Brine for Pork

 

 

Although brining, soaking food in a heavily slated water, has been heralded as a new way to impart flavor to today’s lean pork, it is really a very old method used for preserving foods. When the meat is submerged, for hours or as long as a day or two, depending on its weight, in a salt solution, osmosis takes place, which increases the amount of liquid inside the meat’s cells. The result is a juicier, more flavorful piece of meat.

While a basic brine is simply a mixture of water and salt, most brines are balanced by the addition of sugar, and they can, like this one, be further enhanced with herbs and spices. Use a nonreactive container for brining, such as a glass or stainless steel bowl or even a plastic bucket, the container must be large enough to submerge the meat completely in the brining solution. This recipe makes enough brine for a crown roast of pork; it can easily be halved for brining a smaller piece of meat.

Follow the instructions for the recipe being used as brining times depends on the size and shape of the cut. Ensure the brining solution is cold before adding the meat.

 

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Brine for Pork


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  • Author: Jill Baker
  • Yield: Makes 1 Gallon 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

1 c. Kosher Salt

1/2 c. Sugar

1 Tbsp. Coriander Seeds, crushed

1 Tbsp. Black Peppercorns, crushed

8 Allspice Berries, crushed

6 Juniper Berries, crushed

4 Garlic Cloves, crushed

4 Bay Leaves, crushed

4 Thyme Sprigs


Instructions

  1. Put the salt, sugar, and 4 cups water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Boil for 1 minute, them remove from the heat and pour into the brining container. Add the coriander seeds, peppercorns, allspice, and juniper berries, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme, and pour in 12 c. cold water.
  2. Once the brining solution is completely cool, add the meat. To submerge the meat, weigh it down using a plate and a jar filled with water. (Do not use a metal weight or jar with a metal lid, as it would react with the brine.)
  3. Refrigerate the meat in the brine according to the individual recipe instructions.

Notes

The information and recipe, contained within, is excerpted from Bones by Jennifer McLagan and can be purchased here.

Pork Stock

 

 

Admittedly not as useful as veal or chicken stock, pork stock nonetheless makes a good basis for certain soups and for sauces to accompany pork. Use only uncured pork bones to make it. The smoky flavor of ham bones or those from other cured cuts would overpower the stock; they are best added to lentils or beans.

As with any bones, they can be saved in the freezer until you have enough, or ask you butcher to set them aside for you. Skin, feet, and ears are good additions to the stock because they increase the gelatin content. A small pig’s foot (have your butcher cut it into pieces) or a piece of skin about 6 inches square, with the fat removed, will be enough for this stock. Add either one with the bones.

 

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Pork Stock


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  • Author: Jill Baker
  • Yield: Makes 6 to 7 cups 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

4 1/2 lbs. Meaty Pork Bones, cut into 2-to-3-inch pieces

1 Small Pig’s Foot, cut into pieces, optional

2 Medium Carrots, sliced

2 Medium Carrots, sliced

2 Celery Stalks, sliced

1 Large Onion, unpeeled, cut into wedges

Green Tops of 3 Leeks, sliced

6 Flat-Leaf Parsley Stems

1 Large Thyme Sprig

1 Bay Leaf

A Large Strip of Lemon Zest

3 Garlic Cloves

1/4 tsp. Black Peppercorns

Kosher Salt, optional


Instructions

  1. Rinse the bones and foot, if using, under cold running water, then place in a large stockpot. Add the carrots, celery, onion, leeks, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, lemon zest, and garlic. Pour in enough cold water to cover the bones, about 12 cups, and bring slowly to a boil. As soon as the stock begins to boil, reduce the heat so that it simmers. Using a soup ladle, skin off any scum that has risen to the surface (rotate it’s bowl on the surface of the stock to make ripples: these will carry the scum to the edges of the pot, and you can then use the ladle to lift it off.) Add the peppercorns and simmer, uncovered, for 5 hours, skimming from time to time.
  2. Strain the stock through a sieve into a large bowl. Discard the debris left in the sieve, and cool the stock quickly by placing the bowl in a larger bowl or sink filled with ice water; stir occasionally as it cools. When you taste the stock, you will notice that something is missing–the salt. It was deliberately left out so that you can reduce the stock, if desired, without any fear that it will become too salty. If you will not be reducing the stock, add about 1 tsp. salt.
  3. Refrigerate the stock for 6 hours, or overnight, to allow the fat to rise to the top and the debris to sink to the bottom. Remove the fat before using (and discard the debris at the bottom of the bowl). Divide into 1-cup quantities and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

Notes

Concentrated Pork Stock (Makes 1 1/2 cups)
If your freezer pace is tight, reduce your stock by following the method for Concentrated Brown Stock (found here).
º6 cups Unsalted Pork Stock
ºKosher Salt
The reduced stock will become syrupy and turn a deep golden color.

The information and recipe, contained within, is excerpted from Bones by Jennifer McLagan and can be purchased here.

Rolled Pig’s Spleen

 

 

Please do not be deterred; spleens are a joy to cook with and eat, and the texture is not dissimilar to liver.

Eat with very thinly sliced raw red onion and cornichons (make your own here).

