Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Render this

We bought half a pig, all nicely cut up and stashed in the freezer. That includes a fair amount of lard, which the butcher gave us in its original form:

Before one can make it into tasty baked goods (see the Tourtiere from a few years back), you have to render it. So first you grind it into tiny shreds:
Then you put the tiny shreds in a heavy pan in the oven at very low heat, like 275 F, for a few hours. The recipe said to stir it to keep it from scorching, but with the heat that low in a convection oven with no heating element under the pan, that didn't seem to be a problem. The fat quickly melted, and started bubbling as the water boiled away. Eventually the bubbling stopped and the cracklings sank to the bottom.
So I took the pan out of the oven and poured off and strained the liquid fat, leaving the cracklings, which focused our dog's attention like nothing ever has before.

The liquid lard was fairly yellow, but they promised it would turn white after it cooled in the fridge.
Once it's chilled overnight, I'll see how it works in a pie crust.