PRODUCT WATCH: Heritage Red Wattle Pork
|Last night we had dinner at The Tasting Room in New York City, a highly-acclaimed (and justly so) restaurant in SoHo. It’s a charming, friendly place where you can eat fine cuisine in a casual ambiance (exposed brick walls, flattering lighting), served by an eager and knowledgeable staff. Chef Colin Alevras and his team focus on innovative American cuisine created with the freshest local ingredients, and paired with American wines. Everything we had was delicious, but the eye-opener was a dish of Heirloom Red Wattle Pork. Tender like filet mignon, reddish-pink like rare beef or lamb (Red Wattle meat tends to be a little darker than most other pork) and very juicy. Although though the meat is lean, it was the most flavorful pork we have ever tasted, and we can’t wait to have it again It was roasted and served simply, with a jus and a mélange of grilled collard greens, carrots and braised Korean radishes.Here is information about the breed, from SlowFoodUSA.com:||
Red Wattle hog and sow. Photo courtesy of SlowFoodUSA.org.
|The Red Wattle hog is a large, reddish hog with a fleshy, decorative, wattle attached to each side of its neck that has no known function. The origin and history of the breed is considered scientifically obscure, though many different ancestral stories are known. One theory is that the French colonists brought the Red Wattle hogs to New Orleans from New Caledonia Island, off the coast of Australia, in the late 1700s; from there they went to Texas. As they are hardy and adapt well to the land, the Red Wattle quickly became a popular breed in the U.S. Unfortunately, as settlers moved west, the breed began to fall out of favor because the settlers came into contact with breeds that boasted a higher fat content, which was needed for lard and soap. Red Wattles were left to roam the hills of eastern Texas, where they were hunted to near extinction, until a Mr. H.C. Wengler came across a herd in the dense forest and began breeding them into what they are today. Five years later, in a similar encounter, Robert Prentice found another herd of Red Wattle hogs in eastern Texas, which became known as the Timberline herd, after its wooded origins. Of all the heritage breeds, the Red Wattle is at most risk; there are only four families breeding them. So, buy this wonderful meat at HeritageFoodsUSA.com. You can learn more about the Red Wattle and the other heritage pigs, the Duroc, Tamworth, and Six-Spotted Berkshire.|