Schmaltz Smashed Potatoes

Josh Kulp

Honey Butter Fried Chicken and Sunday Dinner Club, Chicago

Christine Cikowski

Honey Butter Fried Chicken and Sunday Dinner Club, Chicago

“At Honey Butter Fried Chicken, we work daily to reduce waste by composting and recycling throughout the restaurant. We also track waste as a group week to week and strategize at our staff meetings on how to reduce it further. Lastly, we try to be smart with ingredients, using what might be normally be discarded to create other delicious menu items. In the kitchen, we end up with lots of chicken bones. We roast the bones and the process releases a bunch of chicken fat from skin that might remain on the bones. We collect the fat and whip it into our smashed potatoes. We also take the bones and make stock which then becomes the bulk of our chicken fat gravy that tops the Schmaltz Smashed Potatoes.” —JBF Boot Camp alum Josh Kulp 



  • 3 cups roughly chopped chicken skin and fat
  • 1/2 cup water

Chicken Fat Gravy:

  • 1/3 cup schmaltz (rendered chicken fat)
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart chicken stock (preferably made with leftover chicken bones)
  • 1 teaspoon minced rosemary leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Smashed Potatoes:

  • 3 pounds red potatoes
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup schmaltz
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chicken fat gravy
  • Lemon zest


Make the schmaltz: combine the chicken skin and fat with water in a small pot and set over medium low heat. Stir occasionally and cook at a bare simmer for 1 hour. Increase the temperature to medium and continue to cook the mixture until the pieces of skin and fat have browned slightly, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain the mixture over a bowl. The strained fat in the bowl is about 2/3 of a cup of ready-to-use schmaltz. The crispy bits in the strainer are called gribenes (or chicken cracklings) and are delicious in their own right as a snack or sprinkled over mashed potatoes or in chicken salad. 

Make the gravy: in a medium pot over medium heat, add the schmaltz. Add the flour, mix well, and cook for approximately 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Working in stages, add the chicken stock while whisking to combine. After whisking the mixture until it's smooth, continue to add more stock. Bring the gravy to a simmer and continue stirring until the gravy has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Add the rosemary and salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, make the potatoes: in a pot filled with cold water, add the potatoes and a handful of salt and bring to a boil. Boil the potatoes and cook until fork-tender, about 30 minutes. While the potatoes boil, in a separate pot, combine the heavy cream, schmaltz, and butter over low heat and keep warm.

When the potatoes are fork tender, drain the potatoes and transfer to a large bowl. Using a potato masher or a sturdy large fork, smash the potatoes. If smoother potatoes are desired, pass the potatoes through a potato ricer or food mill.

Add the warm cream, schmaltz, and butter mixture to the potatoes and use a spatula to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately topped with the chicken fat gravy and a fresh grating of lemon zest.


4 to 6 servings