It is always risky experimenting in the kitchen, when the results of said experiment are meant to be dinner.
I finally got my hands on some leaf lard, the best form of animal fat for baking. Leaf lard is prized for its lack of porky flavor, and is found around the kidneys and the loin.
Lard is slowly coming back in to fashion. Marginalized for decades after the production of vegetable shortenings and oils, it is enjoying a comeback in the culinary world. And for good reason. It works beautifully as a shortening in pastry, creating a very flaky crust, is fairly inexpensive (of course that will change once it becomes more popular with hipster foodies), and as a naturally occurring fat, can be argued to be better for your body than those nasty hydrogenated vegetable shortenings.
So... back to dinner. This week I made my first pie dough using leaf lard. I keep it frozen, which makes it easy to cube, and it proved no more difficult to utilize than butter.
Instead of a dessert pie, I decided to experiment with a savory one, putting it together for tonight's dinner. I had a decent amount of roasted pork belly left over, which I combined with sauteed onions and rhubarb, seasonings, and the leftover caramel-vinegar glaze from dinner earlier in the week.
This may be hands-down the ugliest pie I have ever made. I was in a hurry; I needed to get outside before the skies opened up and get some more garden planting done.
Thank goodness appearances aren't everything. While it lacked in aesthetic appeal, it actually proved to be quite tasty.
So, all in all, a decent success. I will definitely be using leaf lard again. You'll probably see the results on this blog. Stay tuned...