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Continued: A look at schmaltz with Michael Ruhlman

  • Article by: LIZ BALMASEDA , Palm Beach Post
  • Last update: September 4, 2013 - 3:07 PM

An easy process

To achieve about a half-cup of good schmaltz, he buys a pack of eight bone-in chicken thighs — he also reserves the fat when he cooks other chicken dishes. He renders the chicken thigh fat with an onion to prepare the schmaltz. The prepared fat keeps in the refrigerator for about five days — more than that and the flavor becomes muted. Or you can freeze it for six months.

“It’s not that tricky to make. It’s just fat with a little water — the water will cook off. Render the fat and once it’s out of the skin, you add the onion and it will cool it down and slowly flavor the fat. This will produce the gribenes [crispy bits]. Then you just strain it,” he said. It’s been done this way for centuries.

“I’m fascinated by Jewish culture and how food cultures in general evolve and why. This food culture was born out of poverty, in poor villages in Eastern Europe, using liver and inexpensive cereals, wheat, oats, groats, buckwheat,” he said.

“I hope people appreciate schmaltz for what it is. It’s tradition,” he said. “And the flavor is wonderful.”


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