Schmaltz Mit Gribenes: Ashkenazic Rendered Chicken Fat with Cracklings

Schmaltz or schmalts in Yiddish (from the Middle High German smalz, “animal fat”) is the generic Yiddish term for animal fat, but more specifically and colloquially, it denotes melted and purified poultry fat. Schmaltz became to Ashkenazic cooking what olive oil was to Mediterranean food, indispensable for frying and cooking, and as a flavoring agent.”

~ Gil Marks, “The Encyclopedia Of Jewish Food

  • Skin and fat from 8 chicken thighs (or 2 cups reserved chicken skin and fat) *
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 onion, cut into medium dice

Chop chicken fat and skin and add to a small amount of water to begin the rendering at a gentle temperature.  Once the water and the moisture in the fat and skin have cooked off, the fat can rise above 212 degrees and the browning can begin.  When the skin is lightly browned and plenty of fat has been rendered, add the chopped onion.

Be careful not to overcook. It should remain clear and yellow, not brown with an overly roasted flavor.  The browned skin and onion, called gribenes are delicious.  Strain the fat and reserve the gribenes. The schmaltz is ready to use, to refrigerate for up to a week, or to freeze. The gribenes should also be refrigerated or frozen

* Where do I get the chicken fat?

Make roast chicken once a week. Before you roast it, pull off all the fat you see and trim all the skin you won’t need. Store the fat and skin in the freezer, until you have plenty to render for schmaltz

 

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