Schmaltz and Gribenes

3/4 pound chicken skin and fat, diced (use scissors, or freeze then dice with a knife)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 medium onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices (optional)

In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, toss chicken skin and fat with salt and 1 tablespoon water and spread out in one layer. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, until fat starts to render and skin begins to turn golden at the edges.
Add onions and cook 45 to 60 minutes longer, tossing occasionally, until chicken skin and onions are crispy and richly browned, but not burned.

Strain through a sieve. Reserve the schmaltz. If you want the gribenes to be crispier, return to the skillet and cook over high heat until done to taste. Drain gribenes on a paper-towel-lined plate.

If you’d rather make the schmaltz in the oven (less splatter), skip the water, spread salted skin and fat on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees, stirring every 10 minutes. Add onion after 15 minutes. The timing will be about the same for both methods.

Another option is to do the schmaltz and gribenes seoarately.
Place the skin and fat into a skillet on the stovetop and turn heat to low. Cover the skillet and let it cook on low for about 15 minutes. Liquid fat will start to pool at the bottom of the skillet. Uncover the skillet and raise heat to medium low. Let it cook for another 15-20 minutes, breaking the pieces apart with a spatula and stirring frequently, until the skin starts to brown and curl at the edges. At this point there should be quite a bit of liquid fat at the bottom of the pan—this liquid is your schmaltz. Remove pan from heat. Pour the schmaltz from the skillet into a container, using a mesh strainer to catch any small pieces of skin.

After collecting the schmaltz, return the cooked chicken skin and fat to the skillet. Peel the onion, cut it into thin slices and add it to the skillet. Season the chicken skin and onions generously with salt and pepper. Turn heat to medium and sauté the mixture for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the pieces are dark brown and crispy. Don’t leave them alone for long or they’ll burn! You want them dark brown, but not blackened.

Remove with a slotted spoon, and salt and pepper to tasts.

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