Thursday, January 22, 2015

Beautifully Rendered: Rendering Chicken Fat

As you already know, I like to make use of as much as possible—and I can definitely do more. Getting the most out of everything you grow and buy not only saves you money, but gives you more delicious options to enjoy as well! One easy thing I tried recently was rendering the fat from some chicken skins. You can ask your butcher or farmer for chicken skins and fat on their own, but on this occasion I was already buying chicken thighs and used their skins for this little project.

Technically, this is not schmaltz, but it's the same idea. I followed this process using the skins from four decent-sized thighs (about 2 lbs. total). After removing the skins from the thighs, I snipped them into smaller pieces with a pair of scissors. I added them to a heavy-bottomed saucepan with one bay leaf, a splash of water, precisely four peppercorns, and got to simmering:

rendering chicken fat
Showing some skin.

Even though it was only a small amount of skin, it did take about an hour and twenty minutes to finish rendering. The pieces of skin did stick to the bottom of the pan during the process, but I VERY carefully nudged them around with the tip of a spoon from time to time. I knew the end was near when the bubbling started to die down significantly. The skins eventually turned into crackling (cook's treat!), and I was left with about two Tablespoons of that lovely golden liquid to use for another time:

chicken skin cracklings
Crackling good.

Now, I know what you're thinking: two Tablespoons isn't exactly an embarrassment of riches. But I have a plan! That two Tablespoons is exactly enough for me to make... well, in the words of the Prime Minister, wait and see :-)


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