Ground Pork

Recipe: Asian Pork Meatballs

Nishta Mehra brings on the exotic with this recipe. She assures that the eating makes the complexity worth our while.

Nishta’s Porky Asian Meatballs

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground pork (or beef)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon shaoxing cooking wine, mirin, or sake
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 green onion, chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 large eggs, beaten (2 if you want firmer meatballs)
  • ¼ cup green bean starch (if unavailable, cornstarch will work just fine)
  • 1 pound bok choy, stems trimmed but otherwise intact

Directions:

  1. Combine everything but the eggs, starch, and bok choy together in a large bowl and mash vigorously until well-blended. I just use my hands.
  2. Add the starch and mix with a fork (I withdraw the hands-on approach at this point because the starch makes it quite sticky). Beat the eggs and add, mixing again to incorporate. The mixture will seem extremely liquid at first -- just continue to mix and the egg will gradually absorb into the pork, leaving a thick porridge-like mixture. If you want rounder and firmer meatballs that you can shape with your hands, use two eggs instead of three. I thought this yielded meatballs that were lovely and tender, so I used three.
  3. Pour about 1/4 cup of oil into a large wok, or enough to coat the bottom with about 1/2 inch of oil. Turn the heat to medium and give the oil a few minutes to warm up. Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup or a large ice cream scoop, drop balls of the pork mixture into the wok in a single layer. Let sizzle in the pan for 2 to 3 minutes or until browned, then flip and cook the other side. Once the meatball is browned on both sides (it doesn't have to be cooked through), remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. You will likely have to fry in two batches.
  4. Once all the meatballs are browned, line the bottom of a large pot with the bok choy leaves. Place the meatballs on top and turn the heat to medium-low. Cover and let steam for 30 to 40 minutes, or until bok choy leaves have wilted and the stems are tender. Serve with rice!

Recipe: BBQ Burgers

Simple recipe of the month from JVF subscriber, Lea Harkrider.

BBQ Burgers

Lea says she has her children begging for more with this simple recipe. In a pound of ground pork, mix a quarter cup of your favorite BBQ sauce and some ground pepper and fry them up for burgers or chopped steaks. Even better if served with caramelized onions and Jolie Vue bacon.  Way to go, Lea. Sounds like a winner to us.

Recipe: Pork Lettuce Wraps

From JVF member Cara:

Ground Pork Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients:

  • JVF ground pork
  • Soy sauce
  • Chili sauce
  • Onion, chopped
  • Garlic, chopped
  • Mushrooms, chopped
  • Water chestnuts, chopped
  • Lettuce

Directions:

  1. Brown 1 package of ground pork in a frying pan. Sometime I find the pork to be greasier than other times. When too greasy, I pour off the grease.
  2. Season with soy sauce and chili sauce. Once browned; add chopped onion, garlic, mushrooms and water chestnuts.
  3. Bring to table with whole lettuce leaves. Wrap the mixture in the lettuce leaves like a burrito and enjoy. It's a bit messy, but sure tastes delicious!

Recipe: Pork Chili

Recipe of the Month is a complete meal in a bowl and comes from one of you, Ange Finn. Our thanks to Ange.

“Glen, I'd never cooked much with ground pork until I began getting it in our monthly meat delivery, so I started looking for delicious ways to serve it. Here's a recipe I found and ‘improved on’ that is a big hit in our family”
– Ange Finn

Ange’s Chili with Ground Pork

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced approx.
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ bag frozen green beans
  • ½ bag frozen sweet peas
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce OR 1 15 oz. can + one can Rotel chilis and tomato for more spice
  • chili powder, to taste
  • ground cumin, to taste
  • 1-2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
  • soy sauce, to taste
  • dried marjoram, to taste
  • salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat, and cook the ground pork until evenly browned. Reserving the juices in the skillet, remove pork, and set aside.
  2. Stir the onions and garlic into the skillet, and cook in the pork juices over medium heat until limp but not brown. Because Jolie Vue pork is so lean, I add more olive oil if needed.
  3. Add the bell pepper and sauté until pepper starts to get tender, then mix in the mushrooms. Stir until mushrooms are done like you like them.
  4. Return the pork to the skillet with the sautéed vegetables. Mix in the tomato sauce and Rotel, if spicy chili is desired. Add the frozen peas and green beans. Season with chili powder, cumin, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, marjoram and salt to taste. Reduce heat, and simmer 30-45 minutes to heat through and allow the flavors to blend.

