Wednesday, October 24, 2007

schmaltz and split pea soup

I apologize for the lack of posting. I'm not going to lie and say I've been terribly busy, but I have had a cold. The weather won't make up it's mind. The last two weeks it's been 85 degrees, today is cold and rainy. Where is fall?! The other day I was going through the freezer and found my collection of chicken skin and fat. I'd been collecting it so I could cook it down into schmaltz, or rendered chicken fat to use in cooking. Every so often Alex and I will cook a duck, then save all the fat that roasts off for cooking until it's gone. We're totally out. So, schmaltz it is!

About a pound of chicken skin and fat**
1 onion, diced
If your fat is frozen, let thaw enough that you can cut it into pieces about 1". Put all the fat into a large saucepan, and heat on medium low. Cook for a while, maybe an hour, until the fat starts to come out of the skin. Make sure you stir often!

When skin starts to brown a little, add onions, and continue to cook until skin is crispy. Line a strainer with a piece of paper towel, and carefully pour hot fat and crispy skin and onions through. Let skin drain a while, and when liquid fat is cool enough to not melt the bottom of a jar, pour into a mason jar. Use the crispy skin (called gribenes) for whatever you want. They are delicious. I sprinkled them on top of the dumplings and gravy I made the same day (which I will post about later because the recipe is downstairs)

** I usually buy chicken thighs, bone in, skin on, when I want to make something with chicken. I save the bones in one bag, to use for stock, and the fat and skin in another bag, for schmaltz.
Also, the picture at the top of the page is of the liquid fat before it's solidified. It cools down to a nice buttery creamy color.

Split Pea Soup
1 1/2 c green split peas
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 bay leaves
about a pound of smoked pork neckbones, or 1 or 2 ham hocks, well washed
salt and pepper, paprika
garlic croûtons

Wash and drain peas. Put them in a pot with 10 cups of water and all ingredients except croûtons. Simmer, skimming scum off the top, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and discard. Remove pork to a bowl, puree soup until smooth. Return to pot. Pick meat off bones and slice thin, and return to pot with soup. Taste for seasonings, adjust to your taste. I like to add paprika too. Cook about 10 minutes longer, serve with garlic croûtons.

Garlic Croûtons
4 slices bread
4 T butter
4 cloves garlic
pinch of salt

Cut bread up into small cubes. Microwave remaining ingredients, toss with bread cubes. Toast in 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, stirring once.


  1. This is the cornerstone of a very unhealthy diet. You should be eating more vegetables!

  2. who says I don't cook vegetables in this schmaltz?!