My friends, family and even random Facebook buddies all know that I love using schmaltz. But the most frequent question I receive on the topic: how should I use leftover chicken fat?
Let’s start at the beginning.
First, what is schmaltz and how do you make it? Schmaltz is most commonly chicken fat, but can also be duck fat (my favorite) or goose fat (even better). You can buy chicken fat in most grocery stores or butcher shops, but it is also very easy to make.
Most Jews I know use their schmaltz once per year, when they make chopped liver. I will admit: I love having an excuse to go a little schmaltz crazy when I make my Tuscan-style liver every year for Passover. Or maybe even when making matzah balls. But there are lots of other ways to use up that fat for delicious results throughout the year.
I know some of you are ready to yell at me. Schmaltz is unhealthy! Why are you advocating adding more fat to your diet? And to you people I will say, you are probably reading the wrong blog. But also, I am not advocating more, regular, excessive schmaltz consumption; I just want to share some other ways to use small amounts of the fat in order to add lots of flavor.
Some of my favorite ways to use a little shmaltz in my cooking:
– Swap out half the oil in a base of a soup, and saute your onions, garlic and/or vegetables in the golden fat for an extra flavor boost.
– Make caramelized onions using schmaltz for a great sandwich or hamburger topping.
– Swap out some of the oil in a savory noodle kugel or potato kugel recipe for schmaltz
– Drizzle on top of roasted vegetables or potatoes.
And even more great recipes ideas:
Has your schmaltz craving and questions been answered? If not get yourself a copy of Michael Ruhlman’s Book of Schmaltz for even more recipes and tips.
Great recipes to share? Still more questions? Post below!
Prounounced: KOO-gull (oo as in book), Origin: Yiddish, traditional Ashkenazi casserole frequently made with egg noodles or potatoes.