Lard Crust Peach Bourbon Crostata

 

Lard is the go-to ingredient for the best pie crusts ever.

All it takes is 2 cups of flour, a teaspoon of salt, 2/3 cup of chilled lard, and 6 tablespoons of water.

Slice your peaches, add to a large bowl and add bourbon, vanilla, cinnamon, a tiny bit of nutmeg and some brown sugar- to taste. Put lid on bowl and gently shake in a rolling motion, to distribute the coating.

Chill your dough for an hour, then roll out to form your crust. Pre-bake for 5 minutes.

Arrange peaches in a rosette pattern.

Add garnish and edge, crimp and baste with heavy cream, sprinkle with brown sugar.

Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.

Simple Traditional Kunekune Maple Bacon! (wet cure)

Using these gorgeous pieces of Kunekune pork belly, we’re sharing the process for you to easily make your own bacon at home. It’s a lot easier than you think, and only takes about 30 minutes. This is a wet cure method. You can also dry cure with just salt, sugar and spices- and leave out the prague powder, but that’s a much longer process. This is simple and excellent to start with.

 

Here’s what you need: Kosher Salt, Dark Brown Sugar, Dark Maple Syrup, Black ground pepper, Prague powder #1 (optional, but provides more traditional bacon taste), and water.

After thawing the pork bellies for several days, I removed the skin carefully and with a very sharp knife.

I used vacuum seal bags, but you could just use gallon zip lock bags.

For 8 lbs pork belly I used:

9 tsp kosher salt
9 tsp black pepper
6 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp prague powder #1
1 cup dark maple syrup
1.5 cups water

Mix thoroughly and add to your pork belly in the bag. Distribute evenly and either vacuum seal on the gentle/moist setting, or try to get as much air out of your gallon zip loc bag as possible.

We’ll cure this for 3-4 days in the refrigerator, and then move on to the smoking process. Every day I’ll redistribute the cure within the bag to make sure it all cures evenly.

If you don’t have access to a smoker, you can cook your bacon low & slow in your oven with the addition of some liquid smoke for flavor. While this is curing, I’ll decide what type of wood I’d like to smoke it with. Pecan or Cherrywood sounds nice, but so does Applewood and Hickory! We’ll be smoking this in our cabinet smoker.

Kunekune Pork Osso Buco with Chanterelles, Polenta and Gremolata 

 

An easy & flavorful interpretation of the Northern Italian classic, featuring pork shank instead of veal.

One large pork shank, skin removed.

Salt & pepper shank, dredge in flour and brown on all sides in olive oil, set to side.

Add 2 minced cloves of garlic, one carrot, one stick celery and one onion, diced- to olive oil, add salt, cook until transparent.

Add one cup dry white wine and 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, stir well and reduce liquid by half over low heat.

Add pork shank back in, add one cup chicken broth, cover and cook on low until meat is falling off the bone- this time ranges based on size of shank.

Sautee chanterelles in olive oil.

Prepare polenta.

Plate and serve!

Gremolata is a finely diced parsley, garlic & lemon zest added as a final step.

Buon appetito!

Praise the Lard!

 

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Lard. The word itself often evokes a visceral reaction. Known as “saindoux” in French, “strutto” in Italian, “schmalz” in German, “manteca” in Spanish, and “laridum” in Latin, the word’s etymological source… lard is often used as both a negative connotation and an insult.

Did you ever wonder why most people today see lard as something disgusting and unpalatable? One hundred years ago, lard was found in every home, not only as a primary cooking & baking fat, but also in personal care products and candles. It was also used industrially as a machining lubricant.

Lard fell out of favor in the early 1900’s and is slowly but surely making a comeback. So how did lard fall from grace? It was essentially, a carefully planned corporate coup.

First, there was Upton Sinclair, whose novel “The Jungle” painted an unseemly portrait of meat packing in general, and the fact that the fictional work portrayed men falling into boiling lard rendering vats. Sinclair wrote The Jungle to expose the appalling working conditions in the meat-packing industry. His description of the working conditions and meat itself shocked the public and led to new federal food safety laws.

