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Kitchen Secrets & Tips

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Remember schmaltz? Your mom and Bubbie likely used a lot of it in their cooking. Schmaltz, or chicken fat, has a great flavor and richness, and is part of Jewish culinary tradition.

Rendered chicken fat adds rich flavor to many recipes and makes use of parts of the bird that would otherwise be wasted. (Our Bubbies wasted nothing!) It is traditional to use schmaltz in chopped liver recipes, but schmaltz is also good for cooking potatoes and other root vegetables. What was old, is new again--in moderation, please!

To make schmaltz (a.k.a. rendered chicken fat), begin by saving bits of fat and skin removed from raw chicken. You can stockpile these in a sealable bag or container-and store in the freezer until  about 3 cups are accumulated.

Place the fat and skin scraps in a heavy bottomed, non-reactive pan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the scraps render most of their fat and begin to brown.
At this point, some add a chopped onion. Raise the heat to medium. Continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until the chicken scraps are golden brown and crispy, but not burned. Turn off the heat and let cool for a few minutes.
Strain through a fine meshed strainer, or a cheesecloth. Store in a sealable container
Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 4-6 months.

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