Rendering Leaf Lard

Leaf lard surrounds a pig’s kidneys and is of very high quality.  Leaf lard enjoyed a revered place on the baking counter, until it was usurped in the early part of the 20th century by the brilliant needs no refrigeration marketing campaign of vegetable shortening.

To Render:

  • Ask your butcher for leaf lard and not back fat.   Five to 6 pounds is a decent amount to make 4 or 5 pints worth. Look at it to make sure it doesn’t have a lot, or preferably any red meat on it. If it has a lot, it may be back fat which is not as high quality.
  • With a clean sharp knife, chop the fat into small pieces about the size of an almond.
  • Cover the bottom of a heavyweight stockpot with a bit of water. Spread the pieces of fat evenly over the surface of the pan.
  • Turn the burner to low, and set the pot on top. Then relax and stir occasionally while the fat melts. The white fat will turn clear as it melts. Five to 6 pounds of fat can take three hours or so in the oven, but less time on the stovetop.
  • Be sure that the fat doesn’t scorch or it will give a noticeable flavor to the finished leaf lard.
  • When most of the pieces are melted, carefully pour the clear hot fat through a double layer of cheesecloth and into a bowl. Ladle out any remaining fat bits and finish by ladling into jars. Let cool completely before you put on the lids.
  • To freeze, you can let the rendered leaf lard cool completely in the bowl, weigh out 4-ounce pieces, individually wrap, and freeze in dated freezer bags.
  • When you feel a pie making or biscuit session coming on, you’re already one step ahead.

 

Ikura No Shoyuzuke (Soy Sauce Cured Salmon Roe)

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1 large very fresh sac of salmon roe (about 7 ounces)
½ cup sake
2 tablespoons high-quality soy sauce

Set a medium-sized bowl in the kitchen sink and fill with warm, not hot water. Submerge the egg sac in the water and gently pry the roe from the outer membrane. Remove the membrane tendrils from among the eggs. Drain the eggs as you go in a wire-mesh strainer.

Dump the milky water used to soak the sacs.  In a bowl pour in the sake and let salmon roe soak for at least 30 minutes. Drain and discard.  Add the soy sauce, and taste. Add a dash or more soy sauce, to taste. The roe should be balanced between their  sweetness and the  soy sauce but should not be too salty.  Serve as an appetizer in a small, bowl with soy sauce and chopsticks alongside.

it’s lightly cured so it’s quite perishable.

Garnish with a little slivered yuzu or Meyer lemon peel, if you like.

Offal : Butchering A Beef Heart – Chris Cosentino

What is Offal?

• Edible internal organs: the edible, mainly internal organs of an animal, e.g. the heart, liver, brains, and tongue, sometimes regarded as unpalatable.
• Literally mean “off fall,” or the pieces which fall from a carcass when butchered.
• Meat which is used as food which is not skeletal muscle.
• Aka. Organ meats and variety meats.
• Ex. Heart, liver, kidneys, brains, tongue, tails, feet, etc.

Beef Heart was described by Michael Ruhlman,

“Heart is an excellent muscle to eat: it’s lean and flavorful (meaty but not organy—it’s a hard working muscle, not squishy spleen), it’s got a good bite, and it’s inexpensive (I bought the three-pound grass-fed beef heart for six bucks last Saturday). And one more thing: it puts to use a cut that is often thrown away; it’s important that we do our best to make use of all parts of the animals we kill for our food.”

This video shows Chris Cosentino cleaning a beef heart.

Odd Bits

OddBits

Chef Jennifer McLagan is an amazing cookbook author.  She is the author of Bones : Recipes, History and Lore, Fat : An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, and Odd Bits : How to Cook the Rest of the Animal.  She now has a new TV show of the same name, Odd Bits.  Below is a preview and clip from the show.  I am so looking forward to seeing the show.  I love the concept and a real cooking show.

When Odd Bits came out in 2012 she did a series of interviews including the one below.  It is a treat to have not only chefs and authors, but everyday eaters and cooks bridging the gap to eatting offal.  Starting with something not too foreign to your palate like lamb shank, then moving on to beef cheek, then to maybe sweetbreads of calf’s liver and before you know it trying brain ravioli, etc…