I met this particular pig last summer when The Mistah and I went to pay a visit to the family farm. And by family farm I mean the roadside produce stand that sits on the edge of the parcel of land that used to be a huge farm owned by his father’s side of the family. Now there is an interstate bisecting the property and I could only see a few small plots where things were actually being grown. Clearly, development in the area has restructured the landscape and taken its toll on the place.
As we poked around the property, we came upon the big red barn that has stood for ages. It’s a little wobbly now and piled high with lord only know what but The Mistah says that the barn used to be used to dry tobacco leaves. Ah, the legacy of agriculture and cash crops.
Around the back of the barn is where we found this guy. I’m assuming it’s a he but I would have no way to know for sure. The closer we got to the pen, the louder the pigs inside squealed and the more animated they became. One minute this one was down in the mud and the next he was up on his back legs, looking me pretty much dead in the eye over the top of the wooden fence. I will just say this is the closest I have ever been to the living, breathing incarnation of what ends up on my plate.
That pig I met was destined to become someone’s dinner at some point according to The Mistah. Each year the folks on “the farm” slaughter a pig or two and have a roast. By now, he could already be gone. I suppose if I were a kinder, gentler individual this could have been a life changing encounter.
Please don’t be disappointed when I say that this meeting didn’t spark any epiphany or make me less inclined to eat animals. Although it did take me a few weeks before I put pork on the menu.
Pork with Mushrooms
Adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen
- 2 pounds pork loin, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 can diced tomatoes in juice
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/3 cup sour cream
Place pork in a bowl. Add paprika, salt, and pepper to the pork and stir until completely coated.
Heat half of the olive oil in a dutch over over medium high heat. Working in batches if necessary, brown the pork cubes on all sides. Transfer the pork to a plate.
Add the remaining oil to the pot and cook the onion until it begins to soften, approximately 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and dried thyme and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid and start to brown.
Add the diced tomatoes and chicken broth to the pot, bring to a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes for the sauce to reduce a bit. Return the pork to the pot, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes until the pork is thoroughly cooked.
Stir a few tablespoons into the sour cream so that it warms and becomes loose. Add the sour cream mixture to the pot and stir to combine before serving.