The pig has arrived. My chest freezer is full to bursting with hams, roasts, loins, chops, sausages, and nine, count them nine, packages of bacon.
Two new things this time around - first, a few pounds of frozen, rendered lard, which I will need to thaw, reportion, and refreeze at some point, because nobody needs a three pound block of lard for anything. And second, the tongue. I'm excited about that. It's a fairly scant bit of meat, but it should make for some good tacos.
Ribs are destined for the smoker and a get-together in the future. Ham will need to be, as I have in the past, cooked off in a very basic matter and treated more like a cured pork than an Easter ham, because this ham is about as hammy a ham as I can stand. Oh, the uses I will find for the bacon. The uses indeed. A healthy amount of pork shoulder, which I can always use. And andouille, which will come in VERY handy once the CSA kale starts pouring in.
And so, my obsession with smoking things begins.
So, to celebrate making the larder even lardier, I went straight for one of my favoritest things about going in on a pig with a friend. That one, glorious package of bacon ends. The meaty, extra-smoky ends of the pork belly that are left after the proper sliced bacon has been sliced and package. I love bacon ends. Along with those I grabbed the country style ribs and started in on a Southwesternish pork stew.
Step one, chop the bacon ends and cook them off until rendered and slightly crispy. Step two, add a bit more oil (bacon ends render very little fat) and brown the country ribs (seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and cumin) for about seven minutes total. Remove the ribs and replace with a chopped onion, scraping up the fond as the onions cook down. Add a bunch of sliced garlic and some green chiles (one anaheim, two jalapenos, seeded) and saute for a bit. Then add about a cup of white wine and a box of chicken broth, put the ribs back in, and let that simmer for about an hour.
After the hour is up, I pulled the ribs out to cool, and added two big potatoes (diced, skin-on), a cup and a half or thereabouts of frozen sweet corn, and two medium parsnips (diced), to the broth. Once those were done and the pork cooled, I peeled the meat off the one country rib that had bone in it, chopped all the meat up, stirred it in, and voila. Pork stew.
To add a note of freshness, I chopped up a couple of tomatoes, half a red bell pepper, and my last avocado, tossed them with a bit of white wine vinegar, and just heaped a small amount on top of the stew once it had been served. Plus it added some color to the dish to make it more photogenic. Don't judge me.