Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pork Skin Puffs

Less than successful in my last attempt at a puffed snack, I was determined to get the next attempt right, I had a plan, well a couple, chicken puffs and prawn puffs, but then I saw a big packet of pork skin sitting in the butchery shelf, and I knew the next puff goodness would be, Chicharrón. Puffed pork skin, made by first boiling the ever loving crap out of the skin in salty water, chill it, scrape off all the fat, the better job of scraping the better the puff, then dehydrating the skin, and finally deep frying.

Boiling the skin is the easier step in the process, just bring a pot of heavily salted water to the boil, add the skin and boil for about an hour. The boiling process gelatinises the collagen in the skin.

Allow the pot to cool down before attempting to handle the skin, when it’s finally at a temperature that’s not going to give you 3rd degree burns, careful lay the skin on a sheet pan, and place in the fridge overnight.

Slice, and scrape off all of the fat from the skin, it’s a bit of a messy process, but the better job you do of removing all the fat the better puff you’ll get.

Slice the the skin into bite size pieces, remember that they shrink a little when dehydrating and will triple in size when puffed. Place a rack on an oven tray and line with some baking paper, and then lay the pork skin on it, leaving room for air to circulate.

Preheat the oven to 50ºC, place the tray in the oven and leave for a couple of hours, then turn off the oven, keep the door shut and leave it alone for another 10 hours. This will need adjusting depending on ambient temperature and humidity, in the end it should almost resemble plastic. You may have to deep fry a couple of test pieces to check if they are dehydrated enough.

Finally, deep frying, heat up oil to about 190ºC, and carefully place the skin in the hot oil and cook until puffed and golden. If they don’t puff too much and have a chewy center, you will need to dehydrate for longer, if they drop to the bottom, don’t puff and burn, I’m sorry but you’re screwed, they’re over dehydrated.