Schmaltz or schmalz is rendered pork, chicken or goose fat used for frying or as a spread on bread, especially in German, Ashkenazi Jewish and Chinese cuisines.

Schmaltz rendered from a chicken or goose is popular in Jewish cuisine;  it was used by Northwestern and Eastern European Jews who were forbidden by kashrut (Jewish dietary laws) to fry their meats in butter or lard, the common forms of cooking fat in Europe, and who could not obtain the kinds of cooking oils, such as olive oil and sesame oil, that they had used in the Middle East and around the Mediterranean (as in Spain and Italy) – the overfeeding of geese to produce more fat per bird produced post classical Europe’s first foie gras as a side effect.

Schmaltz is great for frying potatoes, sauteing vegetables, making a roux, or flavoring pâtés and savoury mousses.

500g chicken, duck, goose or pork fat – (ask your butcher) finely chopped
250g chicken skin, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
  1. Put chicken fat and skin, onions, salt, and 3⁄4 cup water into a pot over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring form time to time, until fat has rendered and skin is crisp, about 1 1⁄2 hours.
  2. Strain, reserving crisp skin to use as a garnish for sautéed greens or chopped liver.
  3. Schmaltz will keep, in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator, for 2 weeks.

Make about 1 1/2 cups

For more see Jewish inspired recipes see Jewish Delis Around the World

Wickedfood Cooking School runs cooking classes throughout the year at its purpose-built Johannesburg cooking studio. Cookery classes are run in the mornings and evenings 7 days a week (subject to a minimum of 12 people). The venue is also popular for corporate events and private functions – teambuilding cooking classes, birthdays, kitchen teas, and dinner parties with a difference.

Our cooking lessons are hands-on, where every person gets to participate in the preparation of the dishes. They are also a lot of fun where you not only learn new skills, but get to meet people with similar interests. For corporate groups and team building cooking classes these events are a novel way of creating staff interaction or entertaining clients.