So, I translated this dish as confit, as it sounds so much more appetizing than “slow cooked in lard”. Let me tell you how I come to be posting about this delicious dish. Do you find that you´ve struck up friendships through your blog? I bet the answer is yes.
Well, a blogging pal of mine, Mad Dog, has a bit of a passion for many things Spanish, due to having worked in Barcelona. We exchange e-mails and ideas from time to time and for some very strange reason recently, we were talking about lard and how it has fallen out of fashion. He sent me info about it and I was amazed to learn that weight for weight, it has less cholesterol than butter.
Anyway, I´ll leave it to him to tell you more another day, I´ll move on to the fact that lard most definitely has not fallen out of fashion in Spanish cooking. Round here, if you´re not using olive oil, it´s lard. Even in cakes. Many of the more traditional dishes use lard and it was very common to preserve pork in lard for the winter months, after the matanza, or pig killing. Back in those days the meat was stored in big earthenware pots and slabs of pork were dug out and used as needed.
Pork loin, slowly cooked in lard is a common dish still and is served cold and thinly sliced as a tapa, or warmed through or refried for a “plato de los montes” (a mountain dish) with egg, fried potatoes, fried peppers and chorizo and morcilla for an immensely filling meal.
To recreate this dish nowadays is very simple. Quantities are not that important as it will all depend on how much meat you are using. Nowadays people tend to cook it frequently and store it in the fridge – so no need for mountains of lard to cover kilos of meat.
An optional but highly recommended stage is to take your piece of boneless pork and the night before cooking rub it with a large garlic clove, sprinkle some salt over, add a small amount of white wine and chopped thyme and forget about it until the next day.
You will need enough pure lard which, when melted, will cover the pork when it is in a container. Cut the pork into thick slices (about 10cm wide), remove any garlic and thyme clinging to it and put in a pan with the lard on a very low hear. Cook very slowly until the meat is cooked through but not browned. Some people mix a little olive oil in with the lard, that´s up to you.
Now either leave the meat in the cooking pot if you do happen to have a nice earthenware one or transfer it to a storage container and leave to cool. The lard will revert to solid form and cover the meat. When you want to serve it, remove the meat from the fat, covering over any pieces that become exposed. This will keep for several weeks at least, but if you plan on storing it for longer (which is probably unlikely), don´t salt it before cooking.
As a tapa, slice thinly and serve with a chilled glass of your favourite wine or beer, a little slice of bread and a few tangy olives. Old men in flat caps are optional.