Pork Recipes

We here at CF successfully completed our first pork pick up day for our customers!   This was the end result of many firsts on the farm:  first “Mama Pig,” first litter of babies (10!), and first processing and distribution of half hog shares.  For those that have been following us for a while, this was a major accomplishment for this small family farm and a very long time in the making.  Farmer B didn’t sleep at all the night before and said the day felt like Christmas morning!

At the pork pickup, we served up some fresh breakfast sausage and had some of the best conversations about food and cooking with everyone. I was so inspired by the porcine pontifications and as promised, here are some links and instructions to recipes and tutorials; our tiny contribution to your pork education.  Let’s get the most out of your meat! Even if you aren’t in the business of trying to get the most out of a pork share and are just a casual cooker of swine, we hope this can help you discover new horizons in bacon, chops, and ham.

Over the years we have built quite a nice repertoire of skills and recipes, so enjoy our favorites. I have posted some explanations broken down by cut of meat, and at the very bottom you will find a list of books for your piggie pleasure for further reference. And we would love links and instructions to your favorite recipes too! Please post your faves and don’t forget to send pics of your finished products.

Cooking all of your half share of Callywood Farms pork…

Neck bones – We encourage many of you to take these. We LOVE this portion of pork. It is super easy to prepare and is good stand alone or part of a dish. Below you will see two different preparations. The first is the a pack of neck bones thrown in the crockpot with BBQ sauce. Farmer B often makes this when he has to make dinner for himself, ha! A typical man dinner: pork, slaw, beer.

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Most often, we throw a package into the crockpot along with beans. The best pork n’ beans ever. The neck bones add fat, gelatin, and flavor without sacrificing your delicious bacon or another cut of pork. You’ll have to extract the bones from the crockpot  (pic on top left) and spend a few minutes picking out the chunks of meat (pic on bottom left) and then throw it back in the crockpot and mix it back in (pic on right), but we have found that it is always worth the effort.

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Ham – We have cured and smoked many hams over the years with great success. We have roasted a “fresh” ham as well and both preparations are delicious.

Finding a container large enough to cure and brine your ham is a challenge if you kept your ham whole. Many chose to order a half ham which is easier to wrangle. Below is a full ham submerged in curing brine. It then needs to fit in your refrigerator for a week or so, so you need to account for that too. We have only home cured using nitrites/pink salt, which we order online. I find Michael Ruhlman’s Charcuterie book to be the best reference for curing pork (link to book at bottom).

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Out of the brine and to the smoker!

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And on the smoker. You can also bake after curing for a more honey-baked ham approach, as well.

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Out of the smoker and oh so delicious…

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Fresh Ham with Lemon, Garlic, and Rosemary – You guys. This is one of the best pork recipes I have ever tried. It was so so good. We made this last Easter served with freshly creamed spinach from the garden…it was one of those meals you’ll always remember. My picture looks quite different from the magazine, but one thing to NOT LEAVE OUT is the cherry jam sauce. DIVINE.

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Feet and hocks – The feet and hocks can be cured and smoked or used fresh. Most feet and/or hocks you find in recipes will call for cured/smoked hocks. It is often used as a sub for bacon in recipes, particularly soups. If you are curing a ham, just throw your hocks/feet into the same container and cook alongside your ham. Plan accordingly to weight with your brine and smoking time/temp.

You can also just throw the fresh feet/hocks into your dish like the neck bones. Just know that if your original recipe calls for cured/smoked hocks (example: split pea soup) and you use fresh, you’ll probably have to add salt.

Lard

Well, I could write a book on this topic. But here’s the low down real quick. There are two types of lard: leaf lard and not leaf lard. Leaf lard is the cream of the crop and is the coveted lard for baking and pastry. You can use it as a substitute for butter or vegetable shortening and it’s dairy free (for those with an intolerance), non-gmo (unlike shortening), and actually healthy. Lard has gotten a bad rap, but when it comes from heritage pigs fed a rich diet, it is actually very low in saturated fats and heart healthy. Leaf lard is the fat you find surrounding the kidneys and internal organs of the pig. It is pure and white. You might find some pieces of meat on it and that’s fine, but you’ll need to render it. You won’t have much of it, so you can choose to render it separately if you want to reserve it for pastry use or your can render it alongside all your fatback and get a large batch of lard.

