Image courtesy of Alan Benson.
Schmaltz is rendered or clarified chicken fat used for cooking. It's delicious. This is particularly gorgeous because it comes from the pasture-raised Sommerlad Heritage chickens that are bred by Kim and Bryan Kiss at Grasslands Poultry near Wellington, NSW.
About Sommerlad Chickens from Grasslands Poultry
Sommerlad Heritage chickens are the result of a 15 year breeding project developed by Michael and Kathryn Sommerlad to develop an old-fashioned, deeply-flavoured table bird designed specifically to thrive outside on Australian pastures with the highest animal welfare outcomes.
Sommerlad chickens live on pasture for between 12 -16 weeks. This is up to three times longer than conventional white broilers which make up the remainder of the Australian meat industry and is a consequence of the slow growing genetics that allow for the development of strong bones and more deeply flavoured meat. Sommerlad birds have longer legs and more even meat distribution than the breast-heavy white broiler chicken and they are vigorous, athletic and curious, ranging far afield in search of grubs and green pick.
They’re wonderful to look at too, with multi-coloured feathers and a variety of colours, shapes and sizes - breeds include Transylvanian Naked Necks, Australian Game, Croad Langshan and Plymouth Rock.
"We’ve specifically bred them to thrive in free-range pasture rearing environments. (Characteristics include) active foraging behaviour, heat-resistance, balanced body confirmation and strong legs, as well as good liveability with improved, natural resistance to diseases endemic to Australian poultry flocks.”
Michael and Kathryn Sommerlad
"The flavour of a Sommerlad chicken is something very special, it’s the combination of the heritage breeds that makes this chicken stand out. The free range environment and the naturally slower growing birds also helps to develop their full flavour."
Peter Gilmore, Executive Chef, Quay Restaurant
Sommerlad Heritage chickens represent a profoundly welcome return to the days before a single genetic strain of white chicken was raised by the thousands in artificial light inside sheds with the exclusive purpose of achieving maximum efficiency, volume and speed to market with the least investment.
We’re proud to have been actively supporting this project and selling Sommerlad birds since late 2014.