Pork Fat and Spontaneous Cooking


After roasting my pork – read about that here, if you haven’t already done so – I had a cup of gorgeous fat, scented with sage, garlic, salt, pepper, even potatoes. It sat in the fridge for days, and I used it randomly – in a risotto, to fry eggs, one or two other times. I felt, however, that I was not really exploiting its presence.

Until the night we came home late, to four already-cooked artichokes. We wanted pasta. (I have said this before: combine late-night hunger, my kitchen, and enough energy to cook and, three times out of five, the result is a spontaneous pasta dish.) I had a lovely onion. And some basil.  

I took a few spoonfuls of that gorgeous pork fat; maybe a half-cup. Sliced the onion while it was melting; cooked the onion in that fat until it was soft. While I was doing that I dismembered the artichokes, cutting up the hearts and bottoms while we munched on the leaves, opened wine, and started water for the pasta.

I scooped out the onions, because I wanted to brown the artichoke bits and not overcook the onions. Then I browned the ‘chokes, cooked the pasta, added the onions back in, drained the pasta, added it with some of its water and a handful of basil … and ate. (It was too late for a picture, sorry.)

That pork fat coated everything like no other fat can. (Ok, maybe butter.) Everything glowed with flavor and richness. It was worth roasting the pork just for this. And I still have fat left.

Posted in American


  1. Anonymous said...

    Amazing, no? Never understood until I was older why my Grandmother kept an old coffee can full of pork grease nearby the stove.

  2. Anonymous said...

    I don’t know why but I never thought of saving the fat from cooking meat and using it. Can you do this for any meat cooked any way (roasted, sautéed or fried)?

  3. TheMessyApron said...

    I still have a metal can of bacon fat sitting next to my stove!!!!

  4. stevegolden said...

    Maybe I’ve been buying my coffee at Trader Joes too long, but where do you get metal coffee cans? I keep my bacon fat in the fridge in yogurt containers; is it safe to leave it next to the stove?

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