Mike Wolfberg's Recipe for Rendered Chicken
This is a crucial ingredient in certain Jewish cooking,
especially for matzo balls and chopped chicken liver. I also use
it to make kasha varnishkes. I have been told it can be used along
with vegetable oil when frying potato latkes.
You can make this golden liquid fat
(which solidifies) and keep it for months in the refrigerator. My
grandmother, Carrie Rodenberg, taught me how to do this, but I
think this is no special recipe.
- several pieces of fat from chickens
- When you buy an old chicken, called a fowl, for making
soup, you will find quite a bit of fatty pieces as part
of the chicken. If you buy roasters and fryers, you might
save hunks of fat over the course of time - just keep
them in a bag in the freezer. Once you have accumulated
at least about 1/2 pound of fat, it is worth rendering.
If I don't have any on hand, my butcher is happy to save
a large bag of the fat for me, which he apparently can
save as a by-product of his cutting up chickens.
If you use one pound of fat, you will get
about 1 1/4 cups of the liquid.
- 1-2 medium onions
- peeled and chopped into medium-size pieces; the amount
depends upon how much fat you are rendering
- Cut up the hunks of fat into pieces which are smaller
than one inch cubes. Place these in a frying pan which
has a lid. Cover the fat pieces with water, cover the
pan, and place it on medium heat.
- Let this cook for 10-15 minutes to steam and extract the
liquid fat from the fatty hunks. Then uncover and
continue to cook until all the water boils away.
- Add the chopped onions to fill the pan moderately. Cook
these without burning them until they are quite golden
brown. The fat too should be darkening along with the
onions. This takes about 10-15 more minutes.
- Before the onions get to a dark, burnt point, remove from
the heat, and pour the hot liquid through a strainer into
some container which can take heat, such as a Pyrex
measuring cup. You now have the chicken fat. Move it to a
container you can keep in the refrigerator for a long
time, and cover it.