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Delicious drippings from my roasted chickens...

There are a lot of threads out there about chicken fat, schmaltz, drippings, etc. so forgive me if this has already been asked.

Each week I bring a chicken home from the farmers market and roast it in a cast iron skillet. Occasionally I make gravy from the drippings, but mostly I just pour them out.

Any suggestions on how to use the rendered fat that floats to the top, as well as the delicious brown liquid at the bottom (is that like a bouillon?) I'm sure I could fry up potatoes, etc., but I'm just not sure on the specifics (do I use it all or cut it with another fat? high or low heat? oven or stovetop?) Looking for specific methods/recipes, as well as proper storage.

P.S. I do save the carcasses for making stock; do the fat or drippings contribute to stock-making in any way?

Thanks everyone!

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  1. Welcome to Chowhound! Your FM chicken sounds delicious; jealousy here. The brown bits on the bottom of your roasting pan, AKA cast iron skillet, are what the French call "fond". They contribute so much flavor that I am loathe to discard them.

    Do you deglaze the pan after doing a simple roasted chicken? If so, what do you use for liquid?
    NB: this is different from making gravy.
    Have you tried simultaneously roasting vegetables with the chicken?

    If you don't want all the fat, tip the skillet away from you and use a large spoon to skim much of the fat off the top.
    If you decide to use some or all of the fat, it will contribute significant flavor. Try slow-cooking (stove-top, low heat) one or two chopped or sliced onions for caramelized onions that you can keep in the fridge to add to other dishes. I like them on a grilled cheese sandwich, the beginnings of very good soup or added to a pasta sauce; they are like money in the bank when you're in a hurry.

    I freeze ALL the bits of chickens, including fat, for stock. After making the batch, I refrigerate it so the fat floats to the top and congeals. It can be removed (and discarded) or stirred into the stock itself -- your choice. Currently, our waistlines dictate discarding it.

    In this house, it would be considered a sin to throw away any of the fond. It can be flavored many different ways and adds richness to the finished dish. Since this is your first post, would you tell us a bit about your cooking expertise, likes/dislikes, etc so that we can provide more specific assistance. I don't want to go on and on giving you specifics for dishes that do not suit you.

    1. Here's one of my favorite recipes for leftover chicken drippings (and the chicken):

      She uses the chicken for the recipe on the first night, but I usually have so much leftover that I save the juices and shred the extra chicken for day 2. Makes a nice change from the usual leftover chicken.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Chocolatechipkt

        I've been meaning to try this recipe for a while but somehow I never want to turn my freshly roasted chicken into pasta! I love the idea of making this dish with leftovers (Like the original poster, I usually have leftover fat and jus and don't always get around to using them like I should). Thanks - this one is going in the "leftover roasted chicken" file.

      2. You could scrape it up and use it for crash hot potatoes (use it instead of the oil):


        My husband and son like to add it to white rice.

        Or do the Zuni chicken bread salad--I use more of the fat/juices than the recipe calls for. Actually, I just use the chicken fat instead of olive oil to coat the bread.


        1. I was just going to say ZUNI CAFE ROAST CHICKEN with bread salad made from drippings not oil.

          But chowser beat me to it!

          Make sure you dry brine the chicken, too...

          1. I'd use the fat for frying potatoes and other veggies, if you have enough fat not need to cut it with other oils etc. I also use the fat for broths by cooking the onions, carrots and celery, makes for a great base.

            1. I just pour it over the chicken when serving, as is. I even do this when I buy rotisserie chicken already made, you can never say it's dry!

              1. That delicious brown liquid is the drippings. Dont you use it in your gravy?

                1. Wow. Ive made roast chicken using the Zuni Cafe method three times now, I think. Ive never had enough drippings to make the panzanella salad with... always had to use olive oil. I buy my chickens from Sprouts... think they're too lean? Hmm.

                  1. Wow, thank you everyone for all the replies!

                    My cooking expertise, I'd like to think is pretty advanced (I understand the basic principles, roasting, sauce-making, some baking, I make my own stocks, and typically make everything I can from scratch -- whether or not it is always successful is another story!) I will try anything, and I can't think of anything that I don't like. I'd say my cooking style is American, or maybe a fresh approach to American classics...? That sounds so fancy...

                    I do dry-brine my chicken before roasting, and use the drippings in gravy, when I make gravy. I also sometimes roast veg alongside my chicken, but my preferred vessel (the cast iron skillet) typically just-fits a 4-pound chicken, with maybe a couple of tiny onions scattered in (which of course makes the fat extra delicious!)

                    Such and obvious but awesome idea is to use the fat to cook the veg for my stock! And the bread salad and crushed potatoes are making my mouth water!!

                    I really appreciate the responses! I'll keep checking back, but wow, what a successful first post!

                    1. One thing I sometimes do is use it for a stir fry. Chinese recipes often call for a small amount of stock that I don't normally have on hand. (OK, I could make chicken stock ice cubes for this purpose but somehow I never remember to do this.) I use the fat for cooking (add extra oil if necessary) and the jus (diluted with water if necessary) in place of stock.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Westminstress

                        What is the smoke point for the chicken droppings? Does it smoke up when you get it hot enough for stir fry?

                        BTW, funny lil tid bit. My DH once referred to to this as chicken droppings and the slang as stuck ever since. Heehee

                      2. I came across your post on Flipboard and I had to join in as a lover of chicken!

                        I have routinely used the drippings, fat, and left over strands of meat attached to the bone as a part of the base for cornbread stuffing or Greek lemon potatoes.

                        It's delicious when I use my own chicken drippings from baking a chicken in the oven or grill, but at times I have used rotisserie chicken drippings and that is excellent too!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: flavorking

                          Could you share you're recipe for Greek lemon potatoes? Sound wonderful!

                        2. Deglaze your pan with water, wine, broth, or apple cider. Pour the liquid into a freezer container and refrigerate it until you can easily remove the congealed fat on top. Put it in a separate jar (unless you used cider, which makes the fat sweet) to use for frying vegetables and meats. Freeze the liquid fond for adding to soups, sauces, and your homemade chicken stock. This will make your stock into a clone of the "dark chicken stock" called for in many recipes.

                          Since you are using cast iron, if using wine or cider to deglaze, don't leave the liquid in the pan as it cools. The acid can result in an iron taste to the liquid, and the need to re-season the pan.