Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Don't You Dare Throw Out That Pork Skin

If you find yourself in possession of excess pork skin, as I did on New Year's Eve, don't get rid of it--make cracklins/fried rinds/ChicharrĂ³n! These don't have to be eaten in the traditional Simpsonian way: out of a bag from the gas station. The following steps were adapted from Crazy Hair's advice and made on New Year's Eve to accompany the roast on-the-bone pork belly with a cider/chile glaze and pomegranate seeds. The idea is that you want to get rid of all moisture, including the fat:
  • boil the pork skin for a few hours to render the fat and break down the tough matrix of proteins in the skin;
  • lay the skin with the "outside" up on a rack on a pan in a low, low oven, as low as it goes, with the oven door vented with a spoon or something like that, overnight;
  • scrape as much of the remaining fat and meat from the skin with the back of a knife. You only want skin here!
  • boil for a couple more hours;
  • dry it again;
  • cut it into little chunks;
  • fry the chunks in hot oil;
  • remove from oil to a rack and toss with salt and whatever else you want.
I rained these all over that belly and the crispy crunch gave the unctuous belly some really nice texture, with the pomegranate seeds adding a really nice, bright punch. Mmm...porky.