Mangalitsa pigs, a curly-haired Hungarian breed introduced to the U.S. just a few years ago, are the darling of pork-obsessed chefs, who love cooking with their succulent meat and plentiful lard. "With the Mangalitsa, it's a fine cooking pork, but really, it's all about the fat," says Keith Luce, who instigated a program at Washington State's Herbfarm restaurant to raise its own Mangalitsas a few miles from the restaurant. "We rendered the fat, we whipped it, and spread it on bread." Here are some of the Herbfarm's pigs in action:
Also spotted: in San Francisco, on Ryan Farr's upcoming winter roast dinner menu in a terrine that will also be made with with smoked lengua, head cheese, and blood sausage, then be baked in brioche; Ibérico-style as an appetizer at Elements in Princeton, New Jersey; in Chicago at The Bristol, where Grub Street reports its brains are being mixed with ricotta and stuffed into tortelloni, as well as at Blackbird, which is currently serving an entire tasting menu dedicated to the pig through the end of the month that includes a dish made with smoked whipped lardo, radishes, nasturtiums, and sea beans.
There are only a handful of American Mangalitsa producers (see a list here). If you want to try cooking it at home, Foods In Season will ship pork raised by Wooly Pigs, the Washington state-based company that first imported the breed to the U.S.