Side Pork Cabbage Soup

Minnesota winters require a good soup. They not only warm, but they nourish our bodies too. What is your favorite soup? Do you even like soup? Me? I love soup, but I have to convince my boys. They’re not so easily won. As long as it’s a good cream soup, they’ll devour it though. IMG_2710I tried this one on them the other night and they really enjoyed the smell of the sesame oil. I’ve found that many good side pork recipes have sesame oil in them.

My love for cabbage soup started with The Joy of Cooking after receiving the book as a wedding present. Basic cookbooks like that and Betty Crocker’s Cookbook are a great place to start when learning to cook and bake. You’ll learn the basics, what you like and don’t like, and then be able to expand from there. I like to learn as I do things, but maybe you like all the knowledge before you jump in. If so, I’d recommend finding a chef you really enjoy and watching his/her videos on youtube.com or from the library. You can gain some excellent knowledge this way.

With recipes, I often get ideas online and then just make up my own way to do it according to the skills I’ve learned along the way. Most recipes don’t have you sear the meats and veggies or grill them before adding to soup or slow cooker recipes, but I’ve found this to enhance the texture and flavors so much I almost always do it unless I forgot to take it out the night before and it’s still frozen.

The nice thing about side pork is that it’s typically a smaller portioned package and so it will thaw within the day. That and soups don’t take a whole lot of time if you have all the ingredients available in your pantry or freezer. I love modern technology and don’t know where I’d be without a fridge and freezer. Also, buying in bulk (especially meats like half a hog, frozen whole chickens or a quarter beef) ensures I don’t have to go to the grocery store more than once a month except for milk or fruits, saving me a lot of time, energy and money from impulse buys.

Now this soup may not be for everyone. I’ve found many just don’t crave the rich fat that accompanies side pork. Many of us crave carbs. This is not a high-carb soup, in fact this would be considered more of a keto or paleo soup in modern diet language. Perfect for low-carbohydrate diets, pastured side pork gives high quality fats that our bodies need to thrive. From previous blog posts you may remember it’s a great source of natural vitamin D.

I hope you like soup because here’s my first side pork installment. I hope to have many more in the coming months, so tell me your favorite things to do with side pork and your favorite soups too. I’m also looking for excellent ideas for beef! We also have 3 and 3/4 beef available still this fall, so share! What are your favorite beef and pork recipes?

Enough from me. Now go enjoy some soup on these cold winter nights!

Side Pork Cabbage Soup

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb. side pork a.k.a. pork belly
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon + Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon + garlic, chopped or 1/2 teaspoon + granulated
  • 5 cups or more chicken stock/broth
  • 1 small head of cabbage or 2-3 bok choy
  • 1-2 Tablespoon roasted sesame oil
  • optional excellent veggies: 1-2 leeks, chopped; 3-5 carrots, long sliced; 3-4 Tablespoons of tomato paste for a more minestrone-type taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large saucepan or cast iron skillet on medium heat. Pour 1 – 2 Tablespoons of olive oil or lard into heated pan and spread evenly. Place chopped onion and any other veggies (such as leeks and carrots) into pan to sauté for about 5-7 minutes until onions are “clear” rather than white all the way through. Place sautéd veggies into an unheated stockpot that you will finish the soup in.

In the saucepan, heat the pork belly until browned, about 7 minutes. Place pork belly into stockpot. Add five spice powder and garlic to stockpot.

Pour one – two cups of chicken stock into saucepan to get all the good veggie and pork juices into the liquid, about two minutes. Pour this liquid into the unheated stockpot with the remaining chicken stock and heat all to boiling.

Once boiling, turn heat to medium-low and add the cabbage. Cook until cabbage is soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat, let cool for five to ten minutes and then add sesame oil.

Enjoy!

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Delicious Pastured Pork

I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated having a freezer full of meat. It’s like having a convenience store right next door. It reduces stress about what to feed my family and it reduces the amount of trips I take to the grocery store. Time saving – yes!

Having a whole hog wrapped and ready has also increased the health factor in our meals. We have been able to choose how our meat is processed and what ingredients go into our food. It has also led to a few fun new recipes.

Yesterday we tried roasting a slab of side pork and boy was it delicious! side pork
Crispy, meaty, satisfying. Bacon, I’m never coming back. And now we have leftovers that I’m excited to try in an Asian stir fry tomorrow night. I’m not a big fan of cooking, but when I can produce results like this, it gets me excited!

The meat of pastured pigs is a different product than the conventional raised meat you would find in the grocery store. Here’s a little health information I found comparing wild boars (completely pasture raised) and conventionally raised animals (in a large barn with cement floors).

“Because pigs are monogastric animals (single stomach), they have the ability to convert vegetable and plant 18 carbon fatty acids (ALA) to the 20 and 22 carbon fatty acids (EPA and DHA) which reduce inflammation, reduce cardiovascular disease and promote good health for us all when we eat pork. Free ranging pork contains higher concentrations of these beneficial fatty acids than are found in their feed lot produced counterparts.”1

We continue to provide a non-GMO and soy free diet for our hogs as well as hay throughout the winter. They run and enjoy themselves by producing all sorts of havoc on our farm. Trust me, they’ve found lots of good forage as they’ve roamed past their boundaries this winter. Which leads me to make sure they don’t outgrow their welcome around here…

We still have a few half and whole hogs available for our spring butcher dates (March and April). $3 per pound hanging weight. Give us a call and we’ll tell you more: 218..927..1425.

You’ll definitely have to try this recipe with your next order!

Roasted Side Pork

  • Servings: 10-15
  • Difficulty: easy
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2-3 pound side pork
For Rub:
1 Tablespoon cracked peppercorns
1 Tablespoon salt (we use Real Salt brand)
1 Tablespoon granulated garlic
1 Tablespoon Chinese five spice powder, or spice of your choiceMix together rub ingredients. Rub generously and completely around the side pork slab. At this point, I recommend placing in the fridge for up to a day to let the seasoning do it’s work.
Once your slab has rested for a time (1 hour to 1 day), place the meat onto a “cooling rack” or other slotted roasting pan on top of a large baking sheet with the fattiest side up. Make sure there are raised sides on the baking sheet so the liquid fat does not drip into the oven. Roast at 325° F for 90 minutes or until the internal temperature is 145° F.  Cool slightly, slice and serve.

Cordain, Loren. http://thepaleodiet.com/bacon-anything-left-to-discuss/ June 16, 2014