I have to be honest – we are not a family of pork eaters. Gammon, bacon, ham, sausages – yes. But a joint of pork? Absolutely not.
This is all to do with the Daddy of the family whose memories of slimy (or dry) roasts from his youth have scarred him into adulthood. Bearing in mind that the kids still sometimes mess with their food, it’s easier to cook something that everybody will eat. Experimental recipes that no one eats can get expensive. So pork has been off the menu for some time.
However, when chatting with other Mums recently, it came to my attention that a mutual ‘Mum friend’ and her husband have started rearing their own pigs inNorth Dorset and are producing wonderful pork. The couple behind ‘The Uncommon Pig Co’ are Louise and Luke Trowbridge, dairy farmers by trade and also parents to four boys. They farm at Stour Provost, an easy stop on the school run, so I thought I’d drop in to see what it was all about.
“It’s a family business, and the welfare of the pigs is paramount”, Louise explained. “Everything is provided to keep the pigs as happy as possible. There’s lots of outdoor space and mud to roll in, and their food is top quality.” Even their ‘final journey’ is short and as stress-free as possible. I’m told that all this adds to the lovely flavour of the pork.
I left the farm with a shoulder of pork in one hand and a good deal of apprehension in the other. I’m a fairly confident cook but needed to consult the ancient but unfailingly reliable ‘Dairy Book of Home Cookery’. It’s older than the Ark but still going strong, and the recipes always work – just what was needed in this new territory. Apparently slow roasting is best for this joint. It also advised me to score the crackling and rub with melted butter and salt. Two and a half hours later we sat down to our midweek roast pork, served with braised sweet and sour red cabbage, roasted new potatoes with thyme, Yorkshire puddings and carrots. It smelt amazing and looked good too – perfect crackling – not bad for a first timer. The kids had never seen crackling and at first were unsure what to do with it!
The pork was delicious, but was Daddy converted? Well, yes and no. He enjoyed the flavour (utterly different to his childhood memories) but he did struggle with the fatty ring around the meat. The kids and I solved this problem by trimming the fat off. My fussy five year old daughter reported that “that is the nicest meat that wasn’t beef, ever” – some praise considering she mainly survives on beans. In lunch boxes the next day the pork went down very well cold with Granny’s spiced apple chutney.
Will I be buying another joint? Definitely. I’ll check out which cuts may be less fatty and then I’m sure it will be a new family favourite. The flavour is faultless and has a lot more depth than any supermarket meat I’ve tasted – give it a go.
The Uncommon Pig are offering 10% off all orders over £50 until the end of April. Please quote or mention Country Child when ordering. This offer is available for domestic customers only.