I apologise in advance to all my kosher friends out there, and those of you who do not eat pork.
For me, however, pork would have to be one of my favourite meats. When faced with a slow cooked pork shoulder with crispy cracking……I instantly ascend into heaven. But a while ago I read in one of the Weston A Price quarterly journals something new about pork that I didn’t know that I would like to share with you.
The results of a pilot study show unequivocally that consuming unmarinated cooked fresh pork has a significant coagulation and clotting effect on the blood.
Apparently traditional preparation of pork involved either (a) salt curing following by smoking to preserve it (to make bacon, ham, prosciutto) or (b) marinating fresh pork in an acidic medium, usually vinegar, prior to cooking.
Yet like most people I simply cook (or used to cook) fresh pork without necessarily marinating it in an acidic medium.
In the pilot study an investigation was done via live blood analysis on 3 adult volunteers who normally eat a traditional wholefoods diet. They came into a lab once a week to consume pork prepared in various ways and to have their blood examined before and after eating it. Microphotos of their blood showed unexpected results:
- 5 hours after consuming unmarinated cooked fresh pastured pork chops the subjects showed extremely coagulated blood. Prior to consumption, their blood looked very healthy. 2 of the 3 subjects felt considerable fatigue after eating the pork chop (suggesting reduced peripheral blood circulation due to red blood cell stickiness and aggregation).
- after consuming a pork chop that had been marinating completely submerged in apple cider vinegar for 24 hours the subjects showed essentially no change in their blood.
- After consuming pastured bacon and prosciutto the subjects showed essentially no change in their blood.
- As an additional control, after consuming unmarinated cooked fresh pastured lamb chops the subjects showed no change in their blood.
So the bottom line is if you are going to eat pork make sure that:
(a) it is preserved as per bacon, ham or prosciutto (preferably nitrate-free as nitrates are carcinogens); or
(b) you marinate fresh pork in an acidic medium such as apple cider vinegar for 24 hours prior to cooking to prevent blood coagulation, clotting and fatigue. Pork may be unique in this regard as other meats such as unmarinated lamb does not have blood coagulating and clotting effects.
What is it about unmarinated cooked pork that produces biochemical inflammation and early blood clotting? In searching the modern scientific and medical literature for clues nothing was uncovered that might explain the results of this study. The authors of the study speculate that raw pork contains a toxin unidentified to date and that heat alone from cooking cannot destroy it, but that salt curing/fermentation or marinating in acid plus cooking, do so. What is most notable is that the results of the study demonstrate the wisdom of traditional food preparation. The preparing of pork in customary ways by salts and acid marinades makes pork safe for consumption not only by killing parasites and bacteria but preventing inflammatory and blood clotting effects as observed through the live blood analysis of this pilot study.
To read the full article in the Weston A Price journal (‘Wise Traditions’ Fall 2011, Vol 12, No 3, p 24) click here.
Below I set out my simple slow cooked pork shoulder casserole recipe now modified to include apple cider vinegar in the marinade mixture. Marinating also tenderizes the meat, improves its texture and imbues it with more flavour.
Recently I bought from Feather & Bone on line a whole salami for only $35/kg and whole leg of ham at $26.50 (plus $9 delivery fee). These were served with a raw cheese platter at my son’s birthday party recently and the platter was demolished by young and old alike. Excess ham was sliced and frozen in between baking paper for school/work lunches.
Happy pork eating!!!
Slow cooked pork with crispy crackling
1 pork shoulder (approx 1.75 kg) or pork belly or rolled pork belly
2 cups beef or chicken stock
¾ cup white wine
1 cup raw apple cider vinegar
12 cloves, ground
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Place pork in Le Creuset or other casserole dish. Add stock, wine, apple cider vinegar, cloves, a sprinkling of cinnamon powder and maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper. The pork should be almost submerged. Marinate in fridge for 24 hours.
Slow cook covered at 80 degrees for 12- 24 hours. Keep shoulder covered in Le Creuset out of oven until crackling is ready.
To make the crackling, remove fat from the top of the shoulder (it should slide off easily in one piece after slow cooking) and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Add liberal amounts of further salt to the fat. Turn oven temperature up to very high heat (eg 200 degrees) and cook fat on both sides until crispy. This should take approx 15 minutes.
Cut crackling in pieces and place on top of shoulder which should be so tender than it falls off the shoulder bone.
The stock in the bottom of casserole dish can be drizzled over the meat and/or consumed separately as a broth.
Serve with a fresh salad of sliced apple, rocket, activated hazelnuts and shaved parmesan or goats curd. If desired you can make a traditional apple sauce by steaming 4 chopped cored apples (I leave the skin on) until very soft then mixing with a hand held blender with generous amounts of butter and/or cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon powder. The sauce can be thinned with whole milk if it is too thick. Any left over apple sauce can be refrigerated and is delicious served as a side dish for breakfast with yogurt or as a dessert in its own right.
Any left over pork can be sliced and thrown into a salad the following day. Simply add sliced apples, lettuce greens, snow peas, avocado, parsley, cucumber, strips of carrots and capsicum, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with sea salt and pepper….. and enjoy (preferably with friends)!