Pork Ossobuco (Italian for "bone with a hole") is one of the heartiest and most satisfying dishes to eat. Traditionally cross cut shanks of veal are used, but since we're hog farmers, forest-raised Berkshire pork will do just fine! Take one look at the shanks, and you'll see how the cut gets its name. The bone and the marrow within add so much flavor and richness to this dish.
The recipe is simple and straightforward just like its rustic Italian roots would call for. The only thing you'll need to do is a little planning ahead since it does take some time to finish. That slow braising is what makes this dish so good. The prep work is pretty simple, the meat is trimmed of its skin (optional), seared then removed from the pot, throw in your aromatics (onions, celery, carrots, garlic, herbs) to brown, add your braising liquids and the meat back in, cover and put into a low oven until the meat is fall-apart tender. The luscious sauce can be poured over polenta or grits or pasta - whatever you like.
You might be thinking, "This is a recipe for what? Neck bones? Didn't my grandmother used to make these??" You read that correctly. Neck bones! And your grandmother probably DID make and eat these because she knew what was up when it came to using an inexpensive cut that packs a real punch in the flavor department.
In addition to the usual hits like pork chops, hams, and sausages, we love to use the often under-rated and inexpensive cuts we get back from our butcher like pork shanks (see our recipe for Osso buco) and neck bones! These cuts are full of flavor and when slow cooked, they are falling-off-the-bone tender. Neck bones are great to throw in beans or greens to add flavor. If you like chicken or oxtails and rice, you'll love neck bones and rice. Believe me, if you make this recipe and close your eyes, you'd never know you aren't eating barbecue baby back ribs!
I am often asked how to cook one of our whole chickens. I had to learn this too when we first began cooking with pastured meats.
Through trial and error we've found what works best for cooking our pastured birds, so without further ado
here's how we like to cook ours.
We cook ours to 150°-155° because, like a fine steak or filet, you do not want to overcook this.
If you are cooking a store bought chicken, then yes cook it 165 and higher- chickens raised in factories and processed in huge facilities do contain lots of bacteria (and up to 10% chlorine water in the meat!)