Lacón with turnip greens, traditional Galician recipe

In the weeks after the slaughter of the pig in Galicia it is usual eat dishes made with this ingredient such as pork shoulder with turnip greens.

The ham is one of the edible parts of the pig and one of the most traditional ingredients of Galician cuisine. This smooth, tasty and excellent quality product is the pride of the region which also has a protected geographical indication (PGI).

Little by little, it has been introduced into a greater variety of dishes both in private homes and in restaurants. Undoubtedly, the most common way of taking it is accompanied by chorizo, potatoes and turnip greens.

In its beginnings, it was consumed on Carnival days as it is the best time for some of its ingredients. However, today it is possible to access them throughout the year. So, without further ado, we encourage you to prepare it.

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Ingredients needed to prepare 4 servings

Turnip greens are the tender shoots of turnips.
  • 800 grams of Galician ham.
  • 2 bunches of turnip greens.
  • 4 potatoes.
  • 200 grams of fresh chorizo.
  • Olive oil.

Step by step for the preparation of the pork shoulder with turnip greens

  • The first thing to do to prepare this typical Galician recipe is to prepare the pork shoulder. The day before, place it in a large bowl with cold water to desalt it. If you choose to buy it desalted and vacuum packed, this step should be skipped.
  • For a start, put the salted and drained pork shoulder to cook in a pot ample with plenty of water. Later you will need a part of the liquid to make the rest of the ingredients.
  • Place on high heat and when it starts to boil lower to medium heat. Cook with the covered pot for 1 hour. It is necessary to remove the fat that comes off.
  • Meanwhile prepare the turnip tops. To do this, cut the thickest part of the stem and wash the rest of the leaves well.
  • Prepare a separate pot for blanch the turnip tops; in this way, the bitterness they may have is eliminated. When the water boils, introduce 15 seconds and remove. Drain well, discard the water and reserve.
  • Then wash and peel the potatoes. Cut in half or 4 pieces depending on size. Remove some of the water from the pot from the ham and put boil the potatoes. Add the chorizo ​​and cook everything together for half an hour.
  • Add the reserved turnip tops and leave for 10 more minutes. After this time, remove from heat and drain.
  • After 1 hour of cooking, the pork shoulder will be ready. Remove from the broth, separate the meat from the bone and carve into slices 1 or 2 centimeters thick.
  • Serve the pork shoulder, turnip greens, potatoes and chorizo ​​(also cut) on a tray, and water with a good drizzle of olive oil.

As will have been observed in this recipe no salt is added at any time. The reason is that the pork shoulder already provides, in principle, enough to flavor all the ingredients. If not, correct the salt in the cooking of the potatoes and turnip greens.

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What are the benefits of the lacón?

The pork shoulder provides proteins of a high biological level, vitamins and minerals.

The ham is a product derived from the pig that is made with the meat of the front extremities. To obtain it, it must come from an animal that is at least 6 months old or weighs more than 90 kilos.

Subsequently, the fresh meat undergoes a series of processes through which the arms are turned into pork shoulder. These are salting, washing and settling or curing that have a variable duration depending on the size of each piece.

At the nutritional level, The pork shoulder stands out for the following contribution of nutrients that give it some properties for the body:

  • Contribution of proteins of high biological value, since it contains all the essential amino acids that the body needs. These are vital as they play an important role in development, growth, and many other vital functions.
  • Relatively high percentage of fat that are around 30% of the total product. However, and contrary to what it may seem, a good part of them are monounsaturated fatty acids like the predominant ones in olive oil.
  • Contribution of minerals such as phosphorus and zinc. The first stands out for being part of the bones and teeth, and in the case of zinc it helps the immune system to fight pathogens and participates in the formation of proteins and DNA. In pregnancy and childhood it is essential for proper development.
  • In people with a tendency to suffer from anemia due to lack of iron, it may be convenient to add it as a source of this mineral.
  • Contains niacin (vitamin B3) which contributes to energy metabolism. Also interesting is the presence of B12, which is only found in products of animal origin and whose deficiency can cause fatigue, muscle weakness, intestinal problems, neural injuries or mood disorders.
  • Instead, contains a high amount of sodium. This is why people on low-salt diets should be careful with their intake.

What else to take into account to prepare a good pork shoulder with turnip greens

The pork shoulder with turnip greens is a traditional Galician dish that stands out for the quality of its ingredients, its simplicity and its remarkable flavor.. As we have seen, preparing it at home is not difficult, although it requires a little cooking time.

Choosing your ingredients well is key to your success. For instance, it is preferable to use a variety of potatoes with firm flesh and that it holds well for cooking. One of the most indicated are red potatoes.

The best pork shoulder is the one that comes from pigs fed in the field with chestnuts, potatoes or collards. It is the so-called Galician unlike the traditional one. It is a product with a meat of a more intense color, harder and more flavorful.

What's more, Galician pork has a protected geographical indication. In this way, obtaining it with said seal certifies its control by the Regulatory Council. This controls the entire process from the birth of the pig to the obtaining of the final product.

Turnip greens are the tender shoots of turnip leaves. These appear just before the plant blooms; For this reason, the best time to make this recipe is between January and March.

Out of season they can be replaced by turnip greens that bloom earlier or collards (also known as Galician cabbage). In this case, the procedure is the same and it is also necessary to scald 15 seconds.

It only remains to get down to work and discover one of the traditional delicacies of healthy Galician cuisine. Do you dare to prepare pork shoulder with turnip greens?

Lead image: Tamorlan, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons