April Prusia raises Gloucestershire Old Spot hogs in Blanchardville, WI.
And though the focus may be on producing food, attendees also get to consume plenty of it – especially during the Saturday-night feast at April Prusia’s heritage hog ranch. Last August, Prusia called upon her own pastured pigs for slow-cooked pulled pork and served classic sides, including slaw and potato salad, that highlighted fellow Soil Sisters’ harvests. Other members of the gang pitched in with an appetizer and dessert. “We have an amazing network of women here, who help each other succeed,” says Prusia. “Good energy just keeps radiating out.” Here, we share some of those recipes. And if you haven’t yet read our feature on the Soil Sisters – well, what are you waiting for?!
Heirloom Tomato Tartlets
Lori Stern, owner†“pastry chef of Cow & Quince, hit up the farms of Soil Sisters Lauren Rudersdorf and Bethanee Wright for the produce that distinguishes these small savory tarts. “We spend 95 percent of our food dollars within 50 miles of our restaurant,” says Stern.
- 1½ cups 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 12 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
- 2½ teaspoons salt (plus more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon apple-cider vinegar
- 3 cups bread flour (plus more for rolling dough)
- 16 ounces chÁ¨vre (at room temperature)
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh dill
- ½ cup finely chopped chives (plus 1 tablespoon for garnish)
- 2 medium cucumbers
- 1 pound heirloom cherry or grape tomatoes (halved or quartered)
- Cow & Quince Vinaigrette (recipe below)
- In a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment, or a hand mixer on low, slowly mix butter, cream cheese, 1½ teaspoons salt, and vinegar until just incorporated (try not to work too much air into mixture). Slowly add flour, mixing until dough just comes together. Form dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to a day.
- On a clean surface lightly dusted with flour, roll out dough to about a 1/8-inch thickness. Using a medium biscuit cutter, cut 8 rounds. Place dough rounds in 4-inch tartlet molds and prick bottom and sides with a fork. Refrigerate tart dough in molds until well chilled, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together chÁ¨vre, dill, chives, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt until well combined; set aside. Slice one cucumber into ¼-inch-thick rounds, then quarter each round. In a medium bowl, toss cucumber with tomatoes and lightly salt to taste; set aside. Using a mandolin or peeler, thinly slice the second cucumber lengthwise to create 8 strips and tightly roll each to create garnishes (as shown, at right); set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake tart shells until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack before unmolding. Divide reserved herb-chÁ¨vre mixture evenly among tart crusts, smoothing cheese with a spatula, then spoon reserved cucumber-tomato mixture on top. Place a rolled cucumber garnish in the center of each tart, then drizzle each with vinaigrette and add a sprinkle of chives.
Cow & Quince Vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, whisk together ¹/³ cup champagne vinegar, juice and zest of 1 small lemon, 1 tablespoon minced shallot, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and ½ teaspoon minced fresh (or dried) thyme. Slowly add 1 cup vegetable oil and ¹/³ cup extra-virgin olive oil, whisking until dressing emulsifies. Taste and adjust salt, if needed. Makes about 2 cups. Any leftover dressing can be refrigerated for up to a week.
Pulled Pork with BBQ Zing and Fresh Rhubarb Sauces
“This is a simple recipe that demands quality meat,” says April Prusia, who slow-roasted pork shoulders from her own heritage pigs. If you like your pork extra-saucy, double the recipes below.
- 1 bone-in pork shoulder (about 6 pounds)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- BBQ Zing Sauce (recipe below)
- Fresh Rhubarb Sauce (recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over high heat. Season pork generously with salt and pepper. Place meat, fat side down, in the pot and sear until browned, about 2 minutes; flip and repeat until entire roast has a nice sear.
- Add ¼ cup water to the pot, cover, and transfer to the oven. Roast for 4 to 5 hours, until pork is tender, pulls apart easily with a fork, and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of shoulder reaches 145°F.
- Once the pork is cool enough to handle, use a fork to pull the meat off the bone and shred it. Serve warm with BBQ Zing Sauce and Fresh Rhubarb Sauce on the side.
BBQ Zing Sauce: In a medium pot over medium heat, combine 1 large chopped tomato (about 1 cup); 3 tablespoons each ketchup and apple-cider vinegar; 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger; 1 tablespoon honey; 1 to 2 cloves garlic, mashed with a pinch of salt to form a paste; 1 tablespoon chopped sweet onion; ½ tablespoon molasses; 1 teaspoon tamari; and ¼ teaspoon cumin. Simmer until reduced and thickened, stirring occasionally, 20 to 30 minutes. For a silkier sauce, transfer the mixture to a blender and process until smooth. Serve warm with Pulled Pork. Makes about 1¾ cups. Any leftover sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
Fresh Rhubarb Sauce: In a medium pot over medium heat, combine 1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and diced (about 2 cups); 1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar; 1 tablespoon sorghum; 1 tablespoon maple syrup; 1 tablespoon honey; ½ tablespoon molasses; 1 teaspoon tamari; and a pinch of ground cloves. Simmer until reduced and thickened, stirring occasionally and mashing rhubarb with the back of a spoon as it softens, 20 to 30 minutes. For a silkier sauce, transfer the mixture to a blender and process until smooth. Serve warm with Pulled Pork. Makes about 2 cups. Any leftover sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
New-Potato Salad with Garlic-Herb Dressing
What sets Prusia’s take on the picnic staple apart? Pickled mustard seeds, a divine mayo-based dressing, and freshly dug, organic ‘Dark Red Norland’ potatoes.