Next? Crisco. Proctor & Gamble created Crisco in 1910, the hydrogenated vegetable oil that looks like lard. It’s sole purpose was to replace lard in every American kitchen and utilize the cottonseed oil production chain formerly used to create candles. With the invention of the light bulb, candle production waned. Excess oil needed a use- and that use was hydrogenated vegetable oil. Proctor & Gamble led the one of the most expansive food advertising campaigns ever, to boost Crisco while demonizing lard. They gave it away for free, produced cookbooks and ran advertisements that claimed it was more digestible and healthier than lard. Lard wasn’t completely out of the picture, but it’s use was no longer dominant.

Then, in the 1950’s scientists joined in nay-saying lard, with medical claims that saturated fats, such as those found in lard, caused heart disease. Turns out… they were ALL wrong. And it’s actually Crisco and highly processed vegetable oils and hydrogenation that is what’s unhealthy.

Fast forward to the present, where we see lard becoming more accepted and even welcomed- by local food, farm to table movements, pastured livestock farming, and nose-to-tail utilization of humanely raised animals.

To make things more complicated, all pigs are not created equal. There are “lard breeds” and there are “bacon breeds”. Lard breeds are your old fashioned type of pigs, which fatten easily and produced copious amounts of fine-grained, buttery, firm and delicious lard. Lard breeds are compact and thick, with deep bodies and short legs. They include swine such as Kunekune, Meishan, American Guinea Hog, Ossabaw, Mangalitsa, and Potbelly. Bacon breeds are your commercial meat producers. They are lean, long and muscular and include breeds such as Tamworth, Duroc, Hereford, Yorkshire and Modern Berkshire. Some breeds have a little bit of both! These include English Berkshire, Gloucester Old Spots, Large Black, Red Wattle, and Mulefoot, to name a few. Most pastured pork producers utilize cross-breeds of various bacon-type breeds. Very few use lard breeds because they are smaller, and can take 3-4 times longer to grow out to a smaller weight, at that. Combined with the higher amount of fat on their carcass, they are frequently shunned by pastured pork farmers. We go against the grain by working exclusively with lard breeds. Why? Taste. There is nothing quite like the taste of slow-grown, intricately marbled meat from a lard pig. And the fat quality is unrivaled. All of the lard pig breeds other than potbelly pigs (typically seen as pets) are seen as rare and in some cases, critically or globally endangered. This makes a farmer’s work with them both valuable and important- a form of breed conservation through utilization. Breed the best, eat the rest!

Here’s an example between an old fashioned (English) Berkshire boar, and a modernized American one- selectively bred for fast growth and meat production. The English type is more of a lard type.

But back to lard… the lard you find in the modern grocery store is hydrogenated and shelf stable. Don’t buy this- it isn’t even remotely the same type of product you’d get from small farmers raising swine on pasture and in forest land. Pigs raised outdoor with natural forage, grasses, and a potentially omnivorous diet (pigs can and do eat snakes, amphibians, insects, and more!) produce fats with a much healthier lipid profile, as well as more vitamin D. Better than butter? We sure think so! Lard is lower in saturated fat than other animal fats like butter and tallow, and higher in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat—the type that gives olive oil its popularity. Lard has a high smoke point, making it a choice cooking and frying oil. And it’s one of the best fats to use in baking, especially biscuits or pie crusts!

We offer lard in several ways. At this time, we don’t offer plain, rendered lard. We do offer leaf lard (the internal fat), and back fat (the layer of fat found on the back and partway down the sides). Lard is very easy to render at home, store in the refrigerator or freezer, and utilize as a cooking fat. Southern cuisine is well-known for incorporating “salted fatback”, which is a salt-cured form of the fatback, usually offered sliced. We carry this as well. But our most unique and delicious product utilizing the creamy & pristine fat from our rare breed pigs is our Whipped Lardo, also known as “Crema di Lardo”.

The first time I experienced this was while traveling in central Italy. Umbria, to be exact- during wild boar season. Connor and I ate many dishes with “cinghiale”, and at one point experienced whipped lardo made with leaf fat combined with herbs & spices, vinegar and garlic. It was heaven!

