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Delighting in Decadence: The Art of Making Herbed Pork Butter

Picture this: a cozy evening, a glass of your favorite wine in hand, a loaf of fresh, crusty bread on the table, and a dish of smooth, aromatic pork butter ready to be spread on your waiting slice. The pork butter is not just any ordinary spread—it’s fragrant with herbs and spices, promising a world of flavors with every bite.

What is Pork Butter?

If you haven’t yet been introduced to pork butter, let me have the honor. Pork butter, often known as ‘whipped lardo’, is a unique, mouth-watering delicacy originating from Italy. Essentially, it’s pork fat that’s been rendered down, then whipped with an array of flavorful additions until it achieves a butter-like consistency. While ‘whipped lardo’ may be its traditional name, let’s stick with ‘pork butter’—a kinder, more appetizing moniker for such an exquisite creation.

The beauty of pork butter lies in its simplicity. A basic version requires only a handful of ingredients: high-quality pork fat or lardo, garlic, red wine vinegar, rosemary, sea salt, and cracked black pepper. But the real magic happens when you start to play with these elements, adding your personal touch and creativity.

Today, we’re going to delve into the world of Herbed Pork Butter, an enhanced version of the traditional recipe. This variation is guaranteed to elevate your snacking, cooking, and even your entertaining game.

To make Herbed Pork Butter, you’ll need the ingredients of the basic pork butter, plus a variety of fresh herbs. The choice of herbs is entirely up to you, but a mix of thyme, parsley, sage, and additional rosemary creates a symphony of flavors that’s hard to beat.

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Herbed Pork Butter Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of pastured pork fat or lardo
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar
  • A sprig each of fresh thyme, parsley, sage, and rosemary (around 2 teaspoons when finely chopped)
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of cracked black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Grind or finely dice the pork fat.
  2. To whip the fat into a butter-like consistency, either add it to a mixing bowl and, using the whisk attachment, whip it until it is smooth and fluffy. Alternatively, you can use your fingertips to heat and soften the fat a bit, then use a fork to whip it up.
  3. Mince the garlic and finely chop the herbs.
  4. Add the garlic, chopped herbs, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper to the whipped pork fat and mix it all up well.
  5. Your Herbed Pork Butter is now ready to serve! Spread it generously on warm, crusty bread, or use it in your favorite recipes as a decadent, flavorful alternative to regular butter.
  6. Start by grinding or finely dicing your pastured pork fat. Place the fat in a mixing bowl and, using the whisk attachment of your mixer, whip it until it becomes smooth and fluffy. This is where the transformation begins. As you whip the fat, it will soften and take on a spreadable consistency.
  7. While the pork fat is being whipped, prepare your herbs. The key here is to use fresh herbs whenever possible as they will lend the pork butter a vibrant, aromatic flavor. Finely chop a mixture of thyme, parsley, sage, and rosemary, enough to yield about two teaspoons of finely chopped herbs. Also mince a small clove of garlic and prepare your red wine vinegar, sea salt, and a good crack of black pepper.
  8. Now comes the fun part. To the whipped pork fat, add your chopped herbs, garlic, a teaspoon of red wine vinegar, half a teaspoon of sea salt, and a quarter teaspoon of black pepper. Stir these ingredients into the whipped pork fat until they’re well incorporated.
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At this point, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of your creation. The whipped pork fat, now flecked with green herbs and bits of minced garlic, has been transformed into something truly special.

This Herbed Pork Butter is a revelation on a slice of fresh, crusty bread, where its rich, meaty flavor is complemented by the vibrant, aromatic herbs. But don’t stop there. Use it in place of regular butter in your favorite savory baking recipes, melt a dollop on top of a juicy steak or a baked potato, or even spread it on a cracker for an indulgent snack.

But, the real joy of making Herbed Pork Butter lies not just in the eating, but in the sharing. This spread is perfect for entertaining, adding a touch of rustic sophistication to any gathering. Pair it with a selection of charcuterie, cheeses, and pickles, or simply offer it with warm bread and watch your guests marvel at your culinary prowess.

Herbed Pork Butter is a celebration of the humble pork fat, transformed into a thing of beauty through the addition of herbs and seasonings. But more than that, it’s a testament to the art of simple, flavorful cooking—the kind of cooking that’s not about fancy techniques or exotic ingredients, but about elevating the ordinary into something extraordinary.

So, I invite you to embrace the decadence that is Herbed Pork Butter. Enjoy the process of creating it, savor its rich, complex flavors, and share it with those you love. After all, good food is meant to be shared. And trust me, this is good food.