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Recipe: Liver and Grits By Howard Conyers

Liver and Grits

Howard Conyers / Pitmaster + Scientist / New Orleans, Louisiana

For the liver:

3 tablespoons lard or bacon grease, divided

1 sweet onion, thinly sliced

1 pound hog liver

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

For the grits:

2 cups stone-ground grits

4 cups water

4 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons butter

Melt lard in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onions to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat with the fat. Stir frequently until deeply caramelized, about 45 minutes, and then remove to a paper towel to drain.

If the liver is fresh from a hog slaughtering, cut in ¼” to ½” slices, otherwise it is already sliced. Season the liver on both sides with salt and pepper and dust generously with the first quarter cup flour.

Add the rest of the lard to the skillet and let it get back hot. Then lay the liver in the grease and allow to cook for about 1 minute on each side. Fry the liver in batches so it doesn’t crowd the pan. Set the liver to the side and make the gravy.

Return the onions to the skillet and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons flour; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the flour starts to smell toasted and brown. Add water to the pan, ½ cup or more, depending on how thick you like your gravy, and stir well, scraping the bottom of the skillet. Simmer for a few minutes and if need be, add more water to the gravy to get the consistency you desire.

Make your grits with half water, half milk, and some butter and salt stirred in at the end. Serve the liver and onions over the grits with lots of gravy. 

(from Crop Stories no.6)

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Pork in Salsa Verde by Hector Gonzalez

Recipe: Pork in salsa Verde

Hector Gonzalez / Project 658 / Charlotte, North Carolina

For this recipe I like to use a piece of pork that is rich and meaty. Try using a good piece of belly or even shoulder. This is a very traditional recipe that can be made to serve over rice and beans, or with a salad, and makes a good stuffing for a burrito.

For the salsa verde:

3 pounds tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed well 

2 white onions, peeled and cut into wedges

1 bunch cilantro, leaves and stems 

4 medium serrano chiles or to taste

5 cloves garlic, peeled

3 pounds pork belly, cut into 2-inch chunks 

2 quarts chicken stock

kosher salt 

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook tomatillos and 1 of the onions until soft, about 15 minutes.

Drain and transfer to a blender along with the garlic and cilantro and 1 tablespoon of salt; blend until smooth and set aside.

In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, sear the pork in batches until brown, about 5 minutes per batch. Season each batch of pork with salt while browning. After all the pork has been browned, pour off the majority of the rendered fat and save it for another use. 

Add the second onion to the pot and fry it up in the fat that remains.

Add the salsa verde and and 2 quarts of chicken stock to the pot and let cook slowly, covered, until the meat is tender, about 2 hours.

(From Crop Stories No.6)