Monday, December 5, 2016

Schmaltz (Rendered Chicken Fat)

Recorded December, 2016. Fats and oils differ according to their differing contents of fatty acids. This is why various fats are preferred, such as lard in pie crusts or duck fat for frying potatoes. Chicken fat, often discarded when preparing chicken, can be rendered and reserved. It's fatty acid composition is almost identical to duck fat. It is especially valuable for making matzo balls or pan-roasting potatoes, and as a spread on a bread when dietary laws forbid butter. As you prepare chicken, accumulate and freeze the fatty trimmings until there are enough to do a batch.
8 to 12 oz fat and fatty skin trimmed from chicken
Chop the partially-thawed fat and skin coarsely and tranfer to a cold, non-stick 10-inch skillet. Heat over medium until the fat begins to melt and pool. Lower heat to medium-low, and slowly cook uncovered, turning the pieces of cracklings (gribenes, in Yiddish) as the fat renders out. Pour off the fat into a container from time to time and continue frying. When it appears that no more fat is being released, remove the cracklings to paper towels and salt lightly. Store fat in a closed container on the bottom shelf in the refrigerator. Variation: Fry sliced onions in the fat and use both together in savory dishes.