I’ve heard that a requirement for being a true Minnesotan means you love casserole. Depending on what part of the state you come from, casserole can also be called hot dish or goulash. What do you call it? Here’s a recipe just in time for Thanksgiving and Green Bean Casserole!
Well, as you may have noticed, most casseroles require a generous amount of Cream of Chicken or Cream of “Something” soup. I’m not a big fan of the additives in the canned stuff from the store and I’m not a fan of the price, so here’s the recipe I use for things like Green Bean casserole, Chicken Broccoli hotdish, smothered pork chops, Ambrosia Sweet Roast, and so much more… Enjoy!
Cream of Chicken Soup
1 1/2 cup chicken broth/stock
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp. onion power
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt (more if your chicken broth/stock is homemade)
1/4 tsp. parsley
dash of paprika
1 1/2 cup milk, separated
3/4 cup flour
1. In medium saucepan, boil broth, 1/2 c. of milk and the seasonings for 1-2 minutes.
2. In a bowl, whisk together remaining milk and flour. Add to boiling mixture and continue whisking until mixture boils and thickens.
3. Remove from heat and add to your favorite dish.
*This recipe does not freeze well, but will save in the fridge for up to a week as long as your chicken stock is fresh.
Today we continue our series on using all the cuts in a half hog, after looking at pork chop ideas last week. As one of the most easy-to-use cuts (in my opinion), now we explore Pork Roasts! As a busy mom, farmer, homeschool teacher, etc., I love anything super easy. I’m sure you can relate.
When I search for recipes and food ideas, just like at the grocery store, I get in and get out quickly. I get my ideas and then run off to make supper. I hope these recipes or ideas will be a quick guide and an asset to those of you looking how to support small farms and your budget by purchasing a half or whole hog.
First, it may be helpful for you to know the difference between pork shoulder and pork loin roasts. Here is an article that explains the cuts a little more: “A Complete Guide to Pork Cuts”, but here’s a quick synopsis:
- Loin – the most tender cut. It is good for quick cooking at about 400 F because it doesn’t require a long time to become tender
- Shoulder (aka pork butt) – cook slow on low heat (about 225 F for 6-8 hours).
Let’s get right to it.
Pork Loin Roast ideas (and how I do it):
- Roast with veggies in the oven. The best way to cook a loin roast is thawed, rubbed with spices, and placed in a roaster/cast iron pot in the oven. Typically it will take an hour for a 3-4 pound roast to get up to 145 F if cooked at 400 F, but testing it at 45 minutes would be best because an overcooked loin roast is not so juicy (use it for soup or casseroles if this happens). As with most roasts, it’s best to pan sear it/brown the outsides in an oiled (or larded) pan on high heat for a few minutes before sticking it in the oven to cook. This keeps the juiciness of the meat intact. Cook it up and serve with your favorite side dish.
- Roast with veggies in the slow cooker. There have been many times I’ve put one of these roasts in the slow cooker with some veggies and just walked away. I’ll typically stick them in still frozen because I forget to pull it out the night before. Carrots, root veggies, onion, or potatoes are our favorites. Sometimes it’s fun to add a little cooking wine. Sometimes a little tomato sauce changes things up for us. Typically it’s just meat and veggies though. We’ll stick it on a plate once it’s tender and it’s a meal for us. It’s best to not over cook a tenderloin roast, so check the temperature after about four or five hours (depending on size) to see how much longer you’ll need to cook it.
- Another one of our old favorites for pork roast is Peanut Butter Pork with rice.
- Here’s a list of slow cooker recipes to try too: Slowcooker 365
- Recipes I’d like to try some day:
Pork Shoulder ideas (and how I do it):
- Pulled pork (for fajitas, carnitas, taco meat, BBQ pork, casseroles, soups or pulled pork sandwiches). Chop an onion and line the bottom of a slow cooker with it. Rub pork with your favorite spices for pulled pork, such as bbq, fajita blend, tandori, etc. Some like to add pineapple or bbq sauce. I’d do this in the last hour of cooking though. Cover and cook on low heat (225 – 250 F) for 6 to 8 hours depending on the size of your roast. An hour before you hope to eat it, open to separate the meat with two forks or with a knife. Cover and cook until tender. This makes a wonderful amount of meat for a large crowd or for various meals throughout the week. Typically I will cook it with basic spices (like garlic, paprika, and pepper) and use it for tacos, casseroles, soups, nachos, pizza or pulled pork sandwiches.
