Fun with Lard
Sooo on a whim this weekend I bought a nice big hunk of leaf lard from the Wooly Pig stand in the farmers market, and thought it would be a fun experiment to render down some lard for use in...well, there lies the problem.
I now have a freezer full of neat little sticks of lard, and a fridge full of cracklins. Unfortunately, I really didn't think too far past that. Anyone have good ideas for a bunch of lard? Other than making pie crust (although im sure I will make a few, I don't really need that much pie in my life)
I know its often used in mexican food, but it looks like most recipes on the internet ive come across have been gringo-ized and don't call for it.
bad comes to worse, I can save it for thanksgiving..
Homemade refried beans. You can soak and cook pinto beans or use canned. Take some lard, saute some onion and garlic. Add the beans, cook until soft, then puree. add s & p to taste.
Can also make fried pork chunks. Marinate cut up pork(boneless ribs work well). Put lard in a pan and cook the pork chunks slowly until the meat is tender, then turn up the heat to get the outside crispy.
I made an English muffin recipe last night that used lard- that would take care of a 1/4 cup for you...
From my experience, lard and a cast iron pan are essential for heating tortillas. Oil just isn't the same. Also, I second the refried beans. I use the same recipe, but I simmer dried beans with epazote. I add dried chiles of some sort as well. Lately its been arbol.
To get my lard, I add an inch or so of water to a deep braising pan, and put another braising pan in that, and then roast a pork shoulder on an inverted muffin tin that I used as a rack at 325 for several hours. Then, I shred the pork and reserve the fat that wasn't rendered. All of the fat goes into my cast iron pan and back into the oven for a while. Then I let it cool a little and strain it. I get lard, pork to use on a whim, a soup bone, and I maintain my iron cookware.
See cookbooks by Diana Kennedy and Rick Bayless for great Mexican recipes that use lard.
You can also use lard, either alone or in combination with duck fat, to make confit pork (butt, shoulder, blade end), pork sausagues or duck. See Paula Wolfert's The Cooking of Southwest France for recipes and procedures.
Lard is an excellent frying medium. Use it instead of butter or oil for browning pork, poultry or even lamb and shellfish. Great for deep-frying too.
You can substitute lard for up to half the butter in cakes and many other baked goods, usually with an improvement in texture.
Have you made a pie crust yet from your leaf lard? It's like a magic elixir, the crust is so light and flaky. With summer fruit coming in, your stash may disappear faster than you realize!