We really live, or at least eat, like kings here in Oregon. Grant us our one indulgence in these hard times, please. Thick cuts of pork twice in one weekend, oh my! We had milk-braised pork loin at a special quince-themed dinner at Big River Friday. Hard work researching an article. Perhaps that succulent meat prodded us to spring for bone-in loin chops from the Sweet Briar Farms stand at the Saturday market. Their smokey slab bacon was also to die for with pickled quince in Big River’s silky pumpkin soup.
Sam Sifton’s maple-glazed pork chops and rosemary polenta recipe also inspired the purchase. The man loves his meat. When will we be treated to his regular restaurant reviews? Here he recreates a popular Brooklyn bistro staple that was surprisingly easy to make at home. I didn’t go all out with the polenta, just boiled up the scant grains I had with some butter and rosemary. Didn’t have green apples but I’m swimming in quince and grilled in the maple pork juices, it was a tangy substitute. The chops were sweet and steak-like, with enough meat to feed us again tonight. The carmelized pecans and crystallized ginger made for an unfussy yet elegant garnish. There’s just nothing like open-range, acorn or hazelnut-foraging pork. Amy, we cooked it well (and that study was funded by industrial pork lobbyists).
I’m looking forward to a Slow Food Corvallis event later this fall, where we’ll taste-test a heritage breed alongside your supermarket Smithfield variety. The later will be hard to eat. The tasting will be at Gathering Together Farm, but the November date has apparently been pushed back because the Hampshire or Berkshire isn’t ready for slaughter yet. I’d love one as a pet!