- Roast with veggies. Same as above but best made in a crock pot.
- Soups or Chili. I love using part of a roast for making a hearty meat and veggies soup, white bean or traditional chili, or even Pho Vietnamese soup.
- Casseroles. These are a Minnesota comfort food. Enchiladas, shepherds pie or pot pie are my favorites. Look up “pulled pork casserole” or “pulled pork hotdish” depending on your cultural preference and you’ll get enough options for the year I’m sure.
- Recipes I’d like to try some day:
- My favorite way to cook a ham roast (not a ham) is in a slow cooker with a jar of sauerkraut and some apple sauce. It’s hard to beat that, so that’s my only idea for you.
- Ham roasts are normally a bit tougher and are best marinaded, brined, or slow cooked.
- Save the bones if there are a lot and make some pork stock for soups.
- Don’t forget to check out our recipes page for more ideas.
- If you want something more gourmet, check out Gordon Ramsay at youtube.com. Don’t worry, he’s quite tame in his how-to videos.
As I mentioned on Tuesday, a new goal I have is to help make ordering and using a whole hog more user-friendly by providing recipes and information.
Here’s bit of info from our Pastured Pork page:
“When ordering a half or whole hog, here are the options you’ll choose from when calling the butcher:
- Pork chops (about 23-26, 1 inch or you can ask for 2 inch cuts) – other options for chops include making them into baby back ribs (deboned chops), boneless tenderloin, ground or roasts
- Shoulder Roasts (2) or Steaks (4-6) or Cottage Bacon (similar to ham in taste)
- Loin Roasts (2) or Steaks (4-6)
- Ground pork (6-12 lb of trim)
- Ribs (2 lb)
- Smoked Ham or Ham Roasts (can be halved or quartered)
- Smoked Hocks or Fresh Hocks (2)
- Side Pork (pork belly) or Smoked Bacon – thick or thin sliced (about 6-10 lbs)
- Pork fat for rendering lard (we suggest you pay the small fee to have it ground, it renders more efficiently)
- All meat cuts have other options like being ground or deboned if there is a cut you do not prefer”
Some of these things, like bacon and ground pork, have an endless number of recipes to choose from and are quickly used up. Others are a little more challenging depending on your background.
In the following weeks, I hope to add some links and various ideas on how to use the above cuts. Today I would like to start with pork chops!
- Chops are excellent grilled. Typically I will sear them by starting the grill on high heat and then after each side has been browned for a few minutes, I will turn the temperature down to low. Be sure to watch them closely so the flame does not burn them up once the fat starts dripping.
- Chops are also wonderful pan seared and then baked when grilling season is not an option (such as in January in Minnesota).
- The spices I prefer to sprinkle on chops are as follows for 4 chops:
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper combined and rubbed into the meat before cooking
- Your favorite bbq rub (I really like Penzey’s spices, but there are many good all purpose bbq rubs out there).
- Here’s a more involved bbq mix to try. This is a guess because I don’t have a specific recipe: 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/8 teaspoon allspice, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, 1/16 teaspoon cayenne, 1/16 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/16 teaspoon thyme, 1/16 teaspoon ginger
- The way my mom made pork chops was super easy and tasty too. Basically, sear four pork chops and place in a 9 by 13 inch glassware dish. Pour some cream of chicken soup over the top (if it’s too thick, thin it with 1/2 cup of milk). We make our own. Here’s a recipe similar to ours: Pinch of Yum. Sprinkle with paprika and black pepper. Mix up some stuffing (the amount from a 6 ounce box should be enough). Place stuffing on top. Cover in foil and bake for 45 minutes. Take foil off and bake another 15 minutes or until the internal temperature is 145 Fahrenheit. It’s a hearty, heavy meal… pure comfort food.
- Our pork chops come from a part Mangalista hog. The Mangalista breed of pig has a bit more back fat on it due to it’s excellent amount of vitamin rich lard. If you don’t enjoy eating this fat straight up, I recommend trimming the fat and then rendering it (melting it slowly then filtering it) to be used later for frying eggs or adding to recipes instead of butter or oil. It’s a great way to add Vitamin D to your diet this winter!
- When cooking a pork chop. Melt some lard in the bottom of a pan on high heat. Set the chops in the pan for about a minute until slightly brown then turn the heat to low or transfer to a baking dish if you will be putting them in the oven. Searing and then cooking on low heat produces a juicier chop instead of a dry one.