For some, this combo lard comes out clean enough to use in pastry, for some it doesn’t and they choose to use it more like olive oil to cook with. Your choice. With leaf lard you won’t get any cracklins’ and with fat back it may not come out clean enough (white/odorless) to use in pastry. I love making a lard/butter pie crust myself. I also love using lard as a cooking oil, it maintains a high heat (unlike olive oil) and if it isn’t totally “clean” lends a bacon-y taste to your dish (hellooooo cornbread).

My favorite way to render lard is in the crockpot (my crockpot gets a lot of use and I actually have many sizes, ha!). You can also render on the stove top.

Rendering lard in a crockpot

To Render Lard – Stove top

Jowl/Cheek

Perhaps the most under rated cut from the pig. The jowl/cheek produces a very similar marbling to the belly. Many customers chose to cure and smoke theirs alongside the belly. The jowl is a smaller cut of meat that is perfect to try curing bacon at home with. If you would like to try something different, we have done a very nice braise with ours before that was a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner ragu over homemade pasta!

Pork cheeks braised in red wine

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Sausage

For those that get a couple packages of plain ground pork and would like to try your hand at sausage making, I highly recommend it! For our household, we order ground pork in 5 lbs. bags which we season and then re-freeze in packages of 1 lb. and take out as needed. Though our butcher uses top shelf organic spices to make the sausage,  we like making our own unique sausage flavors and enjoy the creativity and process of having one of a kind sausage.   Again, my favorite reference for the best sausage recipes is Charcuterie.  I particularly LOVE their breakfast sausage (fresh ginger, garlic, sage…is so so good), spicy italian (I add lots of basil and garlic), and chorizo.

I can recommend the kitchen aid grinding and sausage stuffing attachment. It’s good for a beginner and making small batches of sausage.

Other recipes 

Here’s a quick collection of some of our very favorite recipes that we keep coming back to over the years.

One pan whiskey pork chops

Cocoa and chile pork chops

Bourbon and apple juice ribs

Bacon Jam – You need to make this. This is a base recipe. Add/edit/ take out to your preference. This is perfect to make for a special guest, but be aware that it will go very, very fast.

Books & Products

Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and David Polcyn

Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey

Kitchen Aid Grinder and Sausage Stuffer

 

Homemade Ricotta

I know I have mentioned this before, but if you didn’t know, we have easy access to raw milk. In SC, raw milk is legal to sell. We hadn’t even tasted raw milk prior to moving here. In CO, you had to buy a share (upwards of $150) of a farm and then buy a gallon (upwards of $10). I had read a lot about the tasty, nutritious, mysterious raw milk, but it had never passed my lips. A neighbor told us about a little family farm, really close to us, Harmony Dairy. I’ll have to do a post in the future, just so you can see pictures of where I go to buy my milk. It’s literally the farm your parents told you that “Rover” went to when he got too old. I get out of my jeep after going through multiple chained gates (free roaming animals are happy, but also dangerous for cars!) and pull up to a refrigerated cooler that says, “Drink Milk.” I put my $5 in a little tool box and grab my delicious raw, un-homogenized, full-fat, cream on the top milk. On my way out, I usually pet a calf or two, whisper to a pig of give a loving nudge to a dog or chicken. Are you in love yet?

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We aren’t big milk drinkers. My milk usually ends up fermented in some variety (yogurt or kefir), in a roux, and I use it in my coffee every morning. I usually get a gallon every two weeks. Except recently I’ve been buying more and more, ever since making homemade ricotta! I’ve never been a big ricotta fan. I mean I buy it once a year when I make lasagna and never think much of it. That has definitely changed.

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While it takes some time (not much though compared to any other cheese), it is definitely worth it. You have a few minutes while the milk heats. Go nuts. Me? I play with this beauty.

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I’m shameless. Sorry. I couldn’t let one post go by without a pic!

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I heat the milk with the acid (lemon juice) and the curds and whey separate and just before it erupts into a boil is when I shut off the heat. You can see the bubbles about to surface and the temp is around 200-205.

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And then the straining begins. It takes a little while for me as I only have this little sieve. Quadrupled lined with cheesecloth, it’s ready to go. I pour and drain and pour some more and drain some more.

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Almost there…

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You can stop the straining process when it looks and feels like ricotta to you. I like mine a little on the wet side. Then I liberally sprinkle with sea salt. And eat it. And occasionally it makes it into a beautiful dish like this one.

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Summer squash and ricotta galette. Divine.

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Or on a plate alongside crackers and fig jam for an elegant snack.

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Or on top of a plate full of pasta instead of parmesan for a rich, creamy addition. So, go ahead, make some ricotta. I promise you’ll find ways to use it!

