It’s easy to see why your grandmother loved it.
I don’t know much about lard. My guess is not many people are experts in the field. I don’t remember my Mom ever cooking with it and have no recollections of a jar or carton sitting in our fridge or pantry.
I do know one thing. The common grocery store variety, is not lard. I mean, I guess, technically it is, but, then again, not really. That’s the first lesson I learned after paging through Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient. There is a commercially produced product. And, then there’s the good stuff. We all want the good stuff.
Who in their right mind would author a cookbook glamorizing an ingredient that has been vilified over the past twenty years? Leave it to the Editors of GRIT Magazine to attempt to bring lard out of the doghouse and into our kitchens again. And they make a compelling (and tasty) case.
Here’s an example. Did you know that lard contains only fifty four percent of the saturated fat found in butter AND it is trans fat free when rendered properly? I certainly didn’t. I guess that’s the point here. There’s a lot to learn about this much maligned cooking staple of days gone by.
This book takes the subject seriously. So seriously, that the first recipe you will come across is how to render your own lard. If you would rather take the easy route, the book provides some great online resources for buying lard that has been lovingly rendered for your culinary enjoyment.
There are 150 recipes here ranging from Cherry Pie to Pot Pie and just about everything in between. As you would expect, there are loads of delicious recipes for baked goods. That’s where our featured ingredient really shines. Nothing makes a crust as flaky as lard.
With all of this lard talk you’re probably saying to yourself, “Hey this is great, but, how about an example I can sink my teeth into”. Done! Here’s an amazing fried potato recipe just for you.
Here’s how to do it.
Fried Potatoes Deluxe
4 cups raw potatoes, shredded
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
¾ tsp. salt
Dash black pepper
2 Tbsp. lard
In a large bowl combine the potatoes and cream. Add the salt, pepper and paprika. Mix Well.
Heat the lard in a large skillet over medium heat until just sizzling. Pour in the potato mixture and spread it evenly in the pan. Cover tightly. Reduce heat to low and cook until browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Remove lid and turn potatoes and cook uncovered until the other side is browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 6
Recipe courtesy of Andrews MacMeel Universal. Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient, The Editors of GRIT Magazine © 2012
The Bottom Line: Your first inclination is to think that this is a novelty cookbook. Not true. Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient has tons of useful information on a topic that not a lot has been written on. The recipes are straightforward and easy for home chefs of all skill levels. Beautiful food images are sprinkled throughout the pages. Am I going to cook out of it every day? No. Am I going to break it out for that killer Southern Fried Chicken recipe? You betcha.