Schmaltz and Gribenes

  My husband Murray loves to make Schmaltz and Gribenes. Do you know what that is? Schmaltz is rendered chicken fat …the fat  is cooked down to a liquid

Gribenes is cooked onion & chicken skin in the chicken fat

The chicken skin, fat  & onions are cooked slowly in a frying pan,  until the onions & skin are a nice deep brown colour. Then the skin & onions are separated from the fat… the fat is poured into a glass jar & saved to be used in so many ways…

Murray likes to fry his eggs in schmaltz and I like to add the onions to mashed potatoes with a bit of schmaltz for flavour. My Zaida ( grandfather) used to put some schmaltz on a piece of challah, then top with the onions and a generous shake of salt! He lived to 93 so maybe he knew something!! Murray actually just snacks on this sometimes!!!

Murray has been making this for many years, using the chicken skin and fat that I so diligently removed from the chicken so that our kids would have a healthy chicken dinner!!  Now I keep the skin on the chicken so  I just trim excess skin & fat from the chicken pieces that I am going to cook & Murray uses this 

I am  not sure what got him started on this but I think it was remembering his grandmother, Baba Glick, whom he had a wonderful loving relationship with.
He says she always had some schmaltz in the fridge. He remembers her putting it in mashed potatoes and frying everything in it instead of oil. Except of course if she was making a dairy dish!!
Making gribenes isn’t difficult it just takes patience and attention. Murray doesn’t use a recipe he just ‘wings it’

These are his instructions

  • Once the chicken skin and excess fat has been removed from the chicken, clean really well if needed and leave the fat attached.
  • Cut the skin  into small pieces about 1/2 inch big.
  • Depending on how much skin you have, dice some onions. Use more onion then skin, Murray uses a ratio of 2-1, double the amount of onion to skin
  • Put the skin, fat and onions  into a frying pan on a medium heat and stir often. Once it starts to brown it can burn quickly so be careful!! This has a distinctive smell….so I like it when Murray makes this outside, we have a burner on the side of our BBQ……but of course you can make it in the house!!
  • When the skin and fat are rendered and the onions are  nice and brown, remove from heat.
  • Murray uses a small ladle to remove the fat from he pan & put it into a jar for storage. It gets solid as it cools…Store this in the fridge. You can use a slotted spoon to remove the onions from the fat first if you want, then pour the fat into a jar, but be careful , it is very hot
  • Put the onions onto paper towel to drain any fat off the fat so they remain nice and crisp
  • Store the onions in the fridge as well
  • The schmaltz lasts a long time….I use the onions sooner then the schmaltz…

And there you have it!!!

This was skin & excess fat from about 24 pieces of chicken thighs, but you make tis with any amount of skin & fat & onion…..
The chopped skin & fat are put into a frying pan
Chopping the onions into small pieces
Add the onions to the chicken skin/fat

Pouring the fat into a jar
draining on paper towel