There’s not much the National Pork Board can tell most Southerners about pork, fresh, cured or otherwise.
We eat pork sausage. We eat ham hock.
We eat bacon, chitlins, pork rind and crackling and others of the pig that most people don’t know exist and wouldn’t put a fork to if they did.
We love National Pork Month the way we love our pigs.
Where all the little piggies go
Far from being food for poor people, pork is actually relatively expensive to produce.
Pigs, being omnivores, need a widely varied diet and loads of protein to grow to sale weight quickly.
In parts of the world, you can choose to raise pigs, or you can eat the same foods you would buy to feed the pigs.
That’s why the US exports so much pork overseas and another reason that pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world.
According to statistics provided by the National Pork Producers Council, in 2011 about 110 million pigs turned into 21 billion pounds of pork.
In 2012, the US exported 2.3 million metric tons of pork worth more than $6.3 billion US dollars.
Pig is good for a body
Everybody knows that pork is protein dense.
In fact, most fresh pork and ham is very low fat.
Put those nutritional facts together with the intense flavors you can create with pork, and you’ll why it’s so popular in the US.
More than 80% of Americans eat pork.
Of them, 78.6% prefer processed and cured pork to fresh pork.
FYI – A three-ounce serving of pork – processed or fresh – contains:
- Vitamins B6 & B12
The same three ounces of pork provides more than 10% of the RDA for seven of these nutrients, all of which are essential for good health.
With many cuts of pork, chief among them pork tenderloin, now as lean as skinless chicken – less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, no trans fat, and only 95 milligrams of cholesterol – eating more pork makes sense.
Watching your salt intake?
Eat more fresh, lean pork.
Here’s something new to try for National Pork Month.
Posole – pronounced pō-SŌ-lā – is a satisfying, savory stew usually made with fresh Boston butt (pork shoulder) although some cooks prefer the picnic shank for texture.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, posole, sometimes spelled ‘pozolli,’ is not from the New World.
Two primary ingredients – pork and chicken which are indigenous to Asia and Africa – did not arrive in North America until Columbus and other European explorers arrived in the late 1400s.
Although it is very popular at harvest in Mexico and Meso-America where corn was added to the recipe, it did not develop in Spanish, Portguese or Hispanic cuisine.
The Romans and other Mediterranean cultures developed very early recipes for posole.
In the United States, posole is usually made with hominy as a thickener. Variations using quinoa and bulgur wheat are fairly common.
For a cleaner flavor and to keep as gluten-free as possible, try Your Examiner’s recipe.
Making posole is a two-stage process and pretty easy.
First you rub the meat to flavor it and start to tenderize it. Then you stew it until it’s fork tender and pulls apart easily.
Here’s what you need:
Ingredients – Posole rub
- 2 1/2 tbsp. paprika
- 2 tbsp. sea salt
- 2 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. dried red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp. thyme
- 1 tbsp. sage
Ingredients – Posole stew
- 3-4 lb. Boston butt or pork shoulder
- 2 lrg. yellow onions, chopped
- 4-6 roma tomatoes, chopped
- 4-5 garlic gloves, crushed and minced
- 3 qts. chicken stock or water
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
Ingredients – Posole garnish
- Romaine lettuce, shredded
- Fresh spinach, shredded
- Green onions, sliced
- Flat Italian parsley, chopped
- Cilantro, chopped
- Mild, white cheese like fontina or romano, shredded or crumbled
- Fresh lemon or lime wedges
Start with the rub
- Mix thoroughly in a bowl then rub onto pork shoulder as thickly as possible.
- Set rubbed pork in same bowl and let stand in refrigerator for 2-3 hours or overnight if you have time.
Make the stew
- Heat a heavy pan over medium and add 2-4 tbsps. Olive oil.
- When the oil is hot, start searing the rubbed pork, 2-5 minutes a side to form a thick crust.
- Add the onion and more oil if necessary and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Reduce the heat and add tomatoes and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a slow boil.
- Season with sea salt, pepper and the leftover rub to taste.
- Reduce heat and leave to simmer for at least 2 hours, adding more liquid as necessary.
- Taste, stir and re-season often.
Add the garnish
Posole is a little unusual in that the garnish is served under the entrée.
- Mix the green garnish in a large salad bowl, then portion it out into soup bowls.
- Pull the pork shoulder into shreds with a fork, then ladle the stew over the green garnish.
- Sprinkle with cheese and fresh citrus juice.
Serve with crostini.
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OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years and knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org