Whipped Lardo can be used wherever you use cooking oils, fats or butter, and it incorporates both your cooking fat and your seasoning! We currently offer it in five different varieties: Rosemary & Garlic, Red Pepper & Fennel, WIldflower Honey & Sea Salt, Italian Herb, and Herbes de Provence. We are one of only a few farms in the entire United States that is producing Whipped Lardo for resale, and at this time- the only farm in South Carolina! Our rare breed lard pigs are exceptionally well-suited to producing the type of premium fat that is utilized in the lardo. In Italy, historically lardy breeds, often acorn-finished- are utilized as well.

We also utilize our lard in personal care products, such as handcrafted lard soaps, salves and balms. Our aim is to fully utilize the whole hog, and the fat is where it’s at! A portion of the hog that many modern-day producers simply end up discarding, for us- is an extremely important product that we choose to utilize and elevate!

Some more interesting reading about lard:

https://www.thedailymeal.com/healthy-eating/5-reasons-why-lard-new-coconut-oil

http://www.asiaone.com/health/pork-fat-ranked-among-top-10-most-nutritious-foods-report

https://www.prevention.com/food-nutrition/a20488068/should-you-be-eating-lard/

 

 

Sticky sesame riblets with spring onions

Something tasty is marinating!

Sticky ginger sesame ribs from our rare breed heritage pigs & riblets is what’s for dinner! We’re pairing them with a farm-grown romaine salad with a sesame dressing. Our ribs and riblets are smaller in size, so they are easy to thaw, marinate and prepare. How do you like your ribs?

Update- these ribs were a hit. For some reason, our customer demographic doesn’t purchase riblets, so we’re always looking for great recipes to prepare them with. I think if more people knew how delicious they were, they’d fly out of the freezer quite fast!

Get the recipe HERE.

Pork steaks marinated in honey/yogurt/garlic/turmeric glaze, with beet & snow pea salad

Part of a modern farmer’s job is showing you delicious, seasonal things that you can cook with our products!

I love to cook and wish I could cook like this every day. Alas, my days are usually much more simple and speedy fare with the hectic schedule that we keep.

This is a fresh Meishan ham steak (fresh, not cured thin sliced pork steak) marinated overnight in a yogurt/honey/garlic/turmeric mixture and pan-seared about 3 minutes per side. If this were supermarket pork, you’d says “gosh, that’s raw!” But this is heritage pork, that starts off as red as beef… so the finished color is also pink, not white. This is just my preference for cooking, I consider this to be “medium”.

We fixed this over jasmine rice, with a chilled beet and snow pea salad over the top, using Chioggia and golden beets from the garden, green onion, and snow peas. It was delicious!

If you’d like snow peas or beets to pick up at the Saturday market, send me a PM. I’ll be custom-harvesting beets for customers who’d like to purchase, because my beet harvest is limited.

Get the recipe HERE.

Delicious: succulent and crispy roasted Kunekune pork belly

Last week,  15 year old Connor, who is a HUGE fan of Gordon Ramsay, found this recipe and requested that we cook it up ASAP. I sent him off to the meat freezer to find the perfect piece of pork belly for this adventure. Yesterday afternoon, we enjoyed this scrumptious dish, made even more perfect accompanied by summer squash and bread left over from last Saturday’s market.

 

Yes, we DO have pork belly available for purchase!

 

Our fennel is on the way out, so we did our best to get some of that flavor in with a small bulb and some stems. And we didn’t have cardamom, so we substituted with some black peppercorns and clove buds instead. Overall the recipe turned out wonderfully… but our skin on top was a bit too hard to chew in places, so next time we’ll play around with the cooking times and temps.

 

In the video Gordon mentions 180 degrees. Is this celsius or fahrenheit? I don’t know. We set our oven to bake at 356 degrees and baked our smaller piece of pork belly for 90 minutes instead of the 2.5 hours he suggests. Next time we will try 180 F, instead.

 

Scored, seared and ready to go into the oven, resting in a pool of our farm chicken stock and a melange of spices.

