I’ve been practicing making schmaltz and gribenes for a few months now, and I finally can report success! It’s not a hard thing to do but, like any new technique, I needed to figure it out.
Schmaltz is rendered chicken fat, and gribenes are the crispy chicken skin bits left after the schmaltz is made. Think pork rinds – but chicken. They make a tasty crunchy salty bit to nibble or garnish with. The schmaltz is beautiful and golden, keeps forever in the fridge in covered container, and gives anything you cook with it a lovely chickeny richness — it’s a great cooking fat for frying potatoes or sauteeing the veg for a chicken soup.
For today’s attempt, I took the skin and fat from three whole chickens and froze it in a loaf, then diced it up fine. It went into a 2 quart pot over medium heat to cook.
And cook. Finally starting to brown!
And the gribenes are salted liberally.
This is my third go at this, and I am very happy with the result, finally. Often, chopped onion is added after the fat is rendered but before the gribenes are well browned, and that gives a very nice flavor to the fat, but it kept burning when I did that. Also, freezing the skin and fat so I could get it really evenly chopped into a nice small dice made a big difference in how evenly the gribenes came out. They are all nice and small and thoroughly crispy.