Pig: Nature's Perfect FoodAugust 23, 2018
Pork roast, bacon, cheek, chops, ribs, cutlet, ham, pieds de cochon, hocks… the list is near endless and all of it is tasty. Some cuts are lean (loin), some heart-stoppingly fatty (pork belly) but with the proper cooking techniques can result in culinary treats.
Cooks delight in finding new uses for the various cuts. A beautiful leek and goat cheese tenderloin roulade, sous vide and roasted pork belly with Moroccan spices, a nicely grilled pork chop with apple chutney. Exploring the uses is half the fun.
Less Used Cuts, More Flavour
More and more the rarer cuts are showing up on the shelves of local markets normally at prices far below the ‘choice’ cuts most are used to. The humble hock, slowly braised then basted with Korean flavours and grilled is a taste sensation which can be pulled apart and chopped and added to noodle dishes, soups or tossed in a stir fry.
The shoulder (oddly referred to as ‘butt’) makes for excellent sausages. A classic saucisse (Toulouse sausage), can be as simple as ground butt, side pork for extra fat and some salt and pepper. Making it with natural pork casings (pig intestinal linings), and uses even more of the animal.
Some unpasteurised cheese, a hunk of fresh bread and paper-thin slices of Iberco ham washed down with a nice wine can make a lovely summer day just that much better though covering one’s self to the elbows in barbeque sauce while digging into a pile of back ribs proves just as delightful.
The Pig is a Noble Animal
The noble pig deserves our respect and adulation. Discovering just one more use for one of its many tasty bits is one of life’s little pleasures.
Roast Pork Recipe with Leek and Demi-Glace Sauce
- 5 lbs trimmed pork loin
- 1 white of leek, cut in very thin rings
- 1 cup demi-glace
- 2 cup pork stock
- 1 cup veal stock
- 1 cup red wine
- parsley, fresh
- thyme, fresh
- 4-6 cups mirepoix, roughly chopped
- kosher salt
- olive oil
- Brine the pork in an 8% salt brine (80g of salt for every litre of water), for 2-4 hours.
- Remove the roast from the brine, rinse and pat dry.
- Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
- Rub the pork with olive oil and liberally season with salt and pepper.
- Brown all sides of the roast in a hot roasting pan. Remove the pork, add the mirepoix, parsley stems and thyme stalks. Place the pork on top of the mirepoix, cover the pan with tin foil and place in the oven on the centre rack.
- Cook for 1 hour, remove the tin foil and cook for a further 45-60 minutes, until the internal temperature hits 135F.
- Remove from oven, set pork aside and cover, place roasting pan on stove across two burners on high. Deglaze the pan with the wine, using the pieces of vegetable to loosen any goodness.
- Reduce by half, add stock and demi-glace, reduce by half again.
- Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve in a sauce pan and add the leek rings. Reduce until it coats the back of a spoon and the leeks are cooked through.
- Slice the rested pork into 1/2 “ slices. Sauce. Serve. Enjoy.