I thought I’d be the last person on earth to render my own chicken fat. Chicken fat? Me? Why isn’t a recipe for instant arteriosclerosis ?
Well, yes and no. While I wouldn’t recommend overdosing on the stuff animal fats, like schmaltz may even be healthy when eaten in moderation because they contain omega 3′s and linoleic acid and other good stuff our bodies need.
Our ancestors lived on the stuff. My mother says that her own mother rendered goose fat at Chanuka time and stored a jar for Pesach . Having grown up on Mazola, I was bit daunted by the idea of rendering my own chicken fat. Amazingly shmaltz making is easy. It’s almost an automatic process, not quite like downloading an app but almost as mindless and imminently more fulfilling. All you need to do is cut up some chicken skins. leave them in a pan all by themselves on a low flame, (some people add onion slices or even apple pieces but you don’t need to and I didn’t) and wait From time to time, check to see how they were doing and move them around a bit, but that is the extent of your intervention. The schmaltz and the gribenes will appear in their own good time.
. After about an hour and a quarterthe fat will run off the skin to form puddle of clear oil and the skin will turn dark and crunchy, a delicacy all it’s own known in Yiddish as gribenes, .
Gribenes was the savory snack of choice among Ashkenazi Jewry until it was supplanted by Doritoes and Bisli. The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food says that , gribenes were so beloved that some pious Jews ate them during the penitential month of Elul to show their delight in G-ds world.
And now you can make them for yourself. Here’s how
Chicken skin cut into small pieces (they don’t have to be precise. The irregular shape adds to their charm)
Put them in a pan on a low flame and leave until they turn dark brown and crackly. Check the pan every so often and give them a slight nudge.