About two years ago we were fortunate enough to find a source of wild boar meat. They are a big nuisance in Japan, causing all kinds of damage to crops and properties and occasionally attacking people. Populations of wild boar can be very high in rural areas, so the government encourages farmers to trap and kill boars to reduce their numbers.
Our friend's step-father lives in the countryside near Fukuyama and often traps boars on his property. He usually eats them too, but can only eat so much and apparently there isn't enough demand to get rid of all the meat. Those are the moments when it is good to know a Canadian family!
|A boar trap|
We were overjoyed to have access to healthy game meat and gladly agreed to take any and all boar that he was willing to send our way. We have gotten some dropped off here and there over the past two years and enjoyed every bite. This week our friend came by and gave us 6 kilos of meat. I was surprised at how fatty this boar had been, especially since it is winter, and I was able to trim quite a bit of fat from the meat.
I trimmed so much off that I started to feel a little bit weird at the prospect of just throwing it out. Most of my life has been spent under the belief that animal based fats are to be completely avoided. However, there is continuously growing evidence that saturated animal fats are not actually the heart killers they were made out to be all these years.
I have never tried rendering fat before but I pushed my mental stigma aside and decided to try making some wild boar lard.
First I trimmed the fat from the meat which left me with about 1 kilo of fat.
I cut it into smallish (~1cm size) pieces. I put the pieces into my nabe pot with 175 ml of water.
I popped the nabe with no lid into my oven at 150 Celsius and baked for about 4 hours. I stirred the fat chunks every 10 minutes or so in the first hour of baking so that nothing would burn. As soon as the fat started melting down I wasn't too worried about anything sticking or browning too quickly.
After 4 hours, the water had completely cooked out and tiny pieces of meat and fat crackles were all that was left.
I used a sieve with a paper towel inside, a funnel, a glass jar, and ladle to transfer and strain the fat. A cheese cloth would have worked much better for fine straining but I didn't have one so paper towel worked fine in a pinch. Once I strained the liquid fat through the paper towel and sieve into the jar, I put all of the crackles in a paper towel and gave them a good squeeze to get all the extra fat out. Another bonus is that my extremely dry hands now look pretty nice!
In the end I had only about 1/2 cup of crackles and crispy meat left. Rosie tried these out and thought they were delicious so maybe I will save them to mix into their morning omelette or something.
I was able to sieve nearly a jar of honey coloured liquid.
After a few hours the fat cooled and I was left with a jar of clean, ivory coloured lard. I wasn't sure if there would be a trace of gaminess to it but there is only a slightly bacony smell and basically no taste. I think I should be able to safely use it in any kind of pastry without changing the flavour. Success!
First recipe to try it out on? Boar stew with boar lard dumplings. I can't wait!