This recipe is brought to you by my buddy Kequyen Lam, Olympic Cross-Country Skier for Portugal. Lam Broth Instant Pot Olympic Pork Soup – to be clear: not lamb (but feel free to use lamb in this!). Instant Pot: perfect for athletes! Hey @InstantPot, I've got just the Olympian for you to sponsor!
I recently spent the day with him and recorded an interview about his upcoming trip to the Olympics, how Portugal fits into his story, some projects that he's been working on, training, nutrition, intermittent fasting, the first time we met in pharmacy school, and a whack of other stuff. Go listen to it!
Kequyen has eaten this soup every day for months while training and doesn't get sick of it. And I can see why: even though it is super simple, it's packed with flavor and nutrition!
Pork Soup Bones & Butchery Today
OK… As Kequyen mentioned, you can use any kinda bones for this recipe but typically he gets pork bones for cheap. It turns out that these pork soup bones that he gets are not as easy to find as you'd think. I even called the store that he gets them from and they didn't really know much about the product (seems that they just a few randomly once in a while).
Here's the thing: back in the day butchers would break down whole animals and they would have all the parts in the store and these “pork soup bones” are essentially just scraps that you could get for next to nothing.
Now meat shops just get in cuts and pieces which typically don't include the “scraps”, and if they want them, they have to order a box of bones. So they're actually paying for them, which means we're paying even more for them to order them in.
The area I live in is small and does not have butchers who break down whole animals and there is a major lack of ethnic markets where one would be able to find these things that should be cheap options full of nutritional benefits. But there isn't much demand here, and after calling every butcher store within an hour's drive, it's clear that there's something wrong with this system.
I called Mike at BC Pork (I like Mike. He even brought up surgical and pharmaceutical uses of pork. We talked for a while. One thing is clear: most of us have no idea what's involved in the food we eat…) and he explained the process: When the animal is ready for slaughter they are taken to the abattoir (that's the fancy word for slaughterhouse) where the animal is killed and some butchery is done. Present-day butcher stores would then order parts from the abattoirs and further break down the animal, or sell as needed to the consumer. In the past, or at a store where the whole animal is broken down, the “scraps” would be sold for next to nothing. But in this current system, everything is priced higher.
Keep in mind: we're not talking about grass-fed, pastured animals. This is the system in general.
Where Are The “Unwanted” Cuts?
Mike suggested I call an abattoir, so I called Johnston's, because I see ads for them all the time. Talked to a couple departments even. I learned a bunch. Like, they are the suppliers of most of the “biology products”. You know: the ones we all cut up in high school? Yup, they gotta come from somewhere.
I asked the sales department about stuff. This woman “Marcia” told me about “the rest of the pig”: Asian markets buy up all other parts of the pig. Ahhh! So it is the same system that they're using, and that's why they have all the interesting stuff that you can get cheaper!
Finally, the person who could help me with the original question: What are these cuts that Kequyen got, and where can I get them? Marcia said that the riblets ($0.83/lb) are popular cut in the Asian markets for making soups and they have a little more meat on them, but when I described what Kequyen had used she said that was probably a picnic shoulder bone ($0.48/lb). Yes!! So with their markup, yeah, that seems right!
She also gave me the name of a couple stores in my town who order from them. I could buy directly from them, but it would be a minimum order of way more than I need to cover the shipping charges.
This is not at all what I thought this post was going to be haha! Next step is looking into the grass-fed, pastured meat system. Also, it's been over 3 weeks and I'm still sick. I should get on this soup/bone broth routine again and see if that helps me be able to start this whole 2018 thing that everyone else has been into…. Looks like it'll be full of the Lam Broth Instant Pot Olympic Pork Soup!
How's your 2018 going? Are you an athlete or know anyone heading to the Olympics this year?
This recipe is brought to you by Raj's buddy Kequyen Lam, Olympic Cross-Country Skier for Portugal. “Lam Broth” Instant Pot Olympic Pork Soup – to be clear: not lamb (but feel free to use lamb in this!). Instant Pot: perfect for athletