Occasionally, the fat from ducks, geese or
pork may be required for such dishes as confit or cassoulet. Salt pork,
another example, should be gently rendered, or melted down, so that the
fat can be used to smother the aromatic vegetables used in the preparation
of soups, stews and braises. Properly clarifying a roast's fat and
drippings is essential for the preparation of a good pan gravy. The method
is as follows -
Cube the fat, if necessary.
Place the fat in a sauté pan. Add about 1/2
inch of water to the uncooked fats if there are no drippings present.
Cook over low heat until the water
evaporates and the fat is released. This is the actual clarifying process.
Remove the cracklings, if any, with a
slotted spoon and they may be reserved for garnish.
Use the clarified fat or store it under
refrigeration. A caramelized form from a roast's drippings should remain
once the clarified fat is poured away. Deglaze these drippings with stock,
wine or water and use them to prepare a pan gravy.
Clarified butter is pure butterfat. Ghee is
clarified butter that has been simmered longer to highly clarify the
butterfat. Drawn butter is clarified butter served with boiled or steamed
seafood. The purpose of clarifying butter is to allow the chef to cook
with butter at a higher temperature than would be possible with whole
butter. The milk solids in whole butter scorch easily and lower its
Because it has some butter flavor, clarified
butter is often used for sautéing, sometimes in combination with a
vegetable oil to further raise the smoking point. It is also commonly used
to make roux. When whole butter is clarified, some of its volume is lost
during skimming and decanting. One pound (455 grams) of whole butter
yields approximately 12 ounces (340 grams) of clarified butter. The
process of clarifying butter is as follows -
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over
Continue to cook over low heat until the
butterfat becomes very clear and the milk solids drop to the bottom of the
Skim the surface foam as the butter
Pour or ladle off the butterfat into another
container, being careful to leave all the liquid in the pan bottom.
Discard the liquid.