Tuesday, December 20, 2011

No time to cook properly.....

No time to cook the way I wanted to today....busy getting errands done plus more pig week work.  I got half of the C grade lard done.  It is nicely brown and will add some flavor to pie crust for pot pie.  Bacon grease would be better, but I have a love affair with bacon-feta popcorn.  Gotta keep getting that vitamin D!

I also had to pick the meat off the bones that simmered for a day and a half with a couple of glugs of apple cider vinegar (to extract as much of the mineral goodness from the bones as possible).  I mashed the bones and other unidentifiable bits that were left over, using a potato masher to break everything up into hen-beak-sized bits for the laying flock.  Nothing is wasted.  Those bones, marrow, bits of meat and fat, will all become eggs for our table or rooster for our stew pot.

I ran out of time to make a decent supper.  Or so I thought.  Wanting to make the bland boiled meat a bit tastier, I diced up some salt pork while two cast iron skillets heated up.  The salt pork bits were divided between the skillets and cooked over a fairly low flame until some fat released and the pieces were nicely browned on all sides. 

To one skillet I added an entire bag of French cut green beans, to the other skillet I added some of the boiled pork, seasoning it well with garlic powder, rubbed sage, black pepper.  Both were generously sprinkled with sea salt and cooked for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Oh, my, was this quick meal delish!  Every bite was worthwhile, but then....oh, golden browned crispy wonderfulness!  Any bite containing a bit of salt pork was just heavenly!
Memere really knew what she was doing when she started so many dishes with salt pork.  Instead of just greasing a pan, or simmering or steaming veggies and adding butter, grease the pan by sauteing up a bit of salt pork first.  The depth of flavor is unrivaled.  It is absolutely worth the extra small step.

If you don't have access to salt pork from pastured pigs, you can simply buy any fatty cut...or trim some fat with a bit of meat from chops or a roast that you purchased.  Put a thick layer of salt in the bottom of a bowl or jar, add the pork, and add more salt.   Layer more pork and salt if you have it, or just salt one piece.  Cover it and put it in the back of the fridge for ten days or more.  It should develop a nice brine to cover it.  If not, you can add a little water and some more salt after a few days.  How much salt?  Dunno.  Wing it, but be generous.  If you think you may not have used enough, simply freeze the salt pork after 10-14 days or so, using the sniff test first.  It is hard to ruin salt pork.  Just be sure to use lots of salt and make sure it is well covered with brine for the bulk of the curing time.

I have about four gallons of salt pork brining now....will it be enough to last the year?  I hope so!  Maybe not, after tonight's quick and cheap meal....the hubster was asking for seconds, and so was I.  *contented sigh*

1 comment:

  1. THAT is spectacular! easy supper is even better when you have homegrown meat. go meat!