Monday, August 3, 2009

Mangalitsa x4, part 1.

My father and I headed down to the farmer's market the other day, where we bought a couple of pounds of Mangalitsa pork jowls. (We also got some soup bones). The jowl is not from purebred Mangalitsa, but from an F1 mixed-breed (half Mangalitsa, half Berkshire, I think). It is not as fatty as the purebred pig, but has a lot of the flavor, and the deep-red meat. I leave the bones to soak in cold water while I contemplate the massive hunk of meat in front of me. Hmm. What should I do with it all?

For the first meal, I sliced some of the pork into thin slices about as long and a little wider than a finger. I marinated the pork with a little soy sauce and a splash of rice wine, then sliced some scallions into bias-cut strips. The pork and scallions were stir-fried together until browned and just cooked through, and were very well received at the dinner table. (That is, my father and I ate every last bite). The jowl meat had a good chew to it, and was full of flavor, the Mangalitsa holding its own against the salty-sweet scallion-infused soy sauce.

The second night I sliced off a good hunk of the pork and boiled it in ginger-infused water spiked with rice wine and served it, sliced, with garlicky soy sauce on the side for dipping. Again, the meat was chewy, but in a good way, and full of flavor, the way beef onglet is incredibly tasty, perhaps more so because you have to fight it a little with every bite. You had to use your teeth with the meat, striped and streaked with tasty fat, the flavor emphasized with the sweet sting of garlic, the nuanced saltiness of soy sauce. I began dreaming of borrowing someone's meat-slicer and using the Mangalitsa pork for Chinese hot pot when winter comes and it is cold outside, and nothing sounds better than a steaming hot pot. be continued.

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