Pork Roast

The Cardinal Rules

There are 2 things to remember at all times when preparing and eating pastured beef and pork:

  1. The roasts and osso buco cuts should follow the low and slow method of cooking. Or get the new pressure cooker and eliminate the “slow” part.
  2. Fat on our meat is your friend. Absolutely eat it, or at least its juices that are formed in the cooking process. The Omega 3s and CLAs are found only in the fat (that is why they are known as “fatty acids” in the nutritional science world.

Carnitas

Paula Sokolich brings us the recipe of the month. I would only add that I bet it would be good with any roast, be that from the ham or the beef shoulder or round. But Carnitas traditionally come from the pork should, so Paula is spot on there.

“I wanted to share a recipe with you that our family really enjoys. It uses the JVF's pork shoulder. This month's roast was a hearty size and perfect for this recipe. Please feel free to try this and let me know what you think. In the past I've saved up the pork roasts and used two or three to make a really big batch. It tastes even better the next day after cooking. It takes awhile to cook this recipe, but cutting the onion and peppers takes the longest, it really isn't that labor intensive. The house smells great during the cooking process.”
— Blessings, Paula Sokolich

Pork Carnitas

Ingredients:

  • 1 JVF's pork shoulder or similar roast
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin + 1 teaspoon for use later
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cartons (32 ounces each) reduced sodium beef stock
  • 2 red bell peppers, quartered, seeded, and sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, quartered, seeded, and sliced
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 large bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • Large flour or corn tortillas
  • Toppings - guacamole, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream

Directions:

  1. Cut pork roast into baseball size chunks. Leave bone in with the rest of the meat for flavor. In a small bowl, combine garlic powder, salt, pepper, 2 teaspoons of cumin, and chili powder. Sprinkle over the pork. Cover and let it sit overnight.
  2. The next day, in a dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook meat in batches until browned.
  3. Add beef stock and browned meat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium (or lower to keep meat to a very low boil) and cook uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in additional 1 teaspoon cumin and cook another 1 hour. Add water as needed to keep liquid from completely evaporating until meat is done. Add lid tilted on the dutch oven (do not completely cover). Add bell peppers and onion and cook stirring occasionally another 1 hour.
  4. When meat is very tender, use spatula or fork to break into bite size pieces or shred. Remove bone and add any meat off of the bone to the dutch oven.
  5. Add cilantro and cook 5 to 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, cook stirring often until the liquid is reduced to your liking (I prefer to have extra juice with the carnitas) approximately 30 minutes.
  6. Serve on your choice of tortilla and add your favorite toppings.

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.

My Favorite Meal

Long time subscribers have heard my raves about pot roast before. And while it takes some time on the front end, it is almost care-free cooking after that. Most of your time is spent doing something else because it is a slow cook method that requires little attention once the pot is ready to cook. And when it is ready, you get a balanced meal all in one pot — you’re eating like Thomas Jefferson. Protein, fat, vegetables and a fruit. And it is even better after spending 24 hours in the fridge, so you can make it on a weekend and have several meals during the coming
week. One last advantage — it works for beef or pork roast.

I saw a couple of recipe enhancements recently that I pass on here. The first is dusting your roast with flour before browning it in the pot (this step follows the sauteeing of your vegetables). The other was adding red wine and cognac (or any brandy) to your chicken stock before starting the slow cooking stage. So here’s the outline: sauté your chunky carrots, celery, bell pepper, garlic and potatoes (I add mushrooms too), remove them, dust your roast, brown it, throw the vegs back in, add a ½ cup of chicken stock, a ½ cup of wine, and 1/4 cup of cognac, bring to a simmer, lower the heat and cook until fork tender. I sometimes thicken the gravy with a butter roux and serve the whole dish over wild and brown rice, your choice. The harmony of vegetables, meat and wine brings unsurpassed dining to your family table. Builds those family bonds with food from the kitchen to the table. It’s a good thing.

Recipes

As we face the prospect of a real winter, is there anything better than a rich and hearty meal as the wind howls about the frosted windows of our house? How about beans, pork, chicken and sausage, with plenty of tomato and wine  blended in? That’s known as Cassoulet, and it is a peasant’s concoction taken from leftovers, made to nourish, fortify and satisfy inexpensively. The recipe originates as a variation on peasant stew and is intended to incorporate leftover items in your fridge into an elegant dish. Our recipe uses chicken instead of duck, and butter and oil instead of duck fat. But if you have those tidbits, go for it.

Jolie Vue Cassoulet

The Greatest of Winter Dishes (adapted from the recipe of Chez Allard, a Paris bistro) for 6 people
 
Ingredients:
 

  • 2 c. plus a little, Great Northern beans, dry
  • 2 onions, cut ½ of 1 into quarters, chop the rest
  • 2 bouquets garnis (each in cheesecloth to include 1 small parsley sprig, 1 small thyme sprig, I peppercorn, ½ bayleaf)
  • 2 T. butter and 2 T oil, or an equal quantity of rendered JVF pork back fat (the best)
  • 1 ½ tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 ½ t. tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 T flour
  • 3 c. dry white wine
  • 6 c. veal or beef stock
  • 1 & ½ lbs JVF pork roast, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • both legs and thighs of the JVF big fat hen, cut into serving pieces
  • 2 JVF pork sausages, browned and sliced (either the country sausage or the sweet Italian, as you prefer)

Method:

  1. Rinse the beans overnight, drain, rinse and set aside
  2. In a soup or stockpot, add beans, the quartered onion, 1 bouqet garnis, and cold water to cover by about 3 inches. Boil first, then go to low heat, cover and simmer stirring occasionally until beans are soft, 1.75 to 2 hrs. Add salt and pepper to taste at 1.5 hrs.
  3. While the beans are cooking, add oil and butter to a dutch oven and brown the pork chunks, the sausage and the chicken on both sides, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go. With a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a plate and sauté the chopped onion until browned. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Return the meats to the vessel and cover with the browned onions and add the quartered tomatoes, the tomato paste, the garlic cloves, the bouqet garnis, and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle in 3 T. of flour and stir in well. Add the wine and broth.
  5. Cover and simmer over medium heat until meats are tender, about 1.5 hrs.
  6. Combine all meats and beans and include all of the drippings from the meat vessel, stir well but gently until combined. 
  7. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees and bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until a crust has formed on top.  EAT!!

A Rub for Ribs

  • 1 T salt
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 T black pepper
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 T chili powder