Schmaltz

Michael Kraus

** Schmaltz** makes everything taste better. That staple of Jewish cooking—rendered chicken fat flavored with a little onion—goes into all my favorite dishes: matzo brei (fried matzo with caramelized onion), mashed potatoes, and chopped chicken liver, to name a few. I often render my own schmaltz, after asking my butcher to save a few pounds of chicken fat and skin for me. It's the epitome of slow food; I simmer the ingredients in a large pot over low, low heat for hours and ladle out the crispy bits, or gribenes, that float to the top. I save most of those cracklings to add to chopped liver; my kids always polish off the rest. —Jonathan Labovich, San Rafael, California