Used as a seasoning in Mexico, "manteca para chicharrones"--lard for frying pork skins--is seasoned with herbs, orange peel, and garlic. You can buy it readymade in Mexico. This is our approximation, and we found it to be fresh, aromatic, and a far cry from stiff white hydrogenated lard. It's a terrific flavoring for a pot of beans.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups (serving size: 1 tbsp.)
1. Put lard and salt in a medium pot and melt over medium-low heat. Add thyme, bay leaf, orange peel, and garlic.
2. Simmer lard with seasonings, uncovered and stirring occasionally (salt will not completely dissolve), 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, 1/2 hour. Strain.
3. Keeps, chilled airtight, up to 1 month.
*Find at the deli counter of Mexican grocery stores. You can also use fresh lard from a regular butcher; it won't be quite as porky, but it will work well too.