Pork rinds have never been caught up in the United States but that's their loss. Why? Because chicharrones is a delicious delicacy in mostly all Spanish-influenced countries.
You could find this treat in their stores or households in Spain and in the Latin Americas. It has even become a part of their traditional cuisine.
Chicharrone recipe is usually made from pork bellies or fried pork rinds. But you can also use chicken, mutton or beef. Different countries have their own styles in making the delicacy. Here are 3 different ways to prepare this delicious treat:
Traditional Chicharrones Recipe
What makes chicharrones so special and appealing to the taste buds is its crispy skin. Those kinds that use only the skin, crispy all throughout are the best kinds. Making chicharrones isn't that difficult.
Here's The Traditional Way To Do It:
- A stockpot to boil your pork slab and a sharp knife to trim off the fat.
- A perforated sheet pan and a non-perforated sheet pan for rendering off fat.
- A pot for frying the pork rind and some paper towels.
- 1 big piece of pork skin without the fat (about 2 lbs)
- 1 qt neutral oil or pork lard
- 1 whole lime
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp chili powder (or more if you wish)
Steps To Follow:
- If you prefer to have your chicharrones less the fat, just use a knife to trim the fat off your pork slab.
- Place the pork slab, skin up, in a stockpot with water, cover the slab with a plate to keep it under water. Then place the lid and bring to a fast boil for two hours. Check regularly to ensure that the water hasn't evaporated.
- Bring out the boiled slab and let it cool for easy handling. If the slab still has some unwanted fats, trim it off. It would be easier removing the fat after boiling.
- Use a dry towel, cloth or absorbent paper, and pat the skin until dry. Next, place it on top of a perforated sheet pan. There should be a non-perforated sheet pan right under it. This will ensure that you catch any fat rendered out during the next step.
- Time to dehydrate your pork skin. Set the oven to its lowest setting and slowly roast for about 8-10 hours. You will know it's done when the pork skin becomes brittle enough that you can crack it into pieces.
- When you have reached this point, fill a frying pot with 4-inches of lard. Start heating until the temperature is 400-degrees.
- Crack the pork skin into small pieces then fry them, just a few each time. Watch so they do not burn, poking them until fully puffed and golden brown. Move them to a paper towel in order to drain the excess fat. When slightly cooled, pour the lime juice over them. Then sprinkle with some salt and some chili powder. Voila, your chicharrones are ready!
Salt & Pepper Chicharrones Recipe
What was previously discussed is making chicharrones with basic ingredients. You can also add some seasonings to make them more flavorful and appetizing.
The best time to infuse these additional flavors is when the pork rinds are just out of the hot frying lard. Toss them right away with the spices of your choice.
- A wire rack over a baking sheet.
- A sharp knife and a big saucepan for rendering lard.
- A cooking pot for frying and some paper towels.
- 3 - 5 lbs of pork (the back fat and the skin)
- Cooking oil
- Sea salt
Steps To Follow
- Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F. Place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.
- Cut the pork slab into 2-inch strips with a sharp knife. Cut the fat on each strip at 2-inch intervals. Insert the knife between the skin and the fat at one end of each strip, slide and take off a portion of the fat.
- Once you remove the fat, hold the strip on one hand and slide the knife to trim off most of the fat. Leaving some fat on is okay, you will find this later to be very flavoring.
- Cut the trimmed strips into 2-inch pieces and arrange them fat-side down on the wire rack. Then bake in the oven until the skin is fully dried out.
- Do not discard the trimmed pork fat. Put these in a big saucepan using medium-low heat. Cook the fat gently until all you've rendered all the fat, this will take about two hours. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out all the remaining solids. You can use this fat to cook your chicharrones in.
- When the skin squares have already baked, heat a pot with oil 3-inches deep. Cook the pork rinds a few pieces at a time. Make sure that the oil should be hot enough but not yet bubbling as these may lead to burning.
- When the pork rinds puff up, remove them and drain them on a plate lined with paper towel. This should take about 3-5 minutes. Immediately sprinkle the hot rinds with salt and pepper.
Chicken Chicharrones Recipe
Although known as chicharrones in the Dominican Republic, this recipe doesn't use chicken skin. Rather, you use chicken meat. This dish should turn out very flavorful as it involves a lot of spices.
- 1 lb chicken thighs (skinless and boneless)
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/8 cup of vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp lime juice
- 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper
Steps To Follow
- Cut the chicken meat into small pieces.
- In a bowl, place the all the ingredients except the flour, oil, salt, and pepper. Place the chicken pieces and toss them to coat. Cover the bowl and let it marinate for at least half an hour.
- Combine the flour, salt and pepper and spread the mixture in a shallow dish. Thoroughly coat the marinated chicken pieces with the seasoned flour. Shake off the excess flour before you start frying.
- In a large pan, heat the oil and fry the chicken in small batches. Cook until golden brown and then drain them on paper towels.
- Serve while hot.
- Now you can enjoy it!! Good luck.
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