Back in September I told Fred Monahan at Stone Gardens Farm that I was interested in a pork share. A friend and I had split a share of beef last year-- the difference in taste is amazing. And I have the satisfaction of knowing that the cow had a good life, somewhat spoiled by Fred and Stacia's kids. So, Fred found a piglet to raise, and it's here.
A meat share comes fully fabricated- so if you are thinking I have a carcass hanging in my garage, not so much. What I have is a freezer full of chops, roasts, sausage, hocks, feet, back fat, neck bones, etceteras. Today we pick up the cured products: hams and ham steaks and bacon.
So, while I wait for the spring harvest (despite the hills of snow on my patio, I'm convinced that spring will come) I can share what I'm doing with all this pork. Eating my way through a third of a pig.....
I opened up a package of pork chops first....
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Season the chops (at least 1-1/2" thick) with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a heavy, oven-proof skillet and add 1 to 2 tablespoons oil. Brown the chops quickly on both sides. Pour enough apple juice (or better yet, apple cider) into the pan- enough to come halfway up the chops. Cover tightly and place in the oven. Bake 30 minutes.
- Combine 1/2 cup pure maple syrup with 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce and 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish (this quantity is enough for 4 chops). Remove the chops from the oven, uncover and pour the glaze over them. Return to the oven, uncovered, and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the glaze is thick and shiny.
- Dice an onion and mince 2 scallions. Wash 4 baking potatoes and cut into eighths. Place in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Drain and set aside.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a deep skillet. Add the onion and cook over low heat until soft, about 10 minutes. Do not brown.
- Add the drained potatoes and 2 heaping tablespoons of sour cream. Mash with a potato masher for a minute or so, and then add 1/2 cup milk. Continue to mash until soft, but not smooth.
- Serve garnished with the scallions.