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Schmaltz?

How do you make it? How do you use it?

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  1. Rendered chicken fat...

    Making - take chicken fat and render over a slow heat.

    Use - like you would bacon fat for frying and flavoring.

    5 Replies
    1. re: dave_c

      Some people add some onion slices once there's enough rendered fat in the pan so they won't burn. While it isn't proper schmaltz, I save the fat layer removed from the top of chilled home-made chicken stock/broth and use it as one would schmaltz. Because of the vegetables used in stockmaking, this is very flavorful fat even though it hasn't been browned. It works as well as schmaltz does in making chopped liver.

      1. re: greygarious

        grey,
        I always see that layer when I cook stuff in the slow cooker and cool it down for defatting. I will save it from now on and tyr to cook with it.

        1. re: lilmomma

          recently cooked scrambled eggs in schmaltz and they were heavenly.

        2. re: greygarious

          This is what I use for schmaltz as well. After I remove the solid pieces of fat from the top of the stock, I melt it down again in a saucepan, simmer for a while, and then strain it into a jar through a mesh strainer or cheese cloth to remove any little bits that are left. I do the simmering part (instead of just melting) to brown it a little bit. It's pretty much the same thing as traditional schmaltz,except with the added flavor of the stock vegetables, which I like. I use it mostly in potato kugel (it's the thing that makes it extra delicious) and matzah balls.

          1. re: greygarious

            "While it isn't proper schmaltz"- I don't follow how it is not proper schmaltz. I've read that any Eastern Euro Jewish mother years ago would have cooled chicken soup to skim before re-heating. And saved the fat for use in cooking. I think of it as water rendering.

        3. Chop up your chicken trimmings (fat and skin) and slowly render in a pot over medium heat. You must keep the meat low to avoid burning the fat, but with patience, you'll find the skin turns crunchy and brown with time while the fat remains light. That's when you're good to go. Strain out the crunchy chicken nubbins (gribenes) and store your schmaltz in the refrigerator for up to a week. Use it to cook chicken livers. Drizzle it over potato pancakes. Go hog wild (without the hog).

          2 Replies
          1. re: JungMann

            I add a small amount of water to the pan to help the fat render more slowly without burning. The longer you can render, the more fat will come off the skin. I skip the onions in the schmaltz, but I'll frequently fry onions in schmaltz. The gribenes are pure heaven with just a sprinkling of kosher salt.

            My main uses for schmaltz are as the fat in mashed potatoes and in making chopped liver. I've successfully frozen schmaltz for quite a long while and you can also collect up the raw chicken skin and fat in the freezer until you have enough to bother with the rendering.

            1. re: JungMann

              you can freeze any kind of rendered animal fat about forever.

            2. I pretty much do what rockycat does. Chop up fat and skin, add a couple tablespoons of water and then render slowly on low heat. Be patient and after a while, all the water will boil out and the bubbles will become much smaller and the fat will become a clear golden color. When this happens and the skin just begins to show any color, I add a sliced onion (1 per 5-8 lbs of fat) and then when the skin and onion are golden brown, I take off heat and strain (preferably through cheesecloth but I don't always bother). It last forever in the freezer and for months in the fridge. And with the onions, it gives a delicious hint of sweetness to whatever you cook. I use it for eggs, potatos, pan basting a steak, brussel sprouts, etc. And the best use is as the secret ingredient in fried matza for Passover. Use it to fry the matza then add an extra dollop right at the end. And of course--save the skin and onions. Gribenes are amazing. If they aren't crispy enough, slowly bake them at 250 until they crisp up. These can also be frozen. Once crispy, they are great on their own or as a replacement of lardons in anything (good on salad, in lentils, in scrambled eggs). Here is a photo of my last batch of gribenes.

               
              1. Some great ideas here, rendered all the more palatable because they're economical as well as gastronomical. BUT, be careful about storing both unrendered and rendered - schmalzed, if you will - fat of any kind in the freezer. Keep it in there too long and it'll impart a "tired" flavor to whatever you cook it with. Try to use it within 45-60 days, max, and you'll avoid the problem, and no, using freezer bags a/o paper won't help either. Even in the freezer, food just goes bad after a while. Schmeckt's gut? Viel besser, Fressers!