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wild pig recipes

Spicy Garlic & Sage Scotch Eggs

Weekday breakfasts around here are tough. No one likes to eat first thing in the morning. My husband and I eat when we get to our offices, and often the kids don’t want breakfast at all. None of us work like sugary breakfasts. Now that we’re starting the paleo thing again, the semi-regular sausage biscuits are out. In the battle between cooking breakfast on a weekday morning and 15 more minutes of sleep, more sleep wins every time. So over the weekend I was brainstorming breakfasts that I could make ahead, store well in the fridge, portable, and paleo friendly. Then I remembered how quickly the kids devoured the last batch of scotch eggs my son made over the holiday break.

The most important part of scotch eggs is the sausage. Bad sausage=bad scotch eggs. Fortunately making your own breakfast sausage is quick and easy, and allows an infinite palate of flavors. This combination is deeply savory and a little spicy, a major improvement on grocery store breakfast sausage. Next time I’m going to try sneaking in some shredded zucchini or yellow squash to make them a little lighter. I love finding new ways to use the pork from our last pig share!

Spicy Garlic & Sage Scotch Eggs

3 lb ground pork, preferably local and free-range
2 tbl kosher salt
1 scant tbl chile flakes
1/2 tbl black pepper
10 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
3/4 oz package of fresh sage, stems removed and leaves minced
1/4 c white quinoa, uncooked (or oatmeal if you’re eating grains)
15 eggs, preferably free-range and a week+ old

Coarsely grind the quinoa in a spice grinder, mortar, or small food processor until “cracked” but not a powder. Place the meat in a large bowl and add all of the spices and the cracked quinoa. Knead with your hands until completely combined. If your ground pork is very sticky because of low fat content, you can dip your hands in a bowl of cold water to loosen the mixture a little. If the pork is very low in fat, add an egg. Place the fresh sausage back in the fridge to “marry” the flavors.

Hard boil your eggs by whichever method you prefer. I have a terrible time peeling hard boiled eggs, they never work right, no matter which method I use! Rinse the eggs and pat them dry once they’re peeled. It’s okay if they’re a little underdone since they’ll cook more in the oven.

Turn oven on to 350·. Carefully cover each egg with the pork sausage mixture. I don’t measure this part, I just eyeball it, and pinch some off the fat ones if I start running out towards the end. Place 15 cupcake papers on a rimmed baking sheet. Then carefully place each sausage-covered egg in a cupcake paper. Carefully slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Check them at 20 minutes by looking for cracking and firmness. When they’re done they’ll be firm like a done hamburger and starting to lightly brown on the top. Some of them will crack, but it doesn’t affect the way they taste!

Let cool completely before eating. I think they’re better if you put them in the fridge overnight before eating. Eat with HP sauce or dijon mustard. They make an excellent breakfast or lunch.

Rosemary-Mustard Crusted Pork Rib Roast

I’m picking up three wild hogs on Friday for the Gainesville Cow Pool, so this week is all about cleaning out the chest freezer to make room for the influx of fresh pork. About a month ago my husband cleaned out and inventoried the freezer to find out what was actually in there. He made a list and taped it to the top of the freezer so we wouldn’t have to go on a treasure hunting expedition every time we opened it and it’s worked wonderfully. One of the surprises he found buried at the bottom was a small standing rib roast of pork. I’ve never cooked a standing rib roast in my life, but I pulled it out to thaw on Sunday and decided last night to just jump in and give it a try.

It was a halfway success. The meat itself was delicious, perfectly cooked and moist. The strong herb-mustard paste really complemented the stronger flavor of the wild pork. The major benefit to cooking a whole rib roast is that the loin, which is in the middle, is protected from drying out by the surrounding ribs and outer layer of fat. The bed of parsley root and leeks, on the other hand, was burned and swimming in melted pig fat. I underestimated how much fat a rib roast from a wild hog would have on it. I’ve changed the recipe below to roasting the meat on a broiler pan or a roasting pan, so the extra fat can drip away from the meat. If you want to roast vegetables in the oven at the same time, I suggest doing it in a separate pan.

Rosemary-Mustard Crusted Pork Rib Roast

1 3-4 lb pork standing rib roast, or any other bone-in pork roast
3 heaping tbl Creole mustard, or any spicy brown mustard
2 heaping tbl horseradish
1 heaping tbl ground rosemary, freshly ground if possible, or 2 tbl minced fresh rosemary
3 fat cloves of garlic
1 heaping tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of pepper, freshly ground if possible

Start the prep the morning of the day you want to serve the roast. Rinse the roast under cold water and carefully dry with paper towels. Crush the garlic cloves with the salt in a mortar or in on a cutting board with the flat of a heavy knife. Mix the salt/garlic paste in a bowl with the mustard, horseradish, rosemary, and pepper. Carefully smear the paste over all of the surfaces of the roast. Set it on a plate in the fridge uncovered. This will allow the roast and the mustard herb crust to dry, which will help everything brown up nicely in the oven.

When you get home, take the roast out and carefully slide it onto a roasting pan with a rack or a broiler pan. Turn the oven on to 425•. Let the roast sit at room temperature while the oven comes to temperature, then put in the oven for 45 minutes. At 45 minutes, check the internal temperature by sticking a meat thermometer into the center of the roast between the rib bones. If the temperature does not read 165, put it back for another 10-15 minutes until it reads the correct temperature. Let rest out of the oven for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

To serve, hold the roast with a pair of sturdy tongs or a meat fork and slice between each rib to the backbone. Then carefully cut each chop away from the rib bone, cutting along the bone and then cutting the chop away from the spine. I served this with pureed cauliflower with plenty of butter and goat cheese. Delicious!