Introduction: Smalec, the Polish's Best Friend
Smalec is the Polish word for lard, the main ingredient of this culinary wonder. This traditional Polish recipe will give you the chance to experience a whole new dimension of flavours. Its versatility will allow you to incorporate it to many cookings and it is easy to make. So let's get started!
Step 1: Ingredients
250g Pork fatback, better if already salted
250g Bacon, better if smoked
300g Onion, better if it is sweet
250g Acid Apple
1 tbsp Marjeram
Step 2: Phase 1
- Cut the fatback and bacon into 5-7mm dice.
- Distribute them uniformly in a non-stick pan. Set the stove at medium-low temperature (3-4 in a scale from 1 to 10). The fatback and bacon will start to melt. In order not to overheat (burn) the ingredients, this process must be carried out slowly, which will be 2-3 hours for the quantities in this recipe. If the temperature is too high the fatback dice may burst!
- Stir the mix every 10-15 minutes to prevent it from getting burnt. Both ingredients will get a golden hue as you cook them but they should never get toasted (dark brown). The bacon will reduce it's sice to 3-4mm.
- At about 20 minutes from the beginning, the fatback and bacon will start releasing water. It will appear floating in the surface in the form of foam, which will evaporate by itself, so no action is needed regarding this foam.
- Do not add any salt in this phase. Salt does not dilute in the fat and it will end up at the bottom of the recipient.
- After 3-4 hours, you will obtain a mix of the molten fatback and golden bacon bits.
Step 3: Phase 2
- As the ingredients of phase 1 are cooking, chop the onion in 5-7 mm dice.
- After a couple of hours, when the fatback has molten, put 4-5 tablespoons of it in another pan with the onion. The onion will be confited in this fat.
- Add some salt.
- Confit the onion for 30 minutes at medium heat (5-6/10).
- Dice the apple into 5-7mm pieces and add it to the confited onion.
- Keep confiting the apple until it becomes soft but not so much that it comes apart.
- Add the marjeram and confit for another 5 minutes.
Step 4: Phase 3
- Put the preparations from phases 1 and 2 together.
- Keep the mix at very low temperature (2-3/10) for 15-20 minutes for the flavours to be combined.
- Transfer the warm mix to a clay pan and let it cool down. The liquid fat will now become lard.
Step 5: Frequent Ways of Enjoying It
There are endless possibilities for Smalec. Here, the most common are gathered:
- Slice of bread with smalec.
- Slice of bread with smalec and onion chives.
- Slice of bread with smalec and pickles (2nd picture).
- Sauce for pierogi, ravioli or gnocchi.
- Base for scrambled eggs (3rd picture).
Second Prize in the