Monday, November 2, 2009

Back to the Basics

Belonging to a CSA doesn't always mean searching for new recipes in which to incorporate unfamiliar ingredients. Sometimes it's a simple as recreating old favorites with local, very fresh ingredients. Try it sometime; I guarantee you'll be pleasantly surprised by the end result! We recently made shepherd's pie with local corn, potatoes and ground pork from Holiday Brook Farm. It was outstanding (and I assure you, it didn't look like this for long).

More recently, I purchased a pork butt roast from Holiday Brook Farm. We've been grilling pork butt steaks throughout the summer and are quite addicted to the wonderful flavor of pastured pork (as well as the health benefits of all that omega 3 and conjugated linoleic acid). This little beauty spent some quality time in my crock pot before landing on a roll in the form of pulled pork. It was outstanding (and that's an understatement). This is the recipe I used, Adapted from Williams-Sonoma's "Food Made Fast: Slow Cooker".


3-4 pound pork butt roast (they call for a boneless pork shoulder)
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. each dry mustard, salt and pepper (I used white pepper)
1/2 tsp. paprika
Sandwich rolls, toasted

Heat the oil in a large skillet and brown pork roast evenly on all sides (about 10 minutes); then transfer to crock pot.

Pour off all but 1 T oil in the skillet (I skipped this part); add onion and cook until golden brown (about 5 minutes). Add vinegar; cook stirring to scrape up the browned bits, 2 minutes. Stir in ketchup, molasses, brown sugar and red pepper flakes, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, salt, pepper and paprika. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture starts to bubble, 1 minute. Pour over pork.

Cover crock pot and cook on high for 4-5 hours (may be cooked on low for 8-10). Transfer pork to cutting board and using forks (or your fingers) shred, discarding fat. Return pork to crock pot and stir to mix in sauce (I let it cook another 30-45 minutes). Serve on toasted buns!

I'm a little bit lost without our vegetable CSA. I've got a serious stash of winter squash, some brussel sprouts in the freezer, potatoes and onions in the pantry and carrots in the crisper, but I miss my fresh weekly greens and the camaraderie! Our farm has decided to offer a meat CSA throughout the winter. We have already enrolled and will be picking up our 10-pound share of pork on the first Saturday of each month, so we won't be losing touch with our farm and farmers completely throughout the winter months. I'll also continue to get farm fresh eggs and local yogurt from them.

I have some thoughts on what we'll do for produce in the coming months - I'll share that information with you in a separate post in the coming week as I'd love to hear what you are doing now that CSA and farmers' market season is coming to an end. Until then.....Bon Appetit!


  1. My family would LOVE this pork dish! Alas, I travel too much to buy a farm share, but one of these days I hope to change all that. I've passed Holiday Farm many times and always wondered about it. Thanks so much, Julie!

  2. Tinky, Holiday Brook Farm also sells their pastured pork and grass fed beef by the cut, so if you feel so inclined, you could pick up a pork butt roast. I know they'll be "open" from 10-4 on the first and third Saturday of the month as those are the meat CSA pick-up times. Once you try their pork, you'll never go back to the grocer for me!

  3. I'm ahead of you, Miss Julie! I already emailed them and arranged to buy a roast from them the week before Thanksgiving as I drive by there to visit family farther south. I'll let you know how our pulled pork comes out, I promise.....

  4. I knew shepherd's pie had corn!! My cookbook says no as does my husband but now I am vindicated. Thank you - looks delicious!

  5. Actually, Nicole, you can do it either way. To me traditional shepherd's pie usually has corn, but I have a great recipe for a Canadian SP with no corn. It has a ground pork and chicken base. Of course, if you have corn you should throw it in anything you like and forget about cookbooks (and dare I say husbands?)...........

  6. Yum, Julie, I'm totally making both of these. And your picture of shepherd's pie reminded me that it's almost time to make French-Canadian pork pie for Thanksgiving/Christmas time. I'm not getting to western Mass. anytime soon, but maybe when I go to Blood Farm (Groton, MA) for my holiday ham I'll try to get a local pork butt.

  7. Lisa, I'd love to have your recipe for French-Canadian pork pie - it's one of the ultimate comfort foods!

  8. Great minds think alike. When I read Lisa's comment I also thought that sounded like a recipe worth trying. Please, Lisa?

  9. That all looks yummy, and I don't even like pork very much! I love shephard's pie, though I usually make it with lamb. And no corn :) Lots of peas, though! Mmmmm!