 

 

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Rolled Pig’s Spleen


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  • Author: Jill Baker
  • Yield: 1 Person 1x

Ingredients

Scale

1 Pig’s Spleen

Sea Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

4 Sage Leaves

2 Slices of Smoked Lean Bacon, not too thin with rind removed

Chicken Stock, enough to just cover spleen


Instructions

  1. Lay your spleen out flat (it is a very neat and easy-to-use organ), and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place your sage leaves along it, then the bacon lengthwise, roll it up, and skewer it.
  3. Place in an ovenproof dish, cover with the chicken stock, put in a medium 350° F oven for 1 1/2 hours, then let cool in the stock.
  4. When cold, it is ready to eat; you can keep it in the stock until you need it.

To Serve

Remove the skewer and slice into three or four slices so you get a cross section of spleen and bacon spiral.

Notes

Recipe taken from The Whole Beast by Fergus Henderson and can be purchased here.

Air Fryer Pork Belly Bites

 

 

 

These flavorful, crispy bits of pork belly will be a repeat snack for any occasion! A perk using the air fryer is there is hardly any mess as opposed to traditional methods of preparing these tasty nibbles! Feel free to season/marinade in whatever you feel emboldened to create!

 

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Air Fryer Pork Belly Bites


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  • Author: Jill Baker
  • Yield: About 15 Pieces 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

1 1/2 lbs. Pork Belly, patted dry, cut into 1-inch pieces

3 Tbsp. Canola Oil

1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar

1 tsp. Garlic Powder

1 tsp. Kosher Salt

1 tsp. Pepper


Instructions

  1. Preheat air fryer to 400º F.
  2. In a bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Add in the pork pieces a coat thoroughly.
  4. Place coated pieces in a single layer on the air fryer tray/basket. (Ensure room around each piece; you may need to do multiple batches.)
  5. Cook for 15-20 minutes, checking often to shake and turn the pieces to ensure even browning.
  6. Remove pieces and serve warm.

Notes

Please adhere to individual air fryer machine instructions for proper cook times/food sizes.

Sorrel, Chicory, and Crispy Ear Salad

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Sorrel, Chicory, and Crispy Ear Salad


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  • Author: Jill Baker
  • Yield: Serves 8

Description

This is a fine accompaniment for Brawn (Headcheese). You will need the pig’s ears as cooked in that recipe.


Ingredients

Scale

2 Pig’s Ears, cooked

Vegetable Oil for Frying

2 Handfuls of Sorrel Leaves, picked from the stems, washed and drained

2 Heads of Chicory (also called Curly Endive or Belgian Endive)

A Handful of Curly Parsley Leaves, picked from the stem

1 Generous tsp. of Capers (extra-fine if possible)

Vinaigrette (recipe here)


Instructions

Allow the ears to cool and firm up, then slice very thinly. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep frying pan (or deep-fryer if you have one) and drop the ears in. Be careful, as even if dry they are likely to spit.

Stir to avoid their sticking in one great mass.

When crispy, remove from the oil and lay on paper towels to drain off excess fat.

Pick off the sorrel leaves, chop the chicory, and finely chop the curly parsley, add the capers, dress with vinaigrette, and then top with the crispy ears.

Notes

This excerpt is taken from The Whole Beast by Fergus Henderson, purchase the book here.

Brawn (Headcheese)

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Brawn (Headcheese)


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  • Author: Jill Baker
  • Yield: Serves 8

Description

A splendid dish, a slowly cooked pig’s head, the flesh pulled from the skull and set in it’s own jelly; sliced thinly, a fine lunch. An ideal accompaniment is the Sorrel, Chicory, and Crispy Eat Salad.


Ingredients

Scale

1 Pig’s Head, cleaned thoroughly

4 Pig’s Trotters, cleaned thoroughly

2 Onions, peeled

2 Carrots, peeled

2 Leeks, cleaned

2 Stalks of Celery

2 Heads of Garlic, skin on

Zest of 2 Lemons

A healthy Splash of Red Wine Vinegar

A Bundle of Fresh Herbs, tied together

2 Bay Leaves

A Scant Handful of Black Peppercorns, tied in cheesecloth

Sea Salt


Instructions

Place the head and trotters in a large pot, cover with water, and add all the other ingredients except salt. As soon as you have brought it up to a boil, reduce to a very gentle simmer, skimming as you go.

If using (for the salad accompaniment), extract the ears after about 1 hour, rinse them, and dry them carefully. When you can feel the cheek starting to come away from the bone (about 2 1/2 hours), remove everything from the liquor and discard the vegetables.

Return the liquor to the heat to reduce by about half, then season with salt, remembering this is served cold, which subdues flavors.

While still warm, puck through the trotters and pig’s head, retrieving the flesh, especially peeling the tongue. The snout is neither fat nor meat; do not be discouraged, it is delicious in your brawn.

Line your terrine with plastic wrap and fill with the retrieved meats. Pour in enough of the reduced liquor just to cover, slamming the mold on the kitchen counter to shake out any air bubbles.

Leave to set overnight in the fridge, and before you serve it, remove it in good time to acclimatize without being so warm it is soft and sweaty.

Notes

This excerpt is taken from The Whole Beast by Fergus Henderson, purchase the book here.