Mangalitsa leaf lard biscuits
the flakiest biscuits, made with home-rendered Mangalitsa leaf lard
There’s been much talk of leaf lard lately, that ultra-clean fat that surrounds a pig’s kidneys that, when used in pastries and biscuits, creates the flakiest texture possible. I’ve written about leaf lard in Seattle Magazine, and more recently, Ashley Rodriguez of Not Without Salt provided beautiful, step-by-step photos on the process. I’ve used both Skagit River and Seabreeze leaf lard in the past, but this weekend, my husband bought home 1 1/2 lbs. of Mangalitsa leaf lard (only $8 at the U-District farmer’s market) and we rendered it at home in a Dutch oven. I made a tray of biscuits to take to our friend Atta’s birthday this weekend. A true Southern boy at heart, Atta had a few friends bring homemade biscuits, while he provided a spread of fried chicken, gravy, baked beans, and coleslaw for thirty. We ate while his wife Michelle and their friend Darrin sang and played a live set in their front yard.
Atta is the best guy, and I thought he deserved the very best biscuits, made with the very best fat for his birthday. I rendered my own leaf lard, which doesn’t require much effort at all. To do it yourself at home, get a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, and simply add 1/3 cup of water to 1 1/2 lbs. of chopped leaf lard. Place it in the oven, uncovered, at 300 degrees, for about 50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so. After 50 minutes, the fat rendered out will be liquid gold, and there will be lovely pieces of chicharones floating on top–sprinkle these with salt, and enjoy. (Or invite me over and I will eat them for you.) Then, strain out the fat, and allow it to cool in your fridge or freezer. Rendered lard keeps beautifully, covered in an air-tight container in the freezer for up to a year.
When the fat cools, it will become opaque and white, ready for cutting into your favorite pie crust recipe, or in my case, a batch of biscuits. I used my go-to biscuit recipe here, choosing to go with all leaf lard instead of my usual combination of leaf lard and butter. (All the other ingredients, and the steps were kept the same.) And oh, these biscuits! They rose so tall and proud, and the crunch when I bit into each golden-bottomed biscuit could be heard by my husband standing next to me, his own biscuit in hand.
I do hope you’ll give leaf lard a try in your pie crusts or biscuits. After all, it’s what blue ribbon-winning Kate McDermott uses in her pie crusts as well!
ETA: Just found more praise for Kate’s pies via Pork, Knife and Spoon!
Posted: August 31st, 2009 under Uncategorized.