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  • Whole Baked Country Ham

    This recipe and information provided by:
    Bob Perry
    Food Systems Initiative Coordinator
    University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

    Traditional country ham has been put on Slow Food’s Ark of Taste for good reasons. It is an artisinal process best done with hams from pastured heirloom breeds of hogs. Don’t buy one from one of the big companies; look for small producers who hang their hams at least one full year. It takes more time than effort to cook a whole ham but the payoff in flavor can’t be beat.

    First scrub the ham with a stiff brush and warm water removing any excess salt and mold (mold is a good thing on a country ham). You can remove the hock if you desire, I usually don’t. Soak completely covered in cold water for 24 hours under refrigeration or in a big cooler with ice, changing the water three times, or every eight hours.

    Place the ham in a large pot hock end up, cover with water and bring to a hard rolling boil. Boil for twenty minutes then simmer for 20 minutes per pound, or about four hours to an internal temperature of 160. Allow to cool enough to safely remove from pot then carefully remove skin leaving one half inch of fat on the ham.

    Score the fat with a sharp knife into diamonds without cutting into the meat. Rub with a mixture of 1 cup brown sugar, ½ cup good KY bourbon, ½ cup sorghum (also on the Ark of Taste) and place in a 350 degree oven until mixture caramelizes (the ham is already fully cooked). Serve warm or at room temperature from a large platter, slicing thinly from the large end. Use leftovers in any recipe that calls for ham, especially on biscuits or with eggs for breakfast.

    To boil or bake a whole ham or sections, simmer a completely immersed ham in water or a mixture of water and fruit juice (apple, orange, or peach) for about 25 minutes per pound, or bake in the oven at 250 degrees in a roasting pan, without boiling, in water or a mixture of water, brown sugar and vinegar for 25 minutes per pound of ham to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Your ham is done when you can stick a knife into it with a little resistance and the meat begins to separate from the bone. Remove the skin and excess fat, return the ham to a roasting pan and add cloves and a rub of brown sugar, vinegar, and dried mustard and broil until sugar is melted. When browned as desired, add pineapples or baked apple slices, and serve at room temperature or warmer.

  • Tomatillo-Braised Pork Loin (Lomo de Puerco en Salsa Verde)

    Recipe Courtesy Rick Bayless Mexico One Plate at a Time


    • 1 ½ tablespoons rich-tasting pork lard or olive or vegetable oil
    • 1 2-pound boneless pork loin roast, untied if in two pieces
    • 1 pound (10 to 12 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
    • Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 3 serranos or 1 jalapeño), stemmed
    • 1 medium white onion, sliced
    • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
    • 1 or 2 large sprigs fresh epazote, plus extra for garnish OR 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus a few sprigs for garnish
    • Salt
    • 10 small (about 1 ¼ pounds total) red-skin boiling potatoes, scrubbed and quartered


    Browning the pork. In a medium-size (4- or 5-quart) Dutch oven or other heavy pan with tight-fitting lid, heat the lard or oil over medium. When quite hot, lay in the pork loin (if there is more than one piece, don’t crowd them or they’ll stew rather than brown). Brown well on one side, about 5 minutes, turn it over and brown the other side.

    Remove the pot from the heat and transfer the pork to a plate; set aside the Dutch oven or pan to use for the sauce making.
    The sauce. Roast the tomatillos and chiles on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until darkly roasted, even blackened in spots, about 5 minutes. Flip them over and roast the other side—4 or 5 minutes more will give you splotchy-black and blistered tomatillos and chiles that are soft and cooked through. Cool and transfer everything to a food processor or blender, being careful to scrape up all the delicious juice that has run out onto the baking sheet. Process until smoothly pureed.

    Set the pork-browning pan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until golden, about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook a minute longer.

    Raise the heat to medium-high, and, when really sizzling, add the tomatillo puree all at once. Stir until noticeably darker and very thick, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1 ½ cups of water and the epazote or cilantro. Taste and season with salt, usually 1 teaspoon. Stir everything thoroughly.

    Braising the pork. Heat the oven to 325º. Nestle the browned pork into the warm sauce, cover the pot, and set in the oven. Cook 30 minutes.

    While the meat is cooking, simmer the potatoes in heavily salted water to cover until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

    When the pork has cooked 30 minutes, nestle the cooked potatoes into the sauce around the meat, re-cover and cook about 10 minutes longer, until the pork registers about 145º on a meat or instant-read thermometer. The meat will feel rather firm (not hard) to the touch, and cutting into the center will reveal only the slightest hint of pink.

    Serving the dish. With a pair of tongs and a spatula, transfer the pork to a cutting board. Let it rest there for 3 or 4 minutes while you finish the sauce: Spoon off any fat on the top of the sauce, taste the sauce and season it with additional salt if you think necessary. Spoon the sauce and potatoes onto a warm, deep serving platter.

    Cut the pork into ¼-inch slices and arrange them over the sauce. Decorate the platter with epazote or cilantro sprigs and you’re ready for a great meal.

    Working Ahead: The pork can be browned and the sauce made a day ahead; refrigerate the two parts separately, well covered, until a couple of hours before you’re ready to cook it. The pork will have the best texture if braised just before serving, though it will hold fine in a low oven (uncover the pan) for about a half hour if you slightly undercook the pork—it’ll finish cooking as it sits.

    Serving: 6

  • Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Tomato Sauce

    Carrie Balkcom, CO, AGA Executive Director and Certified Chef


    • 2 pork loins (about 4 lbs.), trimmed (they come packaged together)
    • 1 4-oz. log fresh goat cheese
    • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
    • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
    • 2 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 1/2 tsp. each salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • Fresh Tomato Sauce
    • rosemary sprigs for garnish


    Prepare Fresh Tomato Sauce (recipe follows). While Tomato Sauce is cooking, prepare pork loins.

    Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cut each pork loin in half lengthwise, to, but not through one edge. Open the tenderloin like a book and spread half of the goat cheese along the inside of each loin. Season with salt and pepper.

    With a mortar and pestle, make a coarse paste of the minced rosemary, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Spread over all sides of both pork loins. Tie loins with unwaxed string and allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

    Heat large oven-proof sauté pan over moderately-high heat. Add olive oil and heat. Sear pork loins on all sides and transfer pan to preheated oven. Roast 15 minutes for medium doneness. Remove from oven and cover pan with foil. Allow meat to rest 5 minutes before slicing.

    Slice loins about 1/2-inch thick and serve with Fresh Tomato Sauce strewn across the slices. Garnish with a few rosemary sprigs.

    Fresh Tomato Sauce

    • 1 3/4-lbs Roma tomatoes (see note below)
    • 1 teaspoon olive oil
    • 1/2 cup onion, diced
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1/2 cup tomato paste
    • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (or more as needed)
    • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


    Peel, seed and chop tomatoes.

    In large sauté pan that can be fitted with a lid, heat oil. Adjust temperature to medium heat, and add onions and garlic. Cover and sweat until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add tomatoes and tomato paste; pincé. Add 1 cup of stock, stir, and cover pan. Simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce is thick, about 45 minutes. (If sauce appears too thick during cooking time, add a little more stock to obtain desired consistency.) Add basil and season with salt and pepper.

    Note: If tomatoes are out of season, which would be any time of the year except late summer and early fall, you can improve the flavor by roasting them if desired. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise, seed them, and place them cut-side up on a baking sheet. Roast in a 325º oven for about 30 minutes. Remove skins and continue with the recipe.

    Servings: 6 to 8

  • Pastured-Pork Cowboy Quiche

    Sloans Creek Farm, TX


    • 1-partially baked deep-dish 9” pie shell
    • 1 1/4 tablespoons of spelt flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon of sage
    • 2 tablespoons of organic shredded Parmesan Cheese (grassfed preferred)
    • 1 1/4 tablespoons of parsley
    • 1 tablespoon of chives
    • 1 small red onion, chopped or 2 tablespoons of dried onion flakes
    • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
    • 3/4 cup of organic milk
    • 6 large brown pastured-eggs, beaten
    • 1 lb of pastured-pork sausage, thawed
    • 1 cup of organic Cheddar Cheese, grated (grassfed preferred)
    • 1 cup of organic Monterrey Jack cheese, grated (grassfed preferred)
    • Note: When available use locally produced or homegrown organic ingredients. Support your local, sustainable agricultural producers.


    Crumble and brown sausage, onions, and bell pepper in a skillet, while the pie shell is par-baking (About 10 minutes) in the oven.

    While number 1 is taking place, stir together all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl with a large spoon.

    Add milk to mixture above and mix. Then add the eggs and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

    Once pie shell has par-baked for about 10 minutes, remove from oven. When sausage mixture is browned drain the grease, and then line the bottom of the pie shell with browned sausage mixture. Next cover the sausage mixture with cheeses. Finally, stir and very carefully pour the milk-egg mixture over the sausage mixture and cheese.

    Bake in 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes. Ovens vary, so check quiche at about 30 minutes. Quiche should be golden brown on top and puffy.

    Let quiche stand and cool for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Or, cool completely, wrap and refrigerate for up to 10 days. This quiche re-heats very well in the microwave.

    When done, serve with toast or biscuits, jelly, and/or hashbrowns.

    Servings: 6-8

  • Lime Bean – Pastured Ham Casserole

    Carrie Balkcom, Certified Executive Chef and AGA Executive Director


    • 1 1/2 c. baked pastured ham, cubed
    • 1 sm. onion, chopped
    • 1 sm. pkg. noodles, cooked
    • 1 pkg. lima beans, cooked
    • 1 can cream of chicken soup
    • 1 1/2 c. whole milk (or slightly more)


    Brown ham and onion in 2 tablespoons butter. Mix all ingredients together and pour into greased casserole dish. Top with 1 cup sharp grassfed Cheddar cheese.

    Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes

  • Egg Noodles Indonesian with Pastured Pork Chops

    Sloans Creek Farm, Dodd City, TX


    • 4 Pastured Pork Chops, thawed
    • 1 pkg of organic egg noodles
    • 6 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter
    • 2 tablespoons of hot water
    • 2 tablespoons of peanut or olive oil
    • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons of vinegar
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
    • 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
    • All-purpose seasoning of your choice
    • 2 cups of fresh or frozen broccoli florets
    • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped coarsely
    • 1 red bell pepper, quartered then cut into 1/8” slivers

    Note: When available use locally produced or homegrown organic ingredients. Support your local, sustainable agricultural producers.


    Remove bones from pork chops and cube the meat.

    After seasoning to taste with an all-purpose seasoning of your choice, place the pastured pork chop cubes in a skillet with some olive oil and pan fry until medium-well done throughout. Set aside and keep warm.

    While cooking the cubed chops the next steps below can be initiated.

    Combine peanut butter and water then blend thoroughly. Add the peanut oil, soy sauce, and vinegar and stir until well blended.

    Next, mix garlic, ginger, and cayenne into mixture.

    Cook the egg noodles according to the package directions.


    Steam broccoli, onions, and pepper until cooked, but firm, for approximately 5-6 minutes.

    Drain steamed vegetables and toss together with egg noodles, pastured pork cubes, and peanut sauce.

    Serve warm.

    Serves: 4

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