stairs to Grandpa. There I would watch him poke the meat through a large industrial grinder to make mince. The basement often smelled of the ground meat and sometimes spices if the ground meat was being made into sausage.  If it happened to be hunting season there was a more ‘wild’ smell in the basement air and I knew that some amazing meals were in our future. I’m pretty sure that kids these days (mine included) would become repulsed by the process of butchery but for me it was another job that was done on the farm. It was a necessity.

I think it’s sad that many people have no clue or don’t even care where their meat comes from. To be a responsible  and informed consumer today is a more difficult than in days gone by and most people don’t have the time. Picking up pre packaged meat at the grocery store is a lot easier than sourcing out meat that comes from a genuine farm where the animals are treated humanely. I’m generally not a ‘socks n sandals’ hippie sort of gal but I do believe that every animal has an ultimate purpose and that in the meantime, their lives should be as ‘close to farm living’ as possible. Realistically, I know mass production has evolved as a way to feed the world’s growing population so this kind of ‘pipe dream’ would seem to be impossible.  So what can one person do? For starters, we don’t eat beef everyday but maybe once or twice in about two weeks. I’ve been thinking maybe the same could be done in turn for each protein. A night for chicken, pork, lamb, fish, shellfish mixed with a night or two of vegetarian eating…would this be do able? Probably not but it’s worth a try.

What does all this meat talk have to do with potatoes you say? Well nothing really. It served as the first portion of ‘meat and potatoes’ theme that I have going. Our incredibly large garden on the farm always included many hills of potatoes. I remember Grandma saying she had planted over 200 hills in one year and that wasn’t even at the height of her gardening because she only had two ‘kids’ left at home by that point. There wasn’t a lot of variety, mainly just ‘whites’ or ‘reds’.  It does seem strange now that there wasn’t much variety encouraged since potatoes grew really well in our central Saskatchewan soil. All of the potatoes were dug up in the fall and placed in sacks and in the basement against the outer cement wall in the ‘canning’ room. On the ‘non butchering’ days Grandma’s basement smelled like dirt and laundry at the same time. Sometimes the potatoes ran out or became inedible before spring and we had to buy our potatoes from the store. That was always a big disappointment.

I don’t have much room for cattle or even much of a garden in my tiny Calgary backyard. If I want to buy locally and ethically raised proteins and local potatoes I go to the Farmer’s Market. Last week I saw some really beautiful looking bags of kipfler potatoes and picked up a bag to bring home. My original idea was to make a warm German potato salad, but my oldest ate the bacon I was saving for that purpose. So, I remembered the duck fat I had purchased from The Better Butcher here in Calgary. I was finally faced with an opportunity to use some of it to roast these potatoes. I started by boiling the potatoes whole for about 10 minutes until they were just cooked through. Then I melted a tablespoon of duck fat with a tablespoon of butter. I minced a garlic clove and some fresh rosemary and added them to the fats. When the potatoes were done boiling, I cut them in half lengthwise and put them in a baking dish. I then covered them with the fat mixture and roasted them in the oven until some bits were golden. At the end, I finished them with some sel gris. I think they ended up being tastier than the salmon!



  1. Cravings of a Lunatic

    Wow, just wow. I love a good potato recipe and this is a great potato recipe.


  2. Soph n' Stuff

    I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts on sourcing ethical protein. So many people think that the organic or pasture-fed or antibiotic-free meats bought directly from the farmers are too expensive, but when you really think about it and get down to the science of it, isn’t it worth it to spend a little more and eat a little less? Better quality meat comes from better quality grass which comes from better quality soil that comes from sustainable, polycultural farming. Like our grandparents and great-grandparents used to do. It is unfortunate that we as humans seem to have forgotten that we are indeed part of a food chain.

    Now, I’m going to have to take advantage of my position in the food chain with some of these potatoes! Yum!


    1. dishnthekitchen

      Funny, I was just commenting the same thing on your Facebook page because I had just read your elk farm post. Lol.

      I definitely took the meat from my childhood for granted. I wonder now what is in the meat I am feeding my kids though I hope now is not too late to change. I do think eating less meat but of better quality is worthwhile.
      I do feel a bit hypocritical though…we’re heading to France soon and the top of my eating list is Fois Gras. I don’t really want to know what those ducks go through (though I have some idea and it’s not exactly humane) BUT it isn’t something I eat every day.

    2. Soph n' Stuff

      I know what you mean. Yeah, foie can be a difficult one. I’ve certainly enjoyed it. But if there’s any place that does it well, it will definitely be France.

      I guess just like any other farm there will be ones that treat their animals humanely and ones that do not. Here’s an interesting article:
      Maybe with a bit of research in advance you could find a restaurant that gets its foie from one of these “humane” farms. Or *gasp* even visit a farm? It would be a foodie adventure! There’s got to be some idyllic duck farm in the French countryside that supplies a local restaurant or two.

    3. dishnthekitchen

      It’s really cool to hear of your days in Russia. We picked up our kids and moved to Australia for a while…just for kicks. No apparent reason. I hope they have good memories of our time there.

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