Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday's tip: Save chicken fat for cooking with

Two weeks back I wrote about buying whole chickens instead of parts, to save time and money in the kitchen. I mentioned that you can use the bones to make rich chicken stock, but at the time I hadn't considered what you can do with the liquid left at the bottom of the roasting pan.

Well, this past week I've been reading Kay Baxter's Change of Heart where she writes that she saves the fat from this liquid for cooking with. I thought this was a great idea, and since we had free range roast chicken last night, I decided to try my hand at saving the fat.

Collecting the fat
I cooked my chicken in a lidded container, which I think helped retain more liquid from the chicken in the pan.

After the liquid had cooled somewhat, I strained it through a sieve into a plastic takeaways container where I stored it in the fridge overnight. This morning I pulled it out and saw the fat had separated from the gravy and congealed on top.

It was simple to spoon this fat off into another plastic container, where I'll be able to scoop out what I need for cooking scrambled eggs, stir-frying meat or roasting vegetables, etc.

Good quality butter and oil are expensive to buy, so this will help me economise in the kitchen. It's also better for the environment as I won't be sending chicken fat down the drain to do damage elsewhere.

Health benefits
Chicken fat is good for my health. According to research conducted by Mary Enig (PhD) and Sally Fallon, the authors of Nourishing Traditions:

"Saturated fats from animals and vegetables provide a concentrated source of energy in the diet; they also provide the building blocks for cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormonelike substances. Fats as part of a meal slow down absorption so that we can go longer without feeling hungry. In addition, they act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Dietary fats are needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption and for a host of other processes."

I haven't tried cooking with the chicken fat yet, but I'll update this post when I do to let you know how it works.

Using the gravy
The gelatinous gravy won't be wasted either. I'll add it into a casserole or risotto to pack an extra flavour and health punch. Gelatin is amazingly nutritious. It strengthens muscles, skin, hair and nails, and helps us extract more nutrients from meat. This means we can get away with eating less meat, while still feeling full and getting all the nutrients and minerals we need.


  1. Great tip Emma. I save the fat from making chicken stock and add it to Liam's food. Adds great flavour as well as nutrition.

  2. Such a good idea Jodie! I'll have to remember that one.

  3. Thanks for this post! I hope more people will start using good fats in their cooking! And I love that consuming gelatin makes it so you don't have to consume a ton of meat. I'm all about eating meat, but in moderation, so I love tips on how to still get the health benefits without having to eat too much meat. I also save my bacon fat - makes yummy eggs!

  4. Awesome! I have been wondering about the logistics of saving chicken fat. I see now just how easy it really is... Thanks!!!


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