Dedicated fans may recall in October last year I attempted to start a batch of pork confit a la Paula Wolfert in my tiny studio kitchenette. For those too busy to click on the above link, I will re-quote Paula’s feelings on confit:
“Confit is one of those unique ingredients that permanently enlarge your awareness of flavor, and is one of the few things that can accurately be said to add another dimension to any dish in which it is used.”
Intriguing. So, I went through the long and uneventful process of rendering lard and simmering pork in it, and then the longer and even more uneventful process of letting it sit in my refrigerator for four months. Four months! Two pork chops in my refrigerator for four months! Terrifying, isn’t it?
Anyway, I figured if I waited any longer bad things might happen, so last night I put the pork confit to use, in a recipe invented by my wife. Was it good? It was spectacular.
Pork Confit Risotto
This is not the first risotto recipe I’ve published, so I won’t go into great detail here.
This was just meant to be a small dish, and I didn’t take accurate measurements. I suppose I used about half a cup to a cup of my confit pork, shredded. Last time we saw it, it was encased in lard, so I had to dig it out with a fork and separate the lard from the pork. It tasted delicious just by itself.
First, I fried a chopped up onion in olive oil and butter and a little of the lard. When it was good and browned I added some chopped garlic, and perhaps half a cup of Arborio rice. Damn, Arborio rice is expensive, isn’t it? When the rice was nice and slick with butter I deglazed the pan with white wine and then added dribbles of beef stock, stirring on and off, until the rice was done, about half an hour. Just before serving I stirred in the pork and let it heat through.
I served this with some watercress, wilted briefly and then dashed with apple cider vinegar. This was an inspired guess. I like watercress, and I wish I lived near a stream where it grows naturally, because it’s bloody expensive, like Arborio rice. I thought: spinach with balsamic vinegar is good, and pork with apples is good, so watercress with apple cider vinegar with pork confit must be good. And guess what? I was right.
I made a kind of sauce by blending up some kalamata olives with unfiltered olive oil. I admit the end result won’t win any prizes for aesthetics, but it was great. Uncooked unfiltered olive oil is just nice. Topped the risotto with slivered parmesan, and there it was. Plates were cleared in under 10 minutes.