January 11, 2010

Pie, the Lardman, and Me

I have an arrangement with a farmer at the Grand Army Plaza farmer's market. He gives me lard from his locally raised pigs (and often, vegetables) and in return I bring him pies. Usually apple pies, as that's the kind he always asks for.
My friends make fun of me and call him my boyfriend. Mr. Coffee simply refers to him as the Lardman.
Mr Coffee is pretty happy with this arrangement. He gets a lot of pie out of the deal, as it's almost as easy to make two apple pies as it is to make one.

My Lardman gives me the lard packaged in great big gobs.

It's my job to render it.
First I chop it up into small pieces.

Then I put it into a great big cast iron cauldron. I make sure there's a wee bit of water at the bottom of the pot, so the lard doesn't brown or burn before it starts rendering.

I let it cook for several hours, stirring every once in a while, until the liquid fat has turned a soft gold.

Then I ladle it out into a jar, straining it through a coffee filter.

Look at it. Ain't it purdy?

If you want, you can keep cooking the remaining pieces until they are a deep golden brown and then strain the rest of the liquid. This gives you a darker, more porky tasting lard. Not so good for pies but great for refried beans or stews. Use any place you might be tempted to use bacon drippings.

Those deep golden brown cubes of fat are called cracklings, and they last a long time in the fridge and are great in things like cornbread.


amy mcnamara said...

what do i have to do to get one of these pies?

Anonymous said...

Back about a week before Christmas, Miss Masala arrived at our house for some holiday cheer. Mr Coffee, Soccer Monster and the Vegetarian were in tow. In her frozen hands she carried one of her famous pies; because of the snow storm and a bus that never came, it had taken them almost two hours to get to our place...as the crow flies we live maybe 1.2 miles away from one another. I was so touched that she had baked something for us. Ha! It was really for the Lardman who had stood her up that day. No complaints about the pie, however! We all had pieces on our plates and then I will admit I finished it later that evening using a fork and eating it directly from the pie plate. The filling, perfect melding of sweet and tart. The crust, melted on your mouth. yummmmmmm

Anonymous said...

Long live lard!

Unknown said...

I cant believe you ate the whole thing and did not leave any for me!

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