Pig skin
Credit: Taryn Kapronica

As a high-protein, low-carb alternative to potato chips, pork rinds have built quite the following among snackers since the Atkins Diet gained popularity a decade ago. The fad typically ends at the bagged, store-bought variety, but a homemade interpretation can take your taste buds to a new level with the right pairing. "There are only a couple of sauce preparations that go with skin," Reilly says. "They're easy to make, but they take time." His pear chutney is especially tasty during autumn, when the fruit is in season.

Pork Rinds with Pear Chutney
(Serves 2)

Pork Rinds Ingredients

  • Pork skin
  • 6 cups canola oil
  • Salt
  • Chinese five-spice powder

Pear Chutney Ingredients

  • 10 pears, peeled and diced
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 16 whole cloves
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 dry arból Mexican chili peppers
  • 4 tbsp whole fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp whole cumin seed
  • 1 diced onion
  • 4 tbsp julienned ginger
  • 4 tbsp thin-sliced garlic
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne

Pork Rinds Preparation

In a large pot, cover the pork skins with water by 6 inches. Bring the water to a rapid boil and maintain it for 90 minutes. Then remove the skins from the water and place them on a cooling rack over a baking sheet pan. Cool completely for approximately one hour. Flip them upside down and remove all the fat with the backside of a knife. Place the cleaned skins back on the cooling rack over the sheet pan, and bake them for 6 hours at 200°F. At this point, the skins should look like shards of glass. Remove them from the oven, heat the canola oil to 300°F, and deep-fry the dried-out skins for approximately five minutes until they pop. Take out the rinds, toss them in a mixture of the salt and five-spice powder, and serve.

Chutney Preparation

Heat the oil in a skillet and add all the whole spices, followed by an onion. Sauté the onion until browned, then add the ginger and garlic, and then the remaining ingredients (except the pears); cook until a syrup has formed. Finally, introduce the pears and cook them just until they're soft, a few minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and arbóls, then serve with the finished rinds as a sweet-spicy dip.