Last updated: January 15. 2014 1:54PM - 2006 Views
SARA POKORNY spokorny@civitasmedia.com

Clockwise from top: This finished paleo meal consists of a carrot/apple/red onion slaw, asparagus roasted in duck fat, rosemary-and-thyme-encrusted lamb and Brussels sprouts and bacon.
Clockwise from top: This finished paleo meal consists of a carrot/apple/red onion slaw, asparagus roasted in duck fat, rosemary-and-thyme-encrusted lamb and Brussels sprouts and bacon.
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Carrot apple slaw with ginger vinaigrette

  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 of a red onion
  • 1/2 green apple
  • 1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
  • Lemon juice of a quarter lemon slice
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1/2-inch knob fresh ginger
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • Salt to taste

Matchstick the apples and carrots, slice the onion and mix all together. Mix vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, sesame oil, salt, ginger and garlic, and pour over top and mix together.

Tossing some of the lemon juice in the apples right after slicing is recommended to prevent browning.

Ironclad Rosemary Lambchops

(Use cast-iron skillet for this)

  • Lamb chop
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • Some kind of fat (Duck fat is a good option.)

Massage salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme into lamb chop. Heat skillet in oven for a bit then place on stovetop on high heat. Add fat to pan, then add lamb chop and sear for 2 minutes each side. Toss in oven for 7-9 minutes on 375 degrees Fahrenheit, until medium rare.

Two favorite vegetables

  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
  • 5 pieces thick-cut slab bacon
  • 1 tbsp. or less balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste

Chop bacon into small pieces and cook in large skillet. Remove when almost crispy and keep the fat in the skillet. Chop Brussels sprouts in half and place open side down into the heated fat for 2-3 minutes. Toss the sprouts for about 5 minutes then add in cooked bacon. Sprinkle with vinegar and add salt to taste.

Duck-fat broiled asparagus

  • Handful of asparagus
  • Heaping spoon of duck fat (or other fat)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Pinch of salt
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375. Rub down the asparagus with the duck fat. Chop garlic and toss with the asparagus. Place on tin foil on an oven sheet and cook for about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and squeeze a lemon over everything.



“Duck fat gives you french fries that are good enough to make you religious.” So writes Rebecca on foodiewithfamily.com. Same goes, many would say, for burgers and other basic foods transformed by a little, ah, quacker motor oil.

A longtime favorite in French cooking, duck fat, with a higher smoke point than butter, preserves exquisite flavors when frying or roasting. And some foodies swear by its health benefits — it has a chemical composition closer to olive oil and and some beneficial unsaturated fats — and say it’s far superior to beef or pork fat or butter.

Yes, duck fat is a “thing,” so to speak. There’s even a restaurant in Portland, Maine, named exactly that. So if you’re planning that summer getaway, keep this northerly gourmet destination in mind.

Now, as for procuring and cooking with duck fat, which might even transform your whole experience of food?

Some foodies “render” it themselves, but if you consider that a hassle, you can procure some locally, though not in an extreme hurry. Wegmans in Wilkes-Barre Township, known for carrying the hard-to-find, does not stock pre-rendered duck fat but will order it for you. Simply see the meat manager, and you can have some duck fat sent to the store in a few days, the store manager assured.

Or order a small tub on locally based igourmet.com, where it’s $8.99 for 7 ounces.

Tip: Duck fat stores well in the freezer for at least a couple of months.

— Sandra Snyder

Features Editor



The duck fat Brad Barry and Lou Mangino have stashed away in their freezer is not store bought but self-rendered.

“Buying it online was kind of expensive, so we just went to the store and bought a duck — it was like $16 — and rendered it ourselves,” Barry said.

He placed the duck in a slow cooker with onions and carrots and kept it on low for eight hours. After removing the duck, he poured the leftover juices into a bowl and placed it in the freezer. After letting it sit in the cold for 25 minutes, there was much to be had.

“There’s a jelly-like layer on the top, the fat, and then broth underneath that you can use for soup or anything you want,” Barry said.

The act of eating like a caveman has never been so delicious.

Brad Barry and Lou Mangino, both 28, moved about their Kingston kitchen in an almost rehearsed manner while prepping dinner on a recent Tuesday. On the menu: lamb, asparagus, veggies and some duck fat for good measure.

“A little over two years ago I quit smoking and was on a health kick, and I discovered this paleo/primal thing and fell in love with it,” Barry said of the new method of eating he has adopted.

The paleo and primal diets are known as the caveman diets. Paleo was popularized by Loren Cordain, researcher and author of “The Paleo Diet,” and Robb Wolf, biochemist and author of “The Paleo Solution,” and the primal way of eating was developed by Mark Sisson, who published “The Primal Blueprint” and whose website marksdailyapple.com is what got Barry started.

“In a nutshell, the paleo/primal diet is eating what our ancestors, when we were hunters and gatherers, ate,” Barry said. “So generally plants and animals. You stay away from processed food and things like wheat, grain and sugars, or anything in a box.”

The main difference between the two diets concerns the inclusion of dairy products. Paleo suggests eliminating them, particularly in the beginning, but primal doesn’t reject good-quality, full-fat dairy products and recommends products from pastured animals that should be consumed raw.

The method of how to start both diets also differs. Wolf suggests a strict exclusion of all non-Paleo foods for at least 30 days, while Sisson employs an 80/20 rule, suggesting primal foods 80 percent of the time and “cheat” foods the other 20.

“The whole idea of the diet is high-fat, low-carb, but healthy fats,” Barry said.

This deters many people, who hear the words “high fat” and run. Sisson claims that, contrary to popular belief, neither saturated fat nor dietary cholesterol has been linked to cardiovascular disease, citing sugar, refined polyunsaturated fat oils and trans-fats as the things to avoid. Fat is also great because it burns slowly and evenly, providing steady energy levels, whereas carbohydrates burn quickly and leave a person groggy until more carbs are consumed.

“I find that I do eat more often, though not necessarily more in quantity,” Barry said. “You would because you don’t have the carbs to make you stuffed, so you are hungry more.”

Barry has gone all-in with the diet from the start, though he knows that’s not for everyone.

“My advice would be to go cold turkey on junk food,” he said. “I can’t have cheat days. When I fall off the wagon, it’s like I fall off the wagon, down a hill, and, like, hit a creek, and that’s not worth it.”

Barry said the differences of being on and off the way of eating are extremely noticeable – and mostly unpleasant.

“When I’m off it I don’t sleep well, your skin gets all oily and gross, your hair feels …weird. It’s hard to explain. But when I’m on, I immediately fall asleep, and when I wake up in the morning I’m awake. It’s not like I walk around for an hour, have two cups of coffee, and then I’m up around noon. Everything naturally just feels better.”

Mangino, who does not adhere to the paleo lifestyle as strictly, sees another major upside.

“Cooking like this makes it more fun,” he said as he assembled a carrot, red onion and apple slaw with ginger dressing. “We go to the grocery store and brainstorm. We walk around, see what’s fresh. We have no idea what we’re getting before we go there. Or if there’s a lot in the fridge it’s like, ‘What can we make using up that?’ ”

“You do have to love cooking to do this,” Barry said as he slathered duck fat on asparagus before popping the spears into the oven. “I’ve never wanted to cook every day of my life until I started doing this.”

“And, honestly, there’s nothing tastier than a good-looking meal.”

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