How To Eat Slowly: Time to be a Piggy
Autumn tip-toes its arrival, the leaves turn a little, the nights draw in, and then suddenly, without warning the temperature sharpens and the air just smells of Fall: bonfire and leaf mould.
Traditionally now would have been the time for slaughtering the house pig, fattened on the summer bounty, and finished on apples and the first nuts, the cooler weather also allowed for outside slaughter. Few of us now have our own pigs, and pork is a meat which often passed over, not just for religious or cultural reasons but oddly because it can be dry.
No other meat has fared so poorly at the hands of mass supermarket selling, bred lean, and served in plastic packs in a pool of blood, this meat is hard for even a decent cook to dazzle. But buying a traditional breed, with a good layer of fat, and the skin scored, this meat can be cooked long and slow, the fat melting out, and the skin crunchy in shards.
Good pork, merely needs dry skin to crisp – no cutting off the rind to crackle at a higher temperature. A piece of belly needs uncovering in the morning, to be rubbed with a handful of salt. After an hour or two the moisture in the skin will be drawn out making the salt wet: wipe this off and repeat.
The meat then just needs placing over a slice onion and apple or two, and a two kilo piece (Enough for six with left-overs for sandwiches) will take two hours at 200C, for melting tender meat, and the crunchiest crackling you have ever tasted: Pork even for non pork eaters. Delicious.
Shane is the Chair of Slow Food London. An urban food gardener, passable cook and sometimes campaigner. He is a school governor in two schools and spends considerable time working with young people and their diets. You can follow him on Twitter @ShaneHollandUK. Read more posts by Shane Holland.
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