 

All done!

KuneKune Pulled Pork

Excellent pulled pork recipe, perfect for our smaller, “crock pot sized” boston butts and picnic shoulders!

Connor's 4-H Heritage Breeds Project

My Mom and I are making pulled pork for the first time. I am going to tell you the recipe and how it tasted. We decided to cook it in the crock pot instead of the oven.

The part of the pig we used for the pig is a picnic ham. picnic ham is the lowest part of the pigs shoulder. It is a lot more tough and fatty than most cuts of meat, it has a very meaty texture.

Pulled Pork is known as one of the most popular dishes in the south. You can get it pretty much any where. Barbeque is so famous due to it starting in the south. It first started when Native Americans started barbequeing pigs that were introduced to them by the Spanish.

We researched some recipes online and added ingredients from two recipes, and added our own ideas to make our pulled pork.

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Pork Roast with Chanterelles, New Potatoes, Blackberries and Marsala Cream Sauce

Let’s cook! Today I’m preparing a petite Kunekune pork shoulder roast (aka “Boston Butt”). This is a 1.43 lb portion of a the butt portion from a smaller, younger Kunekune (weight about 75 lbs at 10 months old). A great deal of the time I don’t cook using a set recipe, I cook to taste so while I can tell you what ingredients I used for this dish, I can’t give exact amounts… I can only hope this serves as inspiration for you to use a beautiful piece of rare heritage breed pork in your own special way.

You read that right- this gorgeous piece of red meat is PORK! It’s not beef.

We call this “Porcellino”, which means “little pig” in Italian and is the name we’re giving to cuts of petite, young Kunekune pork. I find the meat from the younger pigs to be even more delectable and tender than the already amazing meat from older and larger pigs! Kunekunes are a wonderful, but slow growing, rare heritage breed of pig.

While most farmers will have pigs reaching 250-275 pounds or more by 6 months of age, ours would take 2-4 years to reach a weight of 200-250 lbs. This is a smaller breed of pig, and an old fashioned type of breed. In order to sustainably conserve the breed, we must be able to utilize it for small-scale artisan pork.

I’m preparing this petite roast with a dry rub of brown sugar, sea salt, garlic powder, pepper, sage, rosemary, and red onion. After about 3 hours in the refrigerator, I’ll be pre-heating the oven and giving this roast a beautiful hard sear with olive oil, on all 6 sides.

It will then go into the roasting pan and into the oven, with olive oil, butter, garlic, baby russet/blue potatoes from our garden, marsala wine, and a touch of heavy cream and fresh herbs. Also a surprise touch- blackberries I got at last week’s farmers market!

The chanterelle mushrooms will be sauteed on the stovetop and later incorporated into the dish.

I will have these petite pork roasts at tomorrow’s Saturday market! Chanterelles are in season right now and through the summer, hopefully by next year I’ll be certified to sell mushrooms!

First step, Chanterelles! Typically found in the more wet areas of the forest, in relationship with certain trees. Our sloped land, with numerous ravines and a small stream, is a mushroom wonderland.

 

Next step, choosing and preparing the meat according to the descriptions above:

Final steps, putting it all together to roast and enjoy:

KuneKune Pork Tenderloin, Polenta & Chanterelles

It’s Chanterelle season!

Connor's 4-H Heritage Breeds Project

Yesterday, My Mom and I made pork tenderloin. It was the most tender and juicy meat I have ever had.

This meal was primarily made up of stuff from our farm. We grew the sage, collected the mushrooms from the stream on our land and the tenderloin from our pigs. We made the polenta with goat’s milk from a friend’s farm (West Knoll Farm). I personally am not a fan of mushrooms but I really loved the pork.

The pork tenderloin is a muscle along the central spine. It is the most tender part of the pork because the muscle is used for posture not moving.

Ingredients you will need:

Mushrooms:

  • Chanterelle mushrooms
  • unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic clove
  • fresh sage leaves
  • salt and pepper

Polenta:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup corn meal
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt

Pork:

  • 2 KuneKune pork tenderloin
  • salt…

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