Chicken Fat

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Chicken Fat

1Sovay
Mar 13, 4:47pm

I've become slightly obsessed with chicken fat - every chicken I cook seems to produce oceans of it and I object to just throwing it away, but what to do with it? Claudia Roden's Book of Jewish Food has a lot less to say on the subject than I expected. I've consulted two or three books by waste-conscious cooks; the usual suggestion seems to be "save it to roast potatoes in" but as I hardly ever roast potatoes, this doesn't help much.

So I've been trying it out in a few recipes, starting with American-style rolled dumplings from Ruth Berolzheimer's United States Regional Cookbook. I liked these and have a bagful stashed in the freezer - the only problem is that they need a generous amount of chicken stock to cook in, which requires chicken carcasses to make, which results in more chicken fat ...

Next, paranthas from Anjum Anand's Quick and Easy Indian - very successful - the chicken fat adds a lot more flavour than oil and is much easier to spread on the dough than butter.

Most successful so far - pastry. I used a recipe from the internet, intended for oil, and made a mushroom and bacon pasty and a rustic ratatouille tart. Pastry came out crisp but not hard, and the pasty in particular was a thing of beauty.

So any thoughts? Further suggestions? Should I be doing something more useful with my time?

2MarthaJeanne
Modificato: Mar 13, 5:19pm

Try looking for recipes for goose or duck fat. Of course, those birds have even more (and even tastier) fat.

Use it for sealing liver pate or other meat spreads.

And it is a good reason to roast potatoes.

3MrsLee
Mar 13, 5:19pm

Mmmm, we love chicken fat in this household. A favorite for cooking scrambled/fried eggs in. Recently I used it to grease my cast iron Dutch oven before baking bread and the bread was wonderful. My husband thought I was cooking pizza. :)

I use it when I roast any vegetable, although my go-to is olive or avocado oil. I also use it when I sauté onions, etc. Cooked into beans, lentils or rice is also delicious.

I will have to try it for pastry, that sounds yummy, especially pastry for savory fillings.

4lilithcat
Mar 13, 6:12pm

Should I be doing something more useful with my time?

I think making schmaltz is pretty useful!

5Tess_W
Mar 13, 9:12pm

I use mine to flavor soups that call for chicken broth, sometimes in place of Crisco when baking biscuits and cornbread.

6Sovay
Mar 15, 8:52am

>2 MarthaJeanne: I don't make much liver pate at present, though I did briefly consider saving up all the chicken fat until I had enough to make confit chicken legs. I've never cooked a goose - I'd like to, but it's too big and expensive for one person. I've tried a couple of times to persuade my family that they'd like one for Christmas, but to no avail ... also I'd be awash with goose fat in addition to all the chicken fat!

>3 MrsLee: I'm sauteing with it, but sauteing for one doesn't use much. I definitely recommend the pastry (which uses plenty).

7MarthaJeanne
Modificato: Mar 15, 9:36am

I used to do a goose for us and another family. Now that it's just the two of us I'm really glad that a company here is cooking half geese in a vacuum bag, so it just needs heating and crisping up. A whole goose is a lot heavier than I can handle these days. But I know a butcher who sells goose fat that time of year. I have no problem using goose fat to cook the chicken thigh filets I buy.

I bet any of the poultry fats would be good as the fat for yorkshire puddings.

8reading_fox
Mar 15, 9:58am

>1 Sovay: You can use it for any savoury dish where you'd normally use oil. Any thing that's 'lightly fry the onions' or 'brown both sides' etc etc. Don't keep it too long unfrozen though it will go rancid much quicker than butter or oil, a week may be ok, but I'd be cautious after that.

Look for less fatty chickens? There will always be some fat under the skin but there shouldn't be globules around the joints and it shouldn't make buckets of fat during cooking.

>6 Sovay: - Goose fat is called for in many recipes though, and you can use your chicken fat in it's place. Lard is harder so you might not be able to replace that with chicken fat, but you could try.

9MarthaJeanne
Mar 15, 10:14am

>8 reading_fox: Lard melts easily, so if the lard is used hot, it would probably be fine. Or try half/half.