In Season: Local Pork

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Farms on the Island continue with robust, diverse offerings of vegetables, eggs, dairy — such as cheeses, yogurt, and raw milk — and great local meat. You can find pasture-raised chicken, beef, lamb, and a fantastic selection of pork. All these locally raised animals have had quality lives on the Vineyard, spending time outdoors in pastures, being nurtured by humans who genuinely care for them.

The good husbandry pays off with delicious, flavorful meats. I recently bought a beautifully marbled T-bone steak from Grey Barn. I let it rest in fresh rosemary, garlic, a tad of mustard, olive oil, a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, and black pepper, then grilled it — it was yummy.

I often buy local pork; the pig provides a variety of options: sausage, hot Italian, breakfast, and chorizo, bacon, chops, roast, butt, loin, ribs, ham.

In my opinion, pork from small farms, humanely raised, is superior to commodity-raised pork. The flavor — well, it has flavor, and is always juicy.

If you hit the farmstands around the Island, there is a good chance there will be pork in the freezer. Also check out Jo Douglas, who raises only pigs at Fork to Pork, forktopork.com; you may see this locally raised pork on some Island menus.

The reality is most will not be able to buy local pork all the time; the best options at Cronig’s are Niman Ranch — I find their pork chops consistently delicious.

At this time of year, I’m thinking of homey comfort foods; this pork hash recipe is perfect for fall.

Spicy Pork Hash with Kale and Winter Squash

This hash is basically a base for a few meals — breakfast hash with eggs, a fantastic pasta sauce (just add chicken stock or pasta water), or add two cans of drained and rinsed white beans and chicken stock for soup. 

Most of the ingredients I used were local. The hash could not be easier — my favorite kind of cooking: clean, simple, local, very tasty, and full of color. Serves 4.

¼ cup EVOO
I lb. ground hot Italian sausage
4 cups winter squash, such as delicata or butternut. Slice and peel if needed, slice in half and remove seeds, dice into two-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 large or 2 medium shallots, halved and thinly sliced
3 medium or two large leeks halves, rinsed, then sliced
1 large bunch kale or chard, bottom stems removed, sliced keeping the rib intact (large-cut chiffonade), then soak and spin dry

Preheat oven to 400°. In a heavy saucepan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil; heat on medium-high heat and brown the sausage, breaking up the meat so it is not too chunky.

Rinse your delicata squash well — you will leave the skin on and eat it. Peel your butternut. Halve, remove seeds, and cut into two-inch slices for the delicata, or dices for the butternut squash. Toss in remaining olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Bake at 400° for about 25 minutes.

Once your sausage is browned, add rosemary, combine, then add your shallots and leeks. Combine, turn heat down, and cook for about 5 minutes to soften the shallots and leeks.

Add chiffonaded kale, combine well. Cover for about 2 minutes. Continue cooking until kale has softened. Remove from heat. Carefully fold in roasted squash.

 

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