What to do with pork bones?
- Lina Aug 9, 2008 12:30 PM
I somehow just came home from the store with a bag of a few pounds of pork bones. There's some meat on them, but not a ton. I have no idea what to do with them. Any recipe suggestions?
What kind of bones did you get, neckbones? Those are a good start for gumbo, if you're in the mood for that. First neckbones I ever had were done with sauerkraut, like spareribs, and they were very messy to eat (fingers are the only way!) but insanely delicious. Of course this isn't exactly pork & kraut weather anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere just now...
Here's an idea: give them a good browning in the oven (or not, depending on your taste), add some onion and soup-veges of choice and then make a long-and-gently-simmered broth. After an hour or so remove the bones, let them cool enough to handle with rubber gloves, and remove all the meat you can. Return the bones to the pot and continue the process for another hour. Strain the broth and de-fat it, put it back in a clean pot. Chop the reserved meat, stir in chopped parsley, maybe chopped scallion (with some green), fresh herbs of choice, perhaps some chunks of hard-cooked egg. Put these into a glass dish or mold. Bring the broth to a boil, simmer to reduce by perhaps a third, then pour over meat mixture to cover (the rest can be frozen for soups etc.). Refrigerate, serve on greens either sliced or spooned. You can probably think of a few dozen variations on this...
I've use neck bones in beans. The flavor, and gelatinous factor can't be beat. Do be careful to remove them before you serve your pot of beans, they don't bother me much, but someone else might not be expecting it.So I'm pretty diligent in making sure to get them out. By wrapping them in cheese cloth (done that) its' probably just me, but I think it doesn't taste the same. My favorite is to make a big pot of small black beans with serranos and lots of cumin, garlic, onion and other spices.then I add several neck bones.Love to let it cook all day in the crock pot, and wow,you just can't beat it.
It's inexpensive, plentiful, filling and healthy. Serve it with fresh baked homemade cornbread with honey butter and fresh small diced vegetable and herbs toppings.
A lot of good food, and what you don't eat you can freeze to eat another day.
Pork bones (Neck or Back are best but leg bones work also) are great in Korean style pork stews. Radish greens, or carrot greens, or Napa cabbage leaves (or any similar greens - about 4 ounces/pound of bones), and young boiling potatoes (3 or 4 2" diameter taters/pound of bones), pure medium or coarse ground red chili powder (not the tex mex chili seasoning mix- from 1 tsp to 1-1/2 TBsp/pound of bones), black pepper, fresh garlic (4 whole or halved cloves/pound of bones), a touch of soy sauce or salt, tofu (1/2 14 or 16 ounce package/pound of bones).
Rinse the bones well in cold water, soak for about an hour in lukewarm water, and rinse again. Cover the bones to about 4" over with water and bring to a rapid boil, immediately reduce heat to medium low and simmer about one hour, skimming foam/grease as needed. Add chili powder, soy sauce/salt, and potato and simmer for another 45 minutes to an hour (until potato is just beginning to soften, but still firm). Add garlic, and greens (if using thick Napa cabbage add cabbage 5 minutes sooner) and simmer another 10 to 15 minutes. Add tofu and simmer 10 more minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with steamed rice.
Throughout the cooking add water as needed to maintain soup level at about 2 inches below original level.
CAVEAT: The following assumes your pork bones were smoked; if not, ignore this dish until you smoke or roast them yourself.
I put two pounds of necks in five or six cups of water, brought to a boil then covered and brought down to a simmer (in my Straub cast iron post which retains heat so well, this was LOW on my electric range) for some time (I forget exactly how long, three hours maybe?). I ended up with four cups or so.
When done, pull the bones out and pick off the meat and reserve.
Welcome to glorious pork stock. If you can (or must) wait, freeze it. If your me, however, you can't wait, so transfer the stock to something else (temporarily), wipe down the pot, put in equal amounts of butter and olive oil (I use 1 tbsp. each, but you could use 2 tbsp each I suppose), over medium low, saute one large chopped onion until translucent, not browned. Throw in one diced carrot, one diced celery stalk and one California or two Turkish bay leaves, a few sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/2-3/4 tsp of dried thyme and 1/4-1/2 tsp of fresh cracked pepper; continue for a few minutes (no more than five).
Add your newly made pork stock, bring to a boil; add 1/2 tsp of salt (remember, you had no salt in your stock, so this is the first time your dish is seeing it).
Add lentils of your choice (I prefer French, but basic lentils would work here, too; I haven't tried with red or yellow, but I probably wouldn't either ... just a hunch), return to a boil, cover, reduce to simmer. Cook for 45 minutes.
About the meat off the necks. First, mince or chop it to desired consistency (me, I did a little of both). By this point it has given up most of its flavor to the stock, so when you add it to your lentil dish, it will be more about texture and residual flavor. If your butcher rocks, like mine does, you will have a good amount of meat and you may only want or need to use half the meat. In that case, reserve the meat and then the next time you make the lentils, use a decent quality chicken stock or broth (I swear by Trader Joe's).
Oh, so when do you add it? Well, I would say you could add it when you add the lentils, but I waited until 30 minutes in to the process simply because I didn't want to abuse the meat any more than I already had. Probably unnecessary, but that's me.
Finish it off with a tablespoon of red wine vinegar about five minutes before serving to brighten it up.
Hearty and inexpensive, this is a staple for me fall thru spring, though I make lentils in the summer too.