Fat is back in fashion. Thanks to diets such as Dukan, paleolithic and gluten free, people are recognising the benefits of saturated, natural fats and returning to traditional ways of eating.
Now lard has had a bad wrap, as far back as I can remember, but it is the perfect ingredient for pie-making, it yields fluffy and yet crisp pastries and spreads something delicious on a wodge of toast. Safe to say, lard is back and here's how to make the good stuff at home.
Time: 3 hours
Materials 5 pounds of organic pork belly fat
Heavy bottomed saucepan
Ensure the pork is organic and free range because bacteria clings to the non-organic, GMO meat.
Slice the fat into small chunks.
Add water to the pan and add the fat.
Allow to simmer on the lowest heat for 1 hour.
The water should have evaporated and the oil should be seeping out of the fat chunks.
Move the fat around to ensure it doesn't stick. Allow it to render for another two hours, checking every 30-40 minutes.
Once the fat resembles brown, familiar looking scratchings pour the oil out through a cheese cloth/ butter gauze.
Place the 'scratchings' to one side.
Pour the oil into a jar.
Place in the fridge to cool and solidify overnight.
You will have virtually odourless white lard ready to use for cooking as and when you please. This keeps in the fridge for months, so if you've ran out of olive, coconut or some expensive but oil, don't run to the shops, remember home-made rendered lard is a significantly cheaper alternative that is unbeatable for flavour - and is fantastic on toast, when rubbed over meats, or added to gravy.
If you're a connoisseur of fats you'll know that leaf lard - from pigs kidney's is the best you can buy. Admittedly my local butcher doesn't sell kidney fat, but I will find it and I'll show you exactly how it's done, once again.