Oh the silence around here is deafening isn't it? Well, I'll confess that there is some very big news coming soon, but I need to wait for some i's to be dotted and t's to be crossed before I share in the meantime I could use some crossed fingers okay?
In the meantime though I want to talk about pork. Amazing, moist, delicious, kindly raised, well fed and nurtured pork. You can read all about Heritage Hill Farm and the work Lani and her husband are doing to raise longhorn cattle, chicken and pigs and Lani's produce CSA. Go on, I'll wait.
Okay, now back in May when Mom called to tell me about the sign she passed on the road near our house in Maine I contacted Lani and had her send me a brochure and when I read it I had a passing thought about purchasing a pig, but really, where can one put a half a pig? Then over the summer when I went to visit Mom we stopped by Lani's farm and I met the pigs, chatted with Lani about what they were doing at the farm and decided then and there that I was going to try and make this happen. I started weeding though the chest freezer in the garage. I wrote to Lani and asked how much space it would take up, 2X2X2 feet in case you were planning, and so I arranged the freezer with a big space in the center to bring it all home. Lani and Mom and I went back and forth about dates. The closing date for Maine is set in stone once Mom buys her plane tickets and so the first weekend in October was it. Lani worked really hard to get the butcher and the smokehouse to coordinate. Emails flew back and forth and a time was set for the pass off. Mom and SD arrived just as the truck was arriving and 2 men loaded the pig into the trunk of the car and Mom wrapped a blanket around the box to try and keep it cold. PIGS in a BLANKET...GET IT? Alright, we thought it was funny. I met Mom on route 1 in Saugus at her favourite pizza joint and we loaded Bernie into two coolers and had lunch before their flight.
Back home into the freezer Bernie went and I assure you there was not one spare inch of space in that freezer! This weekend I broke out a package of the bacon to have for Sunday breakfast with some of Lani's eggs. If the bacon was a precursor of what was to come, we were in for some great pork. Lightly smoked and cured with I am assuming no nitrates because it was not that shade of nitrate pink we fried it up and had it with a golden yolk egg and plotted the roast for later.
I thawed out a 3.75 pound pork loin roast on the bone..mmmm...bones. I consulted Delia and Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall, Cooks and Pork & Sons, Bruce Aidelles, Anne Willan, Andre Soltner and Bourdain. In the end I decided to wing it and combine a few ideas, but I followed Hugh's Sizzle, Roast and Rest method.
I made a paste of garlic and sage from the garden and poked some holes in the roast and pushed it in. Then I salted it with flaky Maldon sea salt and popped it in a 450F oven for 20 mins. At the 20 min mark I pulled it out and smeared it all over in Dijon mustard and then pressed on a mixture of panko crumbs, black pepper and more fresh sage, I put in the temperature probe set to 150F and put it back in the now cooler 325F oven and cooked it for 20 minutes per pound OR UNTIL the temp timer went off. It took close to 2 hours.
Once it reached 150F I removed it from the roasting pan and let it rest on the cutting board covered in a nice blanket of foil.
It rested for 20 minutes while the root veg got a good blast of heat. It took every ounce of resistance I could muster to not start picking at the outside for a taste.
Finally we carved the pork. Moist does not even begin to describe this roast. And people can I tell you something? It TASTED LIKE PORK. REAL pork. Not today's cardboard masquerading as pork but the real deal the stuff I remember from my childhood. There was bone gnawing and lip smacking and praise to Bernie all around. I made a pledge when Bernie came home to the freezer that I was going to do my best to honour this pig. I plan to document every meal we make from Bernie and Lani...next year I want the head and the tail too!