A Perfect Meal: Bo Ssam

Bo Ssam is a traditional Korean meal of slow cooked pork shoulder that you eat in lettuce cups topped with ginger scallion sauce and ssam sauce made from oil, vinegar and fermented black beans.   Since this meal is made by slow roasting meat on the bone it is one of the best ways to get the most nutrition from cooked meat.  The ginger scallion sauce compliments the savory, fatty meat and is also a digestive aid and immune booster.  The ssam sauce is made from fermented beans, which means they are easy to digest and full of microbes for your internal rain forest.  The lettuce cups provide some green and make this meal more like a salad you eat with your hands.  To top it all off this is meal is a group dinning experience Bo Ssam is food for your mind, body and soul, in other words, a perfect meal!

I went to my local butcher shop, Red Apple Butchers, to get a pork shoulder from Climbing Tree Farm for the Bo Ssam.   I love this shop; Jazu did a little extra work on the shoulder he cut for me by removing a few smaller bones, which means he ended up charging me a bit less, and he also cross-hatched the skin so the whole thing was oven ready when I got home.  I paid about $10 per pound, which seems very reasonable to me, considering what I am getting for my money.  So, before we get to the recipe, let’s talk about why I think everyone, no matter how big or small your food budget,  should ALWAYS buy locally raised versus cheaper conventional animal foods.

Ready for 6-7 hours in the oven, thank you Jazu!

Ready for 6-7 hours in the oven, thank you Jazu!

Conventional/factory farm meat:  please note that the word ‘natural’ on the package means nothing, as in, there is nothing natural about this meat!   Factory farmed animal foods are cheap and you get what you pay for: very little actual nutrition and a lot shit you don’t want.  Conventional meat is raised using antibiotics that cause the animal to gain a lot of weight quickly.  You are eating these antibiotics, so you too can gain weight more quickly!  Along with antibiotics that are harmful to your body, you consume everything else the animal was exposed to: torturous inhumane conditions, genetically modified foods full of lethal to animals (you are an animal too!) herbicides, pesticides and hormone disruptors.  Factory farming is incredibly destructive to our environment and is making us sick to the major financial benefit of a handful of CEO’s.   In summary, cheap meat buys you tortured sick animals devoid of any real nutrition aka empty calories that will help you pack on pounds while making you sick and hurting the environment.  And you’re paying for it!  Now is the time for you to do something about it!

Locally sourced, small farm animal foods: You and your community get way more value per dollar by investing in farm raised foods.  Ever noticed how you feel more full on less than usual when you eat a pork chop from a healthy, local pig?  Try it if you haven’t already!  It’s because the meat is full of all the good things the animal ate and came into contact with: sunlight, rain and healthy soil combine to produce superior, pure foods that the animal consumes and turns into highly concentrated, nutrient dense, health food that directly supports the health of the farm, the farmers and the community it will feed.  A farm that operates in harmony with nature is an awesome place to work and contributes to a healthy environment for everyone.   In short, food produced in nature sustainably nurtures everything around it, including your personal health!

When shopping for animal protein you have two choices that couldn’t be farther apart.  Even on a very limited budget you can eat less meat of higher quality and it will actually help to build up your health over the long-term.  You will get the most value for your food dollars by shopping locally and your community benefits with you!

And now for the recipe, you’ll need to start the meat the day before you want to serve it.  Allow at least 6 hours cooking time.

Momofuko Bo Ssam Recipe

From the NY Times Magazine by Sam Sifton

Pork Butt

1 whole bone-in pork butt or picnic ham (8 to 10 pounds)

1 cup white sugar

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt

7 tablespoons brown sugar

note: eliminate all sugar for Candida diet, or do what I did: 1/3 cup sugar mixed with 3/4 cup salt.  Then, I used about 1 Tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoons sugar for the glaze at the end.

Left over Bo Ssam over salad greens with ginger scallion and ssam sauce.

Left over Bo Ssam over salad greens with ginger scallion and ssam sauce.

The shoulder I cooked was 10.5 pounds and fed 7 people the first night.  Dana and I ate Bo Ssam Salad with the leftover sauces for days afterwards.

Ginger-Scallion Sauce

2½ cups thinly sliced scallions, both green and white parts

½ cup peeled, minced fresh ginger

¼ cup neutral oil (like grapeseed)

1½ teaspoons light soy sauce

1 scant teaspoon sherry vinegar

½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

Ssam Sauce

2 tablespoons fermented bean-and- chili paste (ssamjang, available in many Asian markets, and online)

1 tablespoon chili paste (kochujang, available in many Asian markets, and online)

½ cup sherry vinegar

½ cup neutral oil (like grapeseed)

Accompaniments

2 cups plain white rice, cooked (eliminate for Candida diet, you really don’t need it!)

3 heads bibb lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried

1 dozen or more fresh oysters (optional)

Kimchi (available in many Asian markets, and from Hosta Hill).

1. Place the pork in a large, shallow bowl. Mix the white sugar and 1 cup of the salt together in another bowl, then rub the mixture all over the meat. Cover it with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

2. When you’re ready to cook, heat oven to 300. Remove pork from refrigerator and discard any juices. Place the pork in a roasting pan and set in the oven and cook for approximately 6 hours, or until it collapses, yielding easily to the tines of a fork. (After the first hour, baste hourly with pan juices.) At this point, you may remove the meat from the oven and allow it to rest for up to an hour.  Make sure to save the pan juices, they will turn into a layer of delicious pork fat atop a layer of thick pork stock jelly, so good for your joints.  You can cook anything in the pan juices and it will taste amazing!

Finished and ready to be devoured!

Finished and ready to be devoured!

3. Meanwhile, make the ginger-scallion sauce. In a large bowl, combine the scallions with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and taste, adding salt if needed.

4. Make the ssam sauce. In a medium bowl, combine the chili pastes with the vinegar and oil, and mix well.

5. Prepare rice, wash lettuce and, if using, shuck the oysters. Put kimchi and sauces into serving bowls.

6. When your accompaniments are prepared and you are ready to serve the food, turn oven to 500. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining tablespoon of salt with the brown sugar. Rub this mixture all over the cooked pork. Place in oven for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, or until a dark caramel crust has developed on the meat. Serve hot, with the accompaniments.

Serves 6 to 10. Adapted from “Momofuku,” by David Chang and Peter Meehan.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Amy Huebner Health Coach
    May 29, 2014 @ 16:31:27

    Reblogged this on Fire Cider Recipes.

    Reply

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