Monday, March 19, 2007

Hog Jowls

Jowls are the meat and fat from the cheek area. Jasper will illustrate, here:

They are very fatty, and not very meaty. They are usually salt-cured, and sometimes smoked. Jowls make a good seasoning in other dishes. I like them with strong greens like collards, mustard, or turnip. Here's my recipe for hog jowls and greens. Make sure you have plenty of time, because it takes lots of time to get the jowls ready.

1 cured hog jowl, about 12 oz.
2 bunches of leafy greens like collards
1 medium onion
dash of hot sauce (optional)

Here's how the jowls look to start with:


Soak the jowl in about four quarts of water for three or four hours. (The jowls have to be soaked to cut back the salt content--otherwise, they leave the dish waaaaay too salty).

Roast the jowls at about 350 for a couple of hours in a deep pan. The cooked jowls look like this:

And the fat that cooks out in the oven looks like this:

That's why I roast the jowls--it renders out all that fat. Of course, I cook other stuff with the fat, but at least I don't load it all into the greens.

Dice the onion and the jowls. Saute them together in a big pot.

While the onion and jowls cook, stem the greens and chop them coarsely. Rinse the greens in a colander, but don't let them drain too much. The retained water will be enough to steam the greens and make a little bit of juice in the pot.

When the onions are soft, put the greens in the pot and cover tightly. Add the hot sauce if you like a little heat in the greens.

Cook for 15 minutes, stirring every five minutes or so to evenly coat the greens with the fat and hot sauce.

Serve with cornbread and something southern, like fried catfish.

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