Just before Xmas one of my recipes was chosen by the folks at Marx Foods as their favorite use of cured Mangalitsa ham. To my surprise, they sent me more Mangalitsa goodness! Only, this time, it was a fresh, not cured, piece of meat. A neck roll, to be precise. This was a gift from Marx Foods and Heath Putnam Farms (they raise the piggies).
After some research, I learned that this cut is known as Secreto (secret) in Spain because it is the butchers’ best kept secret and I can understand why they keep this cut to themselves. Per Heath, this cut is known as pork collar or coppa and it is all the rage at the fancy eateries these days. He suggested preparing the roll in a couple different ways. First, I should slice a few pieces and sear them in a pan, then roast the rest. I listened and took his advice to heart; boy am I glad I did.
Since it arrived just around the holidays, my intention was to prepare and share with you another dish rooted in my Panamanian heritage , but, alas! I was so busy towards the end of the year, I never got around to posting it, though I did cook and eat it. Oh yes we did! I kept thinking about lomo relleno (stuffed loin), which is a dish typically served around the holidays. It can be beef or pork loin and it is generally stuffed with carrots, olives, raisins and many variations after that. Let’s talk pig!
Stuffed Mangalitsa Pork Collar
I wanted to make sure the meat itself was seasoned, so I made a nice rub for it. I combined Spanish paprika, pureed garlic, sea salt and black pepper with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and rubbed onto the pork collar, allowing it to marinate for a few hours.
For the stuffing I chopped and rendered the fat out of some bacon, then cooked in some chopped onions, garlic, cilantro and prunes. I did allow this to cool completely before stuffing the pork. I didn’t go fancy butterflying route, instead, I simply sliced the pork collar, just shy of about an inch from the opposite end and piled it with the stuffing*.
A little twine helped keep everything even and in place for searing and roasting. You can opt-out of pan searing and simply cook it at 450° for the first 15 minutes, then lowering the temperature to 300° for the remainder of the roasting time.
I placed it on a roasting rack with some carrots, onions and garlic strewn about the bottom of the pan. This was a 4-lb piece of meat an it roasted for about 3 hours or so, until the thermometer read 145°. I then removed it from the oven and allowed it to rest for about 15 minutes covered with foil. Believe me, we had a REALLY tough time staying away from it that long.
*Following Heath’s suggestion, and to keep us at bay while this baby roasted, I sliced off a few pieces of the collar before I made the cut for the stuffing. I heated a saute pan and added just a dab of olive oil and seared those little collar cutlets, they were about 1/2-inch thick and cooked for 2 minutes or so on each side, we still wanted them to be pink. That’s how we like our piggy. And…Oh.eM.Gee!!! We thought we’d died and gone to heaven.
Let me just try to explain something about Mangalitsa pork. It is obnoxiously delicious! I mean, I just know those little pigs trot around the pen mocking the other pigs and telling them how much better tasting they are. And you know what? THEY ARE!!! The Hubbz said this was better than beef tenderloin, yep. THAT good. The fat in the Mangalitsa is almost creamy buttery. And the meat has a slight gamey sweetness to it. I don’t know what to say or think about it, all I know is this is some really good sh#t!
Back to the roast. Once it rested and all the juices had redistributed around, we snipped off the twine and began slicing the roast.
Undoubtedly, the prunes added a delicious sweetness to the meat, just a hint, don’t worry. We feasted on this roast for a couple of days. By the time we were down to just a few bits and ends, I pan fried them to get a bit of a crust on the meat and used it to topped toasts points that had been toasted with olive oil and gotten a light spread of a fig & olive tapennade. JOOOOOOOOOYYYYY!!!! Sorry, no pictures of that madness.
I will admit that we are completely in love with Mangalitsa and with the Secreto cut. I also have to admit this will be one of those things we purchase once a year for VERY special occasions, but purchase it we will! I’d like to thank Marx Foods and Heath Putnam Farms again for such a generous and DELICIOUS treat. You can see all the porky shots here.
Mangalitsa longingly yours,