To render chicken fat for schmaltz and make gribenes:
1/2lb. fatty chicken skin combined with 1/8 lb. chicken fat – all frozen
1 onion, minced
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
For eggs and onions:
6 duck eggs (strongly preferred) or large chicken eggs
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 scallions, including 1 inch of green, finely chopped
4 tablespoons schmaltz mixed with 1 tsp. white miso (TFD made a VERY optional change by adding the miso – remove it if you want the classic recipe)
Lots of kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon or more to taste of gribenes (optional but strongly recommended)
To make the schmaltz and gribenes:
Whenever you prepare chickens, pull off as much of the fat as possible and trim the skin (such as at the cavity opening and the neck). Save them in a bag or container in the freezer. When you’ve accumulated a “critical mass” (at least ½ pound; more is better), remove from the freezer. I’ve found it is easier to handle when still frozen. I take a serrated-edge knife and start shaving it down into little bits.
Finely dice onions; the more the better. I use about one large onion for each ½ lb. of fat. Put the onion and cut-up fat in a skillet with a large bunch of fresh thyme and a bay leaf or two and place on low heat. You’re interested in melting the fat.
Continue frying until the onions are dark golden-brown and the skin is entirely crisped. Turn off the heat and allow to cool (the onions will continue browning because of the high temperature of the schmaltz).
Once it is cooled to close to room temperature, you have the choice of transferring all (minus the thyme and bay) to another container to set — schmaltz, onions, gribbenes and all — or straining the schmaltz through a fine sieve and enjoying the onions and gribbenes separately. For this recipe, save the onions from the schmaltz-making for another dish.
To make the perfect hard-boiled eggs: put six very large chicken (or use TFD’s preferred – duck eggs!) eggs (ideally ones that have been in the fridge for at least a week – older eggs are easier to peel) in water just enough to cover in a pot with 1 tablespoon of salt.
Bring to the boil, then immediately lower the heat to a very light simmer for 7 minutes. At the 7 minute mark, raise the heat to high and count down 4 minutes – it should come back to a full boil.
At the 4 minute mark, drain the eggs and immediately run under cold water until cool enough to handle.
If you are lucky enough to own a sous-vide machine, heat the water to 85 degrees Celsius, add the eggs, cook 22 minutes then remove them and add to an ice water bath for 5 minutes.
Chop eggs BY HAND (do not use a food processor) into small chunks and set aside in a bowl.
Heat schmaltz in a skillet over medium heat and sauté onions until translucent and slightly browned.
Gently mix eggs and sautéed onions and stir in the remaining ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix. Serve with pletzel, pumpernickel, challah, or during Passover – matzo.
You may garnish each portion with fresh tomatoes (in season) and thinly sliced english cucumbers or with dill pickles and pickled beets.