The first time I bought some lard to make the pastry for chicken and leek pie, a horrified thrill ran through me. Lard! I was actually buying lard and I was going to cook and eat it too! Though really, I shouldn’t have a problem with it – sometimes I eat Bacon Frazzles and heaven knows what they contain.
So here, by request, is how to clarify fat and as a bonus, how to render it! Both methods are from Florence Greenberg’s Jewish Cookery Book, (1947). I have never done this – if you have, or if you go on to do so, let us know! NB. I have no idea how long fat processed according to either method can be stored and used safely. Caveat culinator (or something)!
To clarify dripping (or other fat)
Melt the fat and strain into a large bowl. Then pour over double the quantity of boiling water. Stir well and leave till cold and set. Remove the cake of fat from the top of the water, scrape off any sediment from the bottom of the cake, then melt the fat and pour into a clean basin.
To render fat
Use any trimmings of raw or cooked fat. Either cut into very small pieces or put through a mincer. Then put it in a baking tin and bake in a slow oven until all the fat is extracted and only crisp brown pieces remain or place in a saucepan or enamel dish, add a spoonful or two of water, and place over a gentle heat til all the fat is extracted.