This is a complete meal in a bowl chock full of vegetables and your fantastic forested pork. Enjoy! 

The Frugal Chef

Farmers are frugal but not pound foolish, using their resources to their potential while also enhancing them for the next season.. We cannot afford to waste our grasses, our garden, or our orchard or woods. The goal is to use them wisely. You can and probably do, adopt the same attitude in the kitchen. Waste is a bad thing in all aspects of life - it’s just plain sinful. So let’s talk about how to make these clean, nutritious meats go a long way at your dinner table.

I’ll use a typical cooler of monthly meats and what you can do with them as our working example of how many individual servings can come from one box. My assumption about weights per serving come from my up bringing in the food business. Chefs assume 4 to 6 ounces of meat per individual serving - and chefs always want to have more food than they think they will need.

  • 1 big fat hen weighs 3 lbs. Roast it and yield 1 breast and 1 hind quarter the first night for 2 servings. Trim the other breast and hind quarter the second night for sandwiches, 4 servings. Simmer the wings and the remaining carcass into stock then scrape the attached meat off, toss the carcass, and make a chicken noodle and vegetable soup. At least 4 soup servings. Total servings from 1 big fat hen: 10.
  • 1 beef roast weighs 2 lbs. Make my favorite, the pot roast with plenty of vegetables included. 5 servings. Or use half of the roast for sandwiches the next night and get 7 or 8 servings from the roast (can you tell that I like sandwiches and soups? You can do so much with them in term of variety of taste and nutrients added). Total servings from one roast: 5 to 8
  • 1 pork roast weighs 2 lbs. Ditto the above. Total servings per roast: 5 to 8
  • 2 beef steaks weigh 28 ounces. Treat yourself and get only 2 (massive) servings from the steaks. Total: 2 servings
  • 1 pkg pork or beef shanks weigh 1 lb. Make Osso Bucco and serve 4 or make a pot of beans with the shanks as the compliment and serve 6. Total servings: 4 to 6.
  • 2 pkgs ground beef weighs 2 lbs. Use 1 to make spaghetti carbonara for 4 servings and the other to make quarter pound burgers for 4 more. Or make a beef vegetable soup and add 2 more servings. Total servings: 8-10
  • 2 pkgs ground pork weighs 2 lbs. Ditto above. Total servings: 8-10
  • 2 pkgs country sausage weighs 28 ounces. Grill and eat and get 7 servings or make a sausage and bean on rice dish and extend it to 10 hearty servings. Total servings: 7 to 10.
  • 1 pkg beef or pork cutlets weighs ½ pound: Bread it and fry in your pork lard and make 2 servings. Total servings: 2

As a frugal chef, you will yield at least 51 and as many as 66 generous servings from 1 cooler of meat. And I have no doubt that you will find even more ways to stretch it - these are the obvious ones.

Food is life, just as essential as  air, water and sunshine. We can have it all if we are frugal and wise.

