Published March 29, 2013 - Last Updated January 22, 2021
The Passover Potluck is a unique annual online event. I’ve invited my friends, both Jewish and non-Jewish, to share recipes that are kosher for Passover. My goals are simple– to foster mutual understanding between different cultures, to introduce you to my foodie friends, and to share yummy recipes and cooking ideas for Passover! To learn more about the Passover holiday, click here.
Passover Potluck 2013 is generously sponsored by Idaho Potatoes.
“Don’t fear the schmaltz!” I often have the urge to holler this phrase from the rooftop… or at least from the top of my kitchen stepstool. Schmaltz (aka rendered chicken fat) has received a bad rap over the past several years, in large part because it contains cholesterol. Recently, however, schmaltz has been “rediscovered” as a cooking fat due to a renewed interest in the work of Weston A. Price and the paleo diet. It’s an important ingredient in many traditional Jewish recipes, and is a must-know for anybody wanting to prepare authentic Ashkenazi cuisine. Historically, it was used by Eastern European Jews who needed a kosher, dairy-free cooking fat that could be served alongside meat. Goose schmaltz was the more common choice in Eastern Europe. Jewish immigrants to America began to rely on chicken fat as chicken meat was more popular and easier to obtain. Schmaltz fell out of favor in the U.S. with the advent of margarine, shortening, and other processed non-dairy fats. While I don’t promote the overuse of schmaltz, I do vastly prefer it to processed alternatives like margarine. In moderation, schmaltz is an underutilized cooking fat that can add a tremendous amount of flavor to your cooking.
In this recipe, a traditional French potato preparation takes on a new personality with the addition of schmaltz. Potatoes Lyonnaise are usually made by frying onions and pre-boiled potato slices, usually in butter or olive oil or a combination of the two. Some preparations call for animal fat, but most rely on butter for a rich flavor. Here, I’ve used chicken schmaltz along with olive oil to infuse the potatoes with meaty, dairy-free flavor. Caramelized onions, lots of salt and pepper, and a sprinkling of chopped fresh dill make this a somewhat Yiddish-inspired take on the French dish. Idaho potatoes are a great choice for this dish, they cook up crispy and golden brown on the outside, light and fluffy within. You can serve these Schmaltz Potatoes Lyonnaise with a kosher meat meal because they don’t include any dairy; they’re also gluten free and kosher for Passover.
To learn how to make schmaltz, click here. You can also purchase frozen schmaltz in most kosher markets. For a terrific iPad cookbook written by Michael Ruhlman that is completely dedicated to schmaltz, click here.
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Thanks for stopping by! I am fascinated by the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the foods of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s food can inspire us in the kitchen today. Read more...