Homemade Ricotta

Adapted from: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/06/how-to-make-ricotta-cheese-from-scratch.html

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 gallon whole milk (DO NOT use ultra-pasteurized milk, which is basically any organic milk sold at the grocery store. It will not curdle, I learned this the hard way a long time ago! If you don’t have access to fresh milk, look in the store for a low-pasteurized alternative. For instance, I know Publix’s whole milk is low-pasteurized).
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (From 1-3 lemons. I had super juicy lemons and only needed 1.)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup heavy cream (you might need this addition if using whole milk from the store), salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large, heavy-bottom pot (dutch oven or cast iron is great here), add milk and lemon juice, stir briefly.
  2. Set heat to medium-low heat. Heat milk until it reaches 175 degrees at this setting. This take about 30-50 minutes.
  3. After it hits 175 degrees, raise the heat to medium-high and watch closely. You will see the curds begin to separate from the whey (pictured above) and the whole thing will look like it’s about to erupt into a rolling boil. Shut the heat off before this happens. Let it sit for a few minutes while you get the straining station set up.
  4. Over a large bowl, set your sieve and quadruple line it with cheesecloth. Pour the curds and whey into the bowl and let it drain. I keep adding liquid as it drains down. It takes me about three dumps. I get in there with a spatula (pictured above) and help the liquid get under the curds by lifting and folding with the spatula.
  5. Once it looks and feels like ricotta to you, it’s done! Again, I liberally sprinkle with sea salt, but do your to your taste preference. Yes, this means start eating it now.
  6. Keep in air-tight container in fridge for over a week.

Kale Hummus (kid approved!)

We have quite an obsession with hummus in this house. I usually make a batch every week. And our consumption has increased since a certain Farm Baby discovered hummus. She loves the stuff!

Side Note (if you are interested in some of our parenting/baby related thoughts, keep reading, if not just skip below for the goods on the hummus):

Since food is such an important part of our life, it is something that we spent a lot of time talking about how we wanted to create an environment that was food loving and a kid that would eat what we eat. Once Farm Baby was ready for solids, we decided to start from that point, let her eat what we are eating. Let her see the direct connect between what we put in our mouths and what goes in hers. Chicken for dinner? Let her gnaw on a chicken bone. Broccoli? Let a couple extra-big stalks steam for a few minutes longer so that she can pick them up and easily “chew” some off. You get the point. Anyways, 13 months in and so far very successful. She eats what we eat, we don’t make a separate baby meal, we try not to fuss over how much she eats or if she doesn’t eat what we put in front of her, but most importantly, we let her have food choices. We offer her a variety of foods and let her decide the pace and what she wants to eat (by not spoon-feeding/forcing food)…OK, end side note (if you want more information on this whole skipping purees & babies eating real food madness, check out “Baby-Led Weaning”).

Back to hummus: Anyways, one of the tough things to get a baby to eat is greens…from a logistical standpoint. They don’t make great finger foods. She recently started drinking some morning smoothies, which I usually make green and add spinach, kale, arugula…whatever is in the fridge for added nutrition. She LOVES them. Win. And then, I came across this gem of a blog and recipe. Genius for not only sneaking more greens into an adult diet, but also brilliant for a babe that shovels hummus in by the fistful. I already had some chickpeas on the stove simmering and had kale in the fridge when I came across it. So I made it instantly with a few changes as I didn’t have the patience to roast garlic at the moment. I can’t wait to make another batch and try it with roasted garlic!

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Enjoy watching Farm Baby discover bright green yummy hummus! I hope this inspires you to add some greens into your hummus!

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First bite…not too sure about this, Ma.
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Not so bad, I kinda liked it!
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Okay, I loved it so much I smeared it all over my face, belly, and even added some green highlights to my strawberry blonde locks!

Recipe: Kale Hummus

Adapted from: http://blog.freepeople.com/2012/09/roasted-garlic-kale-hummus-glutenfree-vegan/

Ingredients:

  • About 2 cups of garbanzo beans* (One large can or 1 cup dried)
  • Juice from one lemon (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 large kale leaves, stems removed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2-4 TB EVOO
  • Sea salt, pepper (black or crushed red)**

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in food processor and process until combined. You may need to scrape down the sides/add more liquid to suit your needs.

*I prefer freshly cooked chickpeas. I soak my beans overnight in water (8-12 hours). Drain, fill with filtered water so that beans are covered and cook. Depending on freshness of beans and how long you soaked this can take anywhere from 25-60 minutes. If you are doing this method, reserve some cooking liquid to use in the recipe, you will need about 1/4 – 1/2 cup.