These are some of our favorites, but I’d love to hear some of yours!! Please leave a comment and let us know your favorite recipes for pork chops.
We’ve recently updated our Pastured Pork page. A new goal I have is to help make ordering and using larger portions of meat (or splitting half a hog with friends) more user friendly. One way I hope to do this is by providing recipes and meal ideas for the various cuts of meat. Another is by providing information on what a half hog contains. I could use your help. What would like to know about when considering half a hog or a quarter beef or a whole chicken? Do you want resource links or would you rather I break down the whole process here? Is it recipes you need or how-to information? Maybe I’m not even asking the right questions. Could you please comment here or send me a quick email/message on Facebook for ideas?
And in case you missed the information on our November delivery dates to the Minneapolis/Fridley/St. Paul area, here’s a link to our most recent newsletter:
Click here if you’d like to see information on November deliveries…
We look forward to providing nutritious meats and veggies for you all in the future and hope to give the information that can help you use it well.
A little throwback to our first summer on the farm in 2013.
** Joys in Life —————- As I write this, the smell of bacon cooking is filling the house. Mat has been experimenting with smoking the side pork from the half hogs we get each Spring and Fall. The smell of bacon is hard to beat, but I can think of so many other favorites and many of them around here now incorporate healthy fats like lard. Here are a few of my favorites: pie (with a lard crust), pork chops, cookies, biscuits, bread, and sausage. Another favorite of mine is learning about nutrition and taking steps to increase the quality for our family. I love being able to give my boys food I know that will increase their health and give them a boost when other factors, such as sickness or Halloween candy, comes our way. My most recent find is vitamin D in pastured pork! Pork fat and lard are one of the top ways to increase essential vitamin D intake during the long Minnesota winter. Keep reading…
** Why Pastured Pork? —————- Did you know that pastured hog lard is a good source of vitamin D? You won’t get it in the conventional stuff though. Not all pork is created equal. Pastured, sun soaked pork is among the top twenty foods rich in naturally occurring vitamin D. Lard is also a source of good cholesterol and good fats you need to nourish your body. Plus the fat is heat stable. When you cook or bake with it, it’s not only tasty (sorry it doesn’t taste like bacon – it’s more of a neutral nourishing texture thing) but it’s not going to create excess free radicals when heated reducing the risk of cell damage in your body. There are many sources to be found on the benefits of pastured pork.
Scientific journals are a bit hard to read sometimes, so here some more down-to-earth reading on pastured pork:
- For more specifics on our own pork, here’s our webpage link: * https://righteousoaksfarm.com/about/pastured-pork/
Benefits of pastured pork from Righteous Oaks Farm:
- Pastured hogs are happy hogs raised in fresh air and sunshine
- Our pastures are bumpier, but have shown better production because of them.
- No yucky run-off into our water.
- The right quality of fats and good cholesterol.
- No antibiotics or added growth hormones.
- Omega-3 ratio is better in pastured animals.
- More nutrient dense.
** Convinced now that pastured pork is the way to go? Give us a call today to talk it over. We’d love to provide some nourishing food for you and your family.
Now’s the time to start planning what seasonal goods you’ll need for the year. In MN that’s almost everything, including chicken.
In this picture we have some zucchini brownies and some spaghetti ready to be quickly made. We have grown to love okra in our tomato sauce. I freeze it whole (super easy) and then blend it into cold sauce when making a recipe. It adds a touch of flavor and makes a thicker, less watery sauce. Our okra has started to produce already and we hope to have plenty to bring to market this year.
You’ll also see our Italian sausage links. Having meat in the freezer and available has put my mind at ease and helped me to avoid shopping, a task I do not enjoy. I always have something available for a quick meal. That’s especially helpful in the busy or overwhelming seasons of the year which for us coincides with planting, weeding and preparing for markets throughout the summer.
We hope you will be able to stop by one of our markets to say hi. We plan to be at the Aitkin Historical Society’s Depot Museum (right next to the Holiday gas station) on Fridays throughout the summer. This Friday we will be there from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm. Hope to see you there.
Here’s one last reminder. This week is the week to order chicken and turkey for the year! Also, if you’re wanting pork, we have it available by the pound now or halves and whole in the fall. Give us a call this week and we’ll get you all set up for convenient meals all year long.
You can also still order beef and pork to be processed closer to November and December. Send us an email at email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you.
Printable order form: Click here!