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Vegetarian Schmaltz II (P, TNT)
Source: "Healthy Jewish Cooking," by Steven Raichlen
Yield: 1 cup

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine
1 medium onion, finely chopped

Heat the oil and margarine in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until the margarine melts. Add the onion. Cook onion until dark brown, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring as needed to ensure even browning. You'll need to lower the heat to medium-low, then low, to keep the onions from burning.

Strain the schmaltz into a clean jar and refrigerate until using (The mixture will keep for several weeks.) Reserve the fried onions: these are the vegetarian equivalent of gribenes (cracklings) and they're great sprinkled over potatoes and kugels, not to mention nibbling in small quantities as a snack!

Poster's Notes:
I just purchased a cookbook, "Healthy Jewish Cooking," by Steven Raichlen (Viking/Penguin, 2000). It contained a surprising entry regarding the "healthy nutritional breakdown" of schmaltz. I quote:
"Schmaltz is actually better for you than butter. Tablespoon for tablespoon, schmaltz contains one third the amount of cholesterol (11mg vs. 31 mg) and half the amount of saturated fat (3.8g vs. 7.1g) found in butter. A tablespoon of schmaltz actually contains less overall fat than an equal amount of olive oil. (The reason for this is that schmaltz contains water.)

That's not to say schmaltz is a healthy food--far from it--and you definitely use this golden elixer in moderation. But a spoonful of schmaltz here and there can add that Old World flavour that will make even healthy Jewish cooking taste authentic."

"Mock schmaltz started turning up in Jewish Kitchens in the 1970s; the result of a dual desire to reduce the cholesterol found in regular schmaltz and to create a flavourful cooking fat you could use in a fleischig meal. By frying onions in a mixture of margarine and canola oil, we create a schmaltz-like fat rich with flavour of browned onions that contains no cholesterol and only 1.5g saturated fat per tablespoon (compared with 5g in an equal amount of butter)."

Posted by Karen Gall

Nutritional Info Per Serving: 114 Calories per tablespoon; .15g protein; 12g fat; 1.5g saturated fat; .8g carbohydrate; .4g sodium; 0g cholesterol.