One of the things I love about pork is that it gives you a break from the usual beef, chicken, fish rotation. Of course, you have to get over the knee-jerk reaction that pork is fatty and clogs the arteries. Let’s put that to rest. Certainly, there is good pork and there is bad pork. I eat only the good pork. From good pork we get fat that is full of vitamin D, and is approximately 47% monounsaturated fat, just like the fat in olive oil.
Lard is also made up of 40% saturated fats and of that, 1/3 is beneficial stearic acid which is also found in chocolate.
Lard is perfect for high heat cooking because of the stability of the fats that make up lard. Let’s not forget that it has wonderful savory flavor as well.
Good pork comes from hogs raised humanely, on a sustainable farm and allowed to roam and root, get sunshine on their skin and live a natural life. Bad pork comes from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). These are inhumane operations that keep the animals in unspeakable conditions with only the bottom line in sight and are downright disgusting.
You want to eat pork raised from humanely raised farms. It has also been suggested that you want to marinate the pork overnight (or at least for a few hours) in apple cider vinegar for added digestibility and to kill pathogens. Frankly there is very little chance of pathogens in pork that has been raised humanely, but marinating fresh pork is a traditional way of preparing it. Cured pork (bacon) does not need to be marinated.
Adding root vegetables, including radish, compliments the savory softness of the meat with a mild spiciness that is truly satisfying. This meal sticks to your bones.
For further discussion about other issues with pork see my previous post and recipe here.
To find a local source of humanely raised pork find your local WAPF chapter and ask for recommendations.
Glazed Pork Chops with Root Vegetables
- 1 pound pork chops (bone-in or boneless) (where to buy pastured pork)
- 1 carrot
- 1/2 small celery root peeled and chopped into small cubes
- 1 large apple peeled and chopped into small cubes
- 1 small piece Daikon radish or other radish peeled and chopped into small cubes (optional)
- 1 small leek chopped into small pieces
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar mixed with 1 cup water for marinating (I like this one)
Ingredients for the glaze
- 1 Tbsp honey (where to buy)
- 2 Tbsp mustard
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (where to buy)
- Pepper to taste (where to buy spices)
- Large oven safe fry pan (where to buy)
- The morning of the day you want to cook the pork (or even the night before), lay them in a pan with sides and marinate them — mix the vinegar with more water in order to cover them
- When you are ready to cook them, rinse them with water and pat dry
- Combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl
- Rub both sides of the chops with the glaze
- Cut off some of the fat from the chops and melt in the fry pan over medium-high heat to brown (or use some lard or bacon fat that you have)
- Add the chopped vegetables and saute until softened (about 8 minutes) — keep the garlic and leek out until the last minute
- Remove the vegetables from the pan and put aside
- Add more fat from the chops if need be
- Sear each side of the chops until slightly browned – about 1 – 2 minutes depending on thickness
- Add back the vegetables to the pan and arrange them around the sides
- Transfer the pan to the preheated oven set at 350 degrees F, and roast the chops 6 – 8 minutes or until the center reaches 145 degrees F or more depending on how done you want it (do not overcook or they will be dry)
- Remove the chops from the oven and let them rest in the pan to finish cooking about 10 minutes.
- Dig in!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes