Late winter is a period of transition on the farm. I’m still holding onto the days with fewer chores outside and more time for inside projects. But the lengthening days are bringing more outside chores. We all feel the pull to enjoy the mild days outside but the early evenings still bring cool nights when warm dinners are welcomed. This recipe is perfect for one of those days. Taking about 15 minutes in the morning will pay off later in the day when the aroma of this crock-pot meal begins to fill the house.
My friend Carly from Mountain Run Farm recommended this recipe to me 10 or so years ago when Brent and I first started raising hogs. Before that I had never cooked a pork roast! I’ve added dried shiitake mushrooms from Wingstem Farm but if you don’t have them just use the onions for the base layer.
Rosemary Pork and Mushrooms
1 thawed pork shoulder roast, either a Boston Butt or a picnic roast, any size
a handful of dried mushrooms or about 8-10 fresh shiitakes
3 large springs fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
Rub the roast with salt and pepper. Place a cast iron skillet over medium high heat on the stovetop. Add a little lard, butter, or oil and sear the roast on all sides. Taking the time to sear the meat now really adds to the flavor of the cooked roast.
Roughly chop onion and fresh mushrooms and put in the bottom of the crockpot. If using dried mushrooms, throw those in without reconstituting in liquid. This roast will produce lots of liquid while it slow cooks.
Lay the seared roast on top of the onions and mushrooms in the crockpot. Put the rosemary leaves on top of the roast.
Turn the crock pot on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
Shred the roast after it has cooled a bit. Strain the onions and mushrooms from the cooking liquid and serve alongside the roast. Use the cooking liquid to make a gravy if you’d like.
Honey Popcorn Balls
This is a recipe that my daughter and I whipped up quickly with only three ingredients.
We were looking for a sweet treat to share with some friends with dietary restrictions. These were fun to make a delicious to enjoy while fresh. And they used honey from VABF member farm Mountain Run Farm!
5 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
One cup popcorn kernels
½ cup honey
Heat a popcorn pan over medium high heat and add 3 TBSP of the coconut oil. Add a few kernels and when those pop add the cup of kernels. Pop the popcorn and remove from heat. Melt the honey and 2TBSP coconut oil in a small saucepan. Drizzle over the popped popcorn and mix well. Put a little coconut oil on your hands and form the popcorn into balls. Eat right away or store in an airtight container for 2 or so days. Best when eaten fresh.
By: Anna Wills