Crispy cracklin’s (or chicken chips, as my kids like to call them) are hard to resist if they’re done right! When you make them, you get two real food treats in the deal!
I’d heard the word “schmaltzy” before – describing things like a ridiculously over the top romance movie drama, or saccharine love song. Now I know why. Schmaltz is a soft, spreadable fat with amazing flavor, which can be used in frying, baking, or spread like butter… just as seductive as a good romance!
It’s easy to get, too. Basically, you cook a fatty piece of poultry slowly and let all the fat melt off. Alternatively, if you make a stock that has a lot of fat on top, you can let it cool and skim off the fat to use in cooking.
We got some lovely biodynamic chicken with very fatty skin from our friends at Friendly Haven Rise Farm. Since the baked Chicken Mughlai dish I was doing works better without a lot of fat rendering off during baking, I thought I’d pull the skins off some of the pieces and render the fat off them.
- Separate the skin from the chicken
- Put the pieces of skin in a single layer in your cast iron skillet (or other heavy pan).
- Cook on medium heat, not allowing them to smoke or curl up.
- Turn them periodically as the fat melts off.
- When the pieces are crispy, remove them from the fat and pour the fat into a jar
- Salt the cracklin’s and crunch them to your heart’s delight.