Don’t get me wrong: I love fresh fruits and veggies. But I also love schmaltz. Not everyday. Not in large doses. But when it’s appropriate, I enjoy taking that fatty, liquid gold and using it for good, not evil.
But you know what I also love? Chicken skin. That is, gribenes. (Yes, me and your grandmother both.) I am always trying to find new uses, including these Deviled Eggs with Schmaltz and Gribenes and my Ultimate Kosher Burger with Grilled Pastrami and Gribenes. Gribenes will never be bacon. But it’s not a bad substitute for something salty and greasy in kosher cooking.
So when I came across this recipe for Chicken N Waffles Cupcake, I was inspired: breakfast + dessert, sweet + savory, all wrapped up in a cupcake. How could I make this kosher?
And then I realized: I shouldn’t just make this cupcake kosher. I should make it Jewish. Really Jewish. And that’s how it was born: My pareve maple gribenes cupcake.
So when my husband came home from the butcher with 2 huge, free* bags of chicken skin I got straight to work. And I must admit, we were a bit frightened by the results.
The cupcake and the frosting are SO good and moist they don’t taste “pareve” at all. But I’ve got to be honest, while the gribenes looked very pretty, we couldn’t decide if we really loved it on top of a cupcake. But novelty wins the day, and this photo makes it all worthwhile:
I am so happy to have a great new pareve dessert recipe to come out of one my slightly nutty gribenes-inspired ideas. You can choose to include the gribenes, or leave it off all together, but either way, happy cupcake making!
Meanwhile, my quest to use gribenes continues!
How to make your own gribenes? Cut chicken skin into medium size strips. I don’t like cutting them too small, I like a larger piece of skin to crunch on. Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add a scant tsp of oil or chicken fat (schmaltz) into the pan. Add chicken skin and saute 20-25 minutes, scraping frequently with spatula or wooden spoon to avoid the skin sticking or burning.
When skin is a deep brown and appears crispy, remove with slotted spoon and place onto a paper towel. Sprinkle with a smidge of salt.
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp maple syrup
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup almond milk mixed with 1 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp maple syrup
pinch of salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place liners in a muffin tin and spray with non-stick spray.
Sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl. In another larger bowl, beat egg, sugar, vanilla, maple syrup and oil until combined.
Alternate adding flour mixture and milk mixture to the wet ingredients.
Fill muffin cups 3/4 way full and turn oven down to 325 degrees right before placing the pan into the oven. Bake the cupcakes around 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
To make the frosting, beat together shortening, sugar, vanilla, maple syrup and salt in a stand mixture until smooth.
When cupcakes have cooled completely, pipe or spoon frosting as desired.
Garnish with gribenes if desired and an extra drizzle of maple syrup.
*TIP: butchers often throw out all that chicken skin, so if you are hankering to make your own gribenes, you probably can do it for free. It's also a great way to render your own chicken fat.
I spend, what some may consider, an unhealthy amount of time thinking about food, and how to make kosher versions of unkosher favorites. As Summertime approaches, I have been thinking a lot of about: hamburgers! Or perhaps more accurately, how absolutely mouth-watering delicious a cheeseburger looks. Alas, kashrut.
There is no way to recreate a kosher cheeseburger, and I simply don’t count soy cheese on top of a beef burger as a viable option. But I did want to explore a more creative way to make an amazing kosher burger.
Last week I wrote about making burgers for Shabbat and topping them with The Pioneer Woman’s Onion Strings. But as I was prepping my ingredients, I decided to shift strategy. I called my husband, who graciously stopped by our favorite butcher to grab a bag of chicken skin for me to whip up a batch of gribenes!
I know, gribenes is not healthy. It is far from heart-friendly, or waist-friendly. And I don’t advocate for making it more than once or twice a year max. But it is delicious. A Jewish version of pork rinds I always like to say.
How to make gribenes? Cut chicken skin into medium size strips. I don’t like cutting them too small, I like a larger piece of skin to crunch on. Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add a scant tsp of oil or chicken fat (schmaltz) into the pan. Add chicken skin and saute 20-25 minutes, scraping frequently with spatula or wooden spoon to avoid the skin sticking or burning.
When skin is a deep brown and appears crispy, remove with slotted spoon and place onto a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt.
So what did I decide should go on the ultimate kosher burger? Iceberg lettuce for a refreshing crunch, avocado for richness, spicy mayo, grilled pastrami and gribenes. And the combination of creamy, salty, crispy and spicy was the perfect way to enjoy a cheese-less burger. My husband gobbled his up so fast I barely noticed he ate it!
I am usually my own harshest critic, but even I had to admit: I had created a masterpiece, kosher or not.
Hope you enjoy as much as we did!
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 avocado, sliced
2 cups shredded lettuce
8 slices thinly sliced pastrami
3/4 cup gribenes
For spicy mayo:
1/2 cup mayonaise
2 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp sriracha or hot sauce
1 Tbsp horseradish
1 tsp spicy brown mustard
Divide beef into four equal parts. Use food scale if you want to be exact. Form meat into four patties and lay out on a platter.
In a small bowl, mix together salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Sprinkle liberally on one side of burgers.
Heat a grill pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place burgers seasoning side down. Cook 5 minutes on first side. While burgers are cooking, sprinkle the other side with seasoned salt.
Flip burgers and cook another 3-4 minutes for medium burgers. Another 5-6 minutes for more well-done burgers. While cooking burgers, grill slices of pastrami for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until crispy. Remove from heat and place on paper towel to remove and excess grease.
To make the spicy mayo, whisk together mayo, ketchup, hot sauce, horseradish and mustard,
To assemble burgers, spread around 1-2 tsp of spicy mayo on each side of bun. Place shredded iceberg on bottom bun. Place burger on top of iceberg.
Top burger with grilled pastrami, avocado and gribenes. Place bun on top.
Bon Apetit Magazine recently featured variations on deviled eggs that included a recipe for bacon deviled eggs which got me thinking about: how to make a more Jewish version!?
Shortly after reading through the recipes, I was munching on some crunchy gribenes from 2nd Avenue Deli in New York, and it came to me: deviled eggs with chicken fat and gribenes could be the perfect Jewey alternative!
So what is gribenes? I always describe this traditional Eastern European food as a “Jewish pork rind,” which Wikipedia agrees with. Never made it before? The Shiksa in the Kitchen has a great step-by-step schmaltz and gribenes guide.
1 dozen large eggs
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp chicken fat (schmaltz)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 batch gribenes
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Place eggs in single layer in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and when water comes to a full boil, cover and remove from heat. Let eggs stand in water for 15-17 minutes. Allow eggs to cool.
Peel shells from eggs carefully, and cut eggs in half lengthwise. Remove egg yolks.
In a small mixing bowl mash egg yolks, chicken fat, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Add egg yolk mixture to piping bag or plastic bag with the tip cut off, and pipe into egg white halves.
Garnish with pieces of crispy gribenes and fresh parsley.