Homemade lard and pork scratchings from Lidgates: The Meat Cookbook are filling, moreish and very simple to make at home

This simple homemade lard and pork scratchings recipe comes from Lidgates: The Meat Cookbook by Danny Lidgate and Hattie Ellis. This filling, but incredibly moreish, snack is surprisingly simple to make at home.

Fat is back, with butter, lard and dripping all in favour. For more simple recipes, read how to make the best gravy for pheasant – a roast game supper essential.

HOMEMADE LARD AND PORK SCRATCHINGS

The pork fat used for lard comes from two places: the back, where the fat is relatively hard, and the belly, which has a lining of soft fat. The latter, known as flare fat, is the easiest to render at home. It comes away from the animal in one piece and a butcher, given a decent amount of notice, will put it aside and sell it to you for a good price.

Serves 4

  • 1 piece of flare fat
  • Sea salt flakes, for the scratchings

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

Using a small, sharp knife, chop the fat into small pieces, about 1cm-2.5cm square. Alternatively, ask a butcher to put it through a mincer for you – but you won’t get scratchings at the end.

Spread out the chopped fat in a roasting tray and put in the oven for about 10 minutes – until it starts to render (melt). As it does, carefully pour it out of the roasting tray into a heatproof jug or bowl. Return the tray to the oven and repeat this process at five-minute intervals. Take care the fat doesn’t burn or it will taint the taste of the lard. You can filter the melted fat by pouring it through muslin to catch any brown bits. But if you’re watchful during the rendering, you can pour off the fat before the rind gets too brown and it won’t be necessary to filter it.

When most of the fat has rendered, remove the brown remnants from the pan and set aside to cool. (The fat remaining in the roasting tray can be used to make a really good toad-in-the-hole because plenty of fat is the secret to getting a lovely crispy base to your batter.)

Once cooled, cover the lard (and scratchings) and store in the fridge. When you want to eat the scratchings, put them on a baking sheet in the preheated oven until the outside crisps up (4-5 minutes). Sprinkle with sea salt flakes before serving. These are soft scratchings with a melting texture – very filling yet also very moreish.