This morning I was re-reading the (very timely and very wise) discussion of bird-roasting in a cookbook I usually love. But this time I noticed something that made me gasp and smack the page. The sentence began: “Remove and discard the lump of fat…”
Discard the lump of fat?!?! Is she crazy? Schmaltz is the most wonderful stuff. To discard it is absolutely ridiculous. (How very American, really, to remove and discard the lump of fat. The most nutritious, energy-rich part. The most flavorful part. To throw away the fat of the land. Such a waste, such a waste!)
Okay, okay, I’m done channeling the Ashkenazi grandmas of the world.
I’m just here to remind you that poultry fat is lovely stuff. If you’re roasting a bird this Thanksgiving, you should save its fat in a little jar in your refrigerator. You can use it to sautÃ© vegetables, to flavor beans, to enrich sauces, to enliven soups… anyplace that wants a bit of tasty poultry richness. (And who wouldn’t want that?)
Just pour the extra fat off the juices in your roasting pan. And save the fat from the broth you make with the bones. And that little lump of fat inside the bird? You can leave it on if you like, and it will melt as the bird roasts. Or you can cut it off and render it as you would any other fat. Just please don’t throw it away, okay?
In case you’re geeky about fatty-acids (like I am), here are the details on all kinds of schmaltz (USDA data for 1 tablespoon of each):
Chicken fat: 2.7g polyunsaturated; 5.7g monounsaturated; 3.8g saturated.
Duck fat: 1.7g polyunsaturated; 6.3g monounsaturated; 4.3g saturated.
Goose fat: 1.4g polyunsaturated; 7.3g monounsaturated; 3.5g saturated.
Turkey fat: 3g polyunsaturated; 5.5g monounsaturated; 3.8g saturated.
And for reference…
Olive oil: 1.4g polyunsaturated; 9.9g monounsaturated; 1.9g saturated.
Butter: 0.4g polyunsaturated; 3g monounsaturated; 7.3g saturated.