Recipe: Minestrone Soup

Here is a recipe for soup that always makes for a balanced meal. Just right for the diet and the coming cool nights, adapted from a “Dining” publication:

Meaty Minestrone Soup

For the soup:

  • 1 lb ground beef or pork from JVF
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 3 bushy sprigs thyme
  • 4 parsley sprigs
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini or yellow squash (or half of each for color), diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 pound fresh shell beans, shelled (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 plum tomatoes (about 3/4 pound), diced
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green beans

For the pistou:

  • 4 cups fresh basil, packed
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped plum tomato
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. In a large pot over medium-low heat, heat the oil. Add the beef or pork and sauté until cooked. Remove the meat and set aside. Tie rosemary, thyme and parsley in a bundle with kitchen string if desired (this makes it easier to fish out later). Add the herbs, leeks, garlic, zucchini or yellow squash, carrot, salt and pepper to the pot and sauté until the vegetables are golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Add broth, shell beans, tomatoes, green beans and 4 cups water to the pot. Simmer partly covered until the beans are tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Discard herbs, add the meat back into the soup and simmer for another 10 minutes. Thin with a little water if the soup is too thick.
  3. Prepare the pistou: Pulse the basil, almonds, tomato, Parmesan, garlic and salt in a food processor until basil is chopped and all the ingredients are combined. Drizzle in olive oil while the motor runs and continue processing until a paste forms. Serve the soup with dollops of the pistou, letting people add more as needed.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Ground Meat, The Superior Meal

Occasionally - but only occasionally - we get a question about the amount of ground meat included in a given monthly box, whether that be beef or pork. We suspect the unmentioned inquiry is based on a feeling that ground meat is ‘cheap meat’ and so we must be loading our boxes with ‘the cheap stuff’ instead of steaks, roasts and pork chops. So let’s put the issue on the table and talk it out. We hope the following puts it all in perspective for you.

Perhaps the most compelling question for the customer is where does ground meat come from? Another way of saying “isn’t it cheap because it is made from the poor portion of the beeve or porker?”

First and foremost, ours doesn’t come from worn out, drug and hormone infested cows headed for Burger King’s griddle. And it is not shipped and handled in 3 different plants 5 different times, each handling adding to the risk of food poison. Ditto our ground pork. Those are big differences, folks, and gives 1 of the many reasons why our ground is prime stuff.

Meat that will be ground from our beeves comes from all of the prime sections of the beef or pork; it may be from the traditional steak portions (rib and loins), or the chuck (shoulder) or the round (hips) or the ribs. So when the butcher is cutting steaks and he gets to the end of the rib section and there is ribeye meat left that is too small to form a steak, he moves that remainder to the meat grinder. Ditto the round or the shoulder, or in the case of pork, the hams, chops or Boston Butts. Include in these categories meat that is too close to the bone to form a cut. It too is trimmed and set aside for grinding. In short, the ground is not cheap at all, but every bit as prime as any of the standard cuts.

The superior nutritional qualities of ground meat actually makes it a first choice for your diet. How is that? Because the butcher also combines the superior fat of our animals with the protein to be found in ‘the lean’ or muscle of the animal. We all talk about the benefits of Omega 3's and conjugated linoleic acids in grass-fed, free range meats. Guess what - those superior nutrients are only found in the fat of the animal, and that fat is most prominent in our ground meats. So you eat a steak one week and you get the superior proteins but very little fat. The next week you eat a ground steak and get a proper dose of Omega 3s and CLAs. But if you were to eat only one cut from the beef or pork, the ground meats are probably your best choice because you are getting the best blend of proteins, fats, and the valuable anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals in one package.

Our last but not least reason for choosing the ground meats - flexibility in the kitchen. Because of the many ways you can cook ground beef, most of them quick and easy, Honi and I choose ground meat for dinner more than any other cuts. It takes no time to form it into a chopped steak, fry it in the skillet and eat it as is...or put it on a hamburger bun all dressed up...or smother it in onions...or break it up and cover it in Paul Newman’s spaghetti sauce served over pasta...or a meat loaf or meatballs...or add vegetables and broth for a delicious soup. The list seems endless  All of this is true for ground pork as well as beef. The pork is fabulous in any of these cooked forms - or you can do a half and half beef and pork for another change of taste.

So there you have it. Ground meat should be your first choice among meats.   It truly is the best choice - when it comes from Jolie Vue Farms.