Saturday, January 21, 2012

Do Leeks Count as a Vegetable Serving?

 You may notice an uptick in pork-related cooking in the future. A few weeks back, Matt decided to do as the Texans do, and try hunting. He shot a feral hog, and apparently is now hooked. By hooked, I mean obsessed. It's super weird. I don't have a problem with the hunting itself, though it's not something he's ever expressed an interest in before. My conscience is more peaceful eating a hog that spent it's life wandering around, doing what hogs do, rather than cooped up shoulder-to-shoulder in a pen and being fed antibiotics. I read the book Eating Animals a few months ago, and it actually managed to change the way I look at meat, which I didn't expect. I've been buying as much as I can once a month when a grass-fed organic farm brings ice chests full of beef and chicken to the Farmers Market. What was I talking about? Oh yeah. Feral hogs.

The thing with the hogs is that, since they've spent their lives running instead of being fattened, the meat is tough. Really tough. And there's a lot of it. And Matt went hunting again today, even though we still have 3 hams and 3 loins in the freezer from last time. He promises not to go again until we eat what we have. Phew!

So I really need to find a way to cook this meat that makes it a little easier to swallow. Literally. It's dry. haha. Matt wants to get a meat grinder so we can make sausage. That may be the way to go.

I'm rambling about. Sorry. Anyway, today I cooked Nigella's Roast Loin of Pork (pg 286 of How to Eat). It's hard to actually call this a recipe, because she doesn't provide measurements. She suggests that you rub cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom into the meat before roasting it, and toss in a glass-full of cider or wine to help make a gravy, so that's what I did, eye-balling the spices. She said to cook it for 20 minutes a pound. This loin was a little less than a pound. Twenty minutes just seemed too short. I should have trusted her and checked it then, but I let it go for thirty, because that's how long my roasted leeks needed. I overcooked it. My bad. The seasoning was mighty delicious, though, and would have been great on a moist piece of meat. It smelled like chai when I rubbed it in, which was lovely.

Conclusion: Liked it. I don't hold the tough meat against the recipe.

Nigella recommends Roast Leeks (pg 286 of How to Eat) as an accompaniment to the pork. Oh my lord. These were delicious. I could have stuck my face in a whole bowlful. All you do is cut thick chunks of leek, toss them in oil, add salt, and roast. It doesn't get much easier than that. The outside of the leeks brown up and get that nice burned onion flavor, while the inside stays mushy and sweet. I'm going to be making these a lot. Nightly, perhaps. Matt's not home from the hunt yet (so, so weird), so if I eat his serving, he'll never even know they were here. Mwa ha haaa!

Conclusion: Loved it. LOVED it.

Hunting update: Matt and his friend shot a hog, but when they went to go get it, a herd of cattle tried to stampede them, chased them back to their car, then followed the car as they drove away. Huh?? I...I have no words. I couldn't make that up if I tried. On the upside, I still only have one tough hog to eat.

I took yummychunklet's suggestion and am linking this post up with the folks who participate in Forever Nigella. As far as I can tell from my forays into How to Eat, I love Nigella, so cooking something--anything!--from her book once a month is a challenge I'm more than happy to take on.


  1. this may help- I am pretty sure you need to marinate wild boar before cooking or it is too tough

  2. You should link this up for "Forever Nigella"! You could win a prize, another cookbook!

  3. Thanks for joining in with Forever Nigella! I must look this recipe up and try it out, I like pork with cider very much.

  4. Crockpots!!
    ANYTHING you put in those suckers comes out meltingly tender :-) ... and you can marinate the meat first, or add whatever spices you like. Perfect ! XO

  5. Interesting, I've used that roasting method with just about every other veggie but not leeks. Will have to give that a try. Also, Nigella actually has a ``cook along'' on her website which I was thinking about joining. This month's recipe is Penne Alla Vodka, which is one of my favorite pasta sauces anyway. We'll see if I get organized enough.

    Also, that hunting expedition sounds like a bit too much Texas style excitement for me. Happy to hear that Matt is ok.

  6. You may have to change your mind about stew if you want that meat to be tender! ; ) Those leeks sound awesome.