** If using freshly cooked beans, you will need a good amount of salt. Start at a teaspoon and keep adjusting, tasting along the way. I think I used close to 1 1/2-2 tspn.

Barley Risotto with Roasted Beets, Garlic, and Lemon

Barley risotto. Well first of all, you might know of our love affair with risotto. You can read about it here, here, here, and here. And not to be too repetitive, but yes, another beet risotto recipe. I promise you, if you can’t get with beets or risotto, you should try this and I guarantee it will convert you.

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It started with a recent trip to a farmer’s market a few towns over to scout out other vendors/farms and see some “competition”. While we were there, I saw some beautiful chioggia beets. I had just asked Farmer B what we wanted for dinner and he said something with beets, so really it was destiny.

I had a new bag of pearled barley (I can’t find whole barley anywhere, so I need to go order it from the Upstate Food Co-op) and an itching to cook something sophisticated. (After I put Farm Baby down for the night) I roasted the beet roots with olive oil, salt and pepper and then I thought while the oven is on, I might as well roast everything. So I threw some whole, unpeeled garlic cloves and a couple slices of lemon on the baking sheet and threw it in. I defrosted some homemade chicken stock, thank you Blondie (an old Red Star hen that we recently harvested), sliced an onion, threw on some tunes (Alabama Shakes) and got to cookin’!

If you just can’t get with the beets, please, please try barley in place of arborio rice next time you make risotto. The barley is nutty and chewy.The flavor and texture completely out-do arborio rice. I will say if you plan on a soft, delicate risotto, like this one, I might not use barley. It is hearty and the other ingredients need to stand up to it. You can use the below recipe as a guide to cooking the barley risotto, but if you don’t want to read the recipe and want the quick version: soak the barley (1-2 hours) and rinse very well, while you don’t need more liquid, it does take more time than rice, so plan for 45 minutes – 1 hour. Barley risotto doesn’t get creamy like arborio.

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Barley Risotto with Roasted Beets, Garlic, and Lemon

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of chioggia beets with tops
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 2-4 slices of lemon,seeds removed
  • EVOO
  • S&P
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups pearled barley, soaked and rinsed very well
  • Fresh thyme, parsley, chives
  • 1 cup dry white wine (optional – if using reduce amount of stock)
  • 1 – 1 1/2 quarts of stock (I used about 5 cups) can be chicken, vegetable, mushroom, whatever you got and fits your diet

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Beets. Trim off the top greens, wash thoroughly, and slice into ribbons. Peel the root and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Spread on oiled baking sheet. Season with S&P.
  3. To the greased baking sheet, add the lemon slices, sprinkle with salt and drizzle with  EVOO. Place garlic cloves on a small sheet of aluminum foil, drizzle with EVOO, S&P, set on baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven. Watch carefully as you don’t want the lemon to burn, but you do want a little color. I thought I would have to pull the lemons out before the beets were done, but they finished at the same time, around 20 minutes. Continue roasting the garlic cloves packet for another 10 minutes. Remove and let cool. When cool enough to handle. Squish garlic out of cloves and chop/mash. Set aside.
  4. While the beets roast, get out your risotto cooking pan. Set heat to medium, add EVOO. Once heated, add onion slices, season with salt, and saute until soft and tender, about 10 minutes. Add fresh thyme and parsley.
  5. Add barley. Turn heat to high. Toast for at least 3 minutes until the pan is dry and the aroma is nutty.
  6. Deglaze pan with wine or stock. Turn heat down to medium and let it simmer until all the liquid is absorbed. Add more stock. Continue adding stock after the liquid is absorbed until barley is cooked, adjusting heat as needed to keep things simmering. This took me about 5 cups of stock and about 50 minutes. I keep a separate pot of simmering stock, right next to my risotto pan. This helps keep the risotto simmering and cuts down on time.
  7. About halfway through the cooking process (judging by the amount of liquid you have leftover) add chopped beet greens to pan. Continue cooking.
  8. Just before serving, add roasted garlic into risotto. Distribute evenly. Season with S&P.
  9. To serve, ladle risotto into bowls or onto a plate. Top each serving with a slice of lemon and fresh chives and parsley.
  10. To eat, smush (the technical term) lemon into risotto. Discard rind. Devour.

Note: We are steering clear of dairy currently, but I bet this would be divine with some fresh goat cheese on top.

Second note: Sorry for the crappy pictures. Taken at night with iphone. Never a great combo.