CHANUKKAH 2014 RECIPES
Schmaltz with Gribenes
Schmaltz is rendered poultry fat, in this case made from chicken, while gribenes are its crispy, crackling-like byproduct that comes from bits of chicken skin. The key to this recipe is to go low and slow: You want the fat to cook gently and thoroughly so it renders completely without burning. Some would argue that the onion is mandatory and not optional, but if you plan to use the schmaltz for very delicate recipes, or sweet recipes (chilled schmaltz works wonderfully as the fat in pastry dough), feel free to leave it out. Your schmaltz won’t have as deep a flavor, but it will be more versatile. Schmaltz will last for at least a week in the refrigerator and up to six months in the freezer. If your butcher won’t sell it to you, the best way to obtain chicken skin and fat is to collect trimmings in the freezer every time you buy a whole bird. Or you can strip the skin and fat from chicken thighs and save the skinless meat to use in other recipes.
· chicken skin and fat, diced (use scissors, or freeze then dice with a knife)
· kosher salt
· onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices (optional)
1. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, toss chicken skin and fat with salt and 1 tablespoon water and spread out in one layer. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, until fat starts to render and skin begins to turn golden at the edges.
2. Add onions and cook 45 to 60 minutes longer, tossing occasionally, until chicken skin and onions are crispy and richly browned, but not burned.
3. Strain through a sieve. Reserve the schmaltz. If you want the gribenes to be crispier, return to the skillet and cook over high heat until done to taste. Drain gribenes on a paper-towel-lined plate.
Frying latkes in schmaltz — rendered poultry fat — is the traditional Ashkenazi method, what Central and Eastern European Jews typically did before assimilating in America. It makes for an exceptional latke: crisp-edged and deeply flavored, with a nutty, rich flavor that’s much more complex than if you fry them in flavorless vegetable oil. For the best results, make the batter for these just before frying and serve immediately. Also keep in mind that serving these with the optional sour cream or yogurt makes them unsuitable to anyone keeping kosher. If you’re making schmaltz from scratch for this recipe, do use the onion; it adds a lovely caramelized sweetness to the mix. The gribenes, which are the crispy bits of chicken skin that fry in the rendered fat, make an excellent garnish. (They are usually strained out of store-bought schmaltz; if you don’t have them, just omit them here.)
· 1 large russet potato (about 10 ounces), peeled and quartered lengthwise
· 1 shallot, peeled and halved lengthwise
· ¼ cup all-purpose flour
· 1 large egg
· ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
· ½ teaspoon baking powder
· ¼ teaspoon black pepper
· Schmaltz, for frying (see recipe)
· Sour cream or Greek yogurt, for serving (optional)
· Applesauce, for serving (optional)
· Gribenes, for garnish (optional, see recipe)
1. Using a food processor with a coarse grating disc, grate potato and shallot. Transfer mixture to a clean dish towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
2. Working quickly, transfer mixture to a large bowl. Toss in flour, egg, salt, baking powder and pepper until combined.
3. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high, then pour in about 1/4 inch of schmaltz. Once schmaltz is hot, drop heaping 1/4 cup measures of batter into pan. Use a spatula to flatten the drops into discs. When edges of latkes are crispy, in 5 to 7 minutes, flip them. Cook until second side is golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes more. If latkes get too brown before they are cooked through, lower the heat. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining batter.
4. Serve latkes topped with sour cream and applesauce, if you like. Garnish with gribenes if you have them.
SCHMALTZ ROASTED BRUSSEL SPROUTS
Roasting brussels sprouts in schmaltz — rendered poultry fat —gives them an incredibly nutty richness that you can’t get from any other fat. If you are making the schmaltz from scratch for this recipe (and you should if you want the gribenes), do use the onion, which lends an incomparable browned sweetness to the mix. The gribenes, which are the crispy bits of chicken skin that fry in the rendered fat, make an excellent garnish. (They may be strained out of store-bought schmaltz; if you don’t have them, just omit them here.) This recipe goes particularly well with a nice roasted chicken, whose flavor underscores the schmaltz.
· 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed, large ones halved, small ones left whole
· 3 tablespoons schmaltz (see recipe)
· 2 smashed garlic cloves
· 2 bay leaves
· Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
· ½ cup gribenes, roughly chopped, for garnish (optional, see recipe)
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a large rimmed sheet pan, toss together the brussels sprouts, schmaltz, garlic, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Spread everything out into one even layer.
2. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the outer brussels sprouts leaves are browned and crisp, tossing halfway through. Garnish with gribenes if you have them.
By: Cindy Grosz