Made Schmaltz and Gribenes (326/366)

“A Jewish woman had two chickens. One got sick, so the woman made chicken soup out of the other one to help the sick one get well.”
~ Henny Youngman

Thanksgiving is tomorrow!  One of my favorite holidays of the year.  Our awesome friend Mike is joining us for our special meal, and he’s Jewish so we’re making sure our Thanksgiving dinner will be Kosher.  Although we love bacon – and it’s an easy way to add a smoky, salty, rich flavor to anything – it will not be on our table tomorrow!

Well a while ago when I made bacon-wrapped hot dogs, we did a Kosher version for Mike, so for this Thanksgiving, I thought it would be cool to make what has been called “Jewish Bacon” – Gribenes – crispy fried chicken skin, which is one use for the byproduct of Schmaltz, which is rendered chicken fat (ha – also called, “Jewish Penicillin,” so Mike tells us).  Gribenes will be in our green beans for our Thanksgiving feast, and we’ll be using our home-rendered Schmaltz for a lot of flavoring in our dishes tomorrow.

We found a great step-by-step recipe page on Schmaltz and Gribenes on and followed that.  I started by picking up some chicken thighs and drums.  I removed the skin from the legs and trimmed the excess fat (we didn’t have a pound of skin and fat, so my amounts are less than the regular recipe).  Then I cut the skin into small strips.

I put the skin and fat in my frying pan on low, and covered it to cook for about 15 minutes to begin rendering.  After that time, I got a bit of pooling of the rendered fat.  Shmaltz in the making!

I turned the heat to medium low and continued cooking the skin and fat for another 15 minutes, until the skin began to curl a bit more.  Then I poured off the fat through a strainer, and I had my Schmaltz.  Awesome!  This will be delicious flavoring for several of our dishes tomorrow.

I put the skin back in the pan and added the onion I’d sliced thin, plus some salt and pepper, and fried the mixture for another 15-20 minutes, making sure to keep it all moving so it wouldn’t burn.

And tada!  Gribenes!

This is delicious stuff.  I can understand why people say this is like the Jewish bacon.  The mouthfeel is very similar to the lovely crispy fattiness that you get from bacon, and cooking it all to a rich golden brown develops the sugars released from the onion and brings the nice somewhat smoky sweetness that is similar to bacon too; but the flavor is still decidedly chicken, which is wonderful.  It’s like there are actually two different, but just as magical bacons in the world!  This is magnificent!

Related Links:
Schmaltz & Gribenes from the Shiksa in the Kitchen

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