So what do you do when you are overwhelmed by senseless death and destruction? Hopefully, something life affirming. In my case today, it was cooking. I decided to make something that is both nostalgic and a reminder of my ancestors, my heritage, and specifically, my father. I made schmaltz.
For those of you who don’t know what schmaltz is, it is rendered chicken fat. It is a Jewish delicacy. It is used to cook with, as a spread on sandwiches, and especially an ingredient in chopped liver and matzo balls. I like to cook eggs in it.
This is the third and by far the most successful attempt I’ve made. The first two were relatively small batches. The biggest problem I had with those was a lack of patience. I didn’t let them cook long enough. A problem I corrected this time. This time a made a good-sized batch. I started with 3-4 lbs of chicken skin and fat. Thanks to Thrifty Meat and Produce on Merritt Island for selling it to me for next to nothing.
One of the best things about making schmaltz is gribenes. That is the crispy bits of chicken skin that are left after all the fat has been rendered out In my previous attempts, the gribenes were chewy and not crispy indicating I didn’t cook them long enough. I finally got it right today. The gribenes were perfection.
The end result is I have 2-3 cups of schmaltz in my fridge, and a big container of gribenes to snack on. I also feel like I accomplished something. It may be a small thing, but small things matter. Small victories.