- 2 pounds small red new potatoes (cut into bite-size pieces (about 7 cups))
- 1 small red onion (minced (about ½ cup))
- 1 small white onion (minced (about ½ cup))
- 2 stalks celery (diced (about ½ cup))
- 3 scallions (white and green parts, finely chopped (about ½ cup))
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
- ¼ cup chopped chives (plus 1 tablespoon for garnish)
- 1 tablespoon Pickled Mustard Seeds (below)
- Garlic-Herb Dressing (below)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add potatoes. Once water returns to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook potatoes until tender but still firm, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and transfer to a large, shallow bowl to cool.
- To the potatoes, add the onions, celery, scallions, parsley, chives, and Pickled Mustard Seeds. Pour the Garlic-Herb Dressing over the top, then toss gently to combine, taking care not to break up the potatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with chives before serving.
Pickled Mustard Seeds: In a pint canning jar, combine ¼ cup each yellow and brown mustard seeds, 1 tablespoon honey, and enough apple-cider vinegar to cover. Shake jar vigorously and store in the refrigerator, adding more vinegar as needed to keep seeds covered, for at least 2 days before using. Makes about 1 cup. Any leftover condiment can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Garlic-Herb Dressing: In a blender, combine 1 cup homemade or store-bought mayonnaise; 2 tablespoons sunflower oil; 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon apple-cider vinegar; 3 cloves garlic, mashed with a pinch of salt to form a paste; 1 table-spoon minced white onion; 1 tablespoon honey; 6 sprigs (leaves and stems) fresh Italian parsley; 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill; ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; and salt to taste. Process on medium speed until all ingredients have been incorporated and dressing is pourable, 60 to 90 seconds.
Soil Sister Betty Anderson grew the heirloom ‘Red Acre’ and ‘Early Flat Dutch’ cabbages that elevate this tangy slaw. Prusia recommends making it a day in advance for best results.
- ½ medium head green cabbage (thinly sliced (about 4 cups))
- ½ medium head red cabbage (thinly sliced (about 4 cups))
- 1 medium white or red onion (minced (about 1 cup))
- 4 large carrots (grated (about 2 cups))
- 3 scallions (white and green parts, diced)
- 1 cup homemade or store-bought mayonnaise
- 5 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 1½ tablespoons Pickled Mustard Seeds (see above)
- 1 heaping tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- ¾ teaspoon celery seeds
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a large bowl, toss green and red cabbage, all but 2 tablespoons of the onion, the carrots, and scallions; set aside.
- In a large jar with a lid, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, oil, remaining 2 tablespoons onion, Pickled Mustard Seeds, honey, and caraway and celery seeds and shake vigorously until well combined. Pour dressing over reserved vegetables and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight, before serving.
Blistered String Beans with Crispy Bacon
Prusia sends her pork bellies to Hoesly’s Meats, a family-owned butcher shop nearby, for smoking and curing. The bacon she gets back gives this side dish all the right stuff – namely, fat, salt, and smoky flavor.
- In a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, working in batches if necessary, cook bacon, flipping occasionally, until each strip is crispy. Transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, chop into coarse bits; set aside.
- Drain all but 3 tablespoons of bacon grease from skillet, then return skillet to medium-high heat. Once fat starts to sizzle, add green beans and cook, stirring once or twice, just until beans are bright green and slightly charred but still crunchy, about 5 minutes. Toss beans with lemon juice, season to taste with salt and pepper, and top with reserved bacon. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Panna Cotta with Wild Raspberry and Cardamom-Peach Sauces
To end the evening on a sweet note, Prusia recruited pal Linda Bullette, whose honey-spiked panna cotta is regionally renowned. Soil Sister Bethany Emond Storm supplied heirloom ‘Reliance’ and ‘Contender’ peaches and wild black raspberries for the sauces, while Bullette plucked the calendula-petal garnishes from Prusia’s cutting garden.
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin (such as Knox1 quart half-and-half)
- ¹/³ cup honey
- Pinch of salt
- Wild Raspberry Sauce (see below)
- Cardamom-Peach Sauce (see below)
- Fresh organic calendula petals for garnish (optional)
Pour milk into a small bowl and sprinkle with gelatin; let rest until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Transfer milk-gelatin mixture to a medium, heavy-bottomed pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until gelatin dissolves and mixture is hot but not boiling, about 5 minutes. Add half-and-half, honey, and salt, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if milk appears to be in danger of boiling, 10 more minutes.
Remove pot from heat and divide panna cotta evenly among 8 four-ounce jars or ramekins. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. Serve chilled with Wild Raspberry Sauce and Cardamom-Peach Sauce. Garnish with calendula petals, if desired.
Wild Raspberry Sauce:
In a medium, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, bring 5 cups fresh raspberries, ½ cup water, ½ cup honey, and juice and zest of 1 lemon to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the berries are cooked through and sauce is very juicy, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Place a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth over a medium bowl and strain sauce; discard seeds and pulp. Whisk 4 tablespoons cornstarch into the cooled liquid, then transfer to a clean pot and reheat over medium heat, whisking frequently, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Cover and refriger-ate until chilled before using. Makes about 2 cups. Any leftover sauce can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
In a medium, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, bring 8 peeled, pitted, and diced peaches; ½ cup honey; ¼ cup water; 1 teaspoon cinna-mon; ¼ teaspoon cardamom; and a pinch of salt to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until peaches soften completely and sauce starts to thicken, about 15 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until chilled before using. Makes about 3 cups. Any leftover sauce can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
To replicate the event’s signature Ginger-Kombucha Fizz, mix equal parts kombucha (such as GT’s Enlightened Organic & Raw Kombucha in Original) and spicy ginger beer (such as Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew). Serve over crushed ice with a lemon wedge, adding a shot of vodka, if desired.
Soil Sister Bethany Emond Storm provided heirloom ‘Reliance’ and ‘Contender’ peaches and wild black raspberries for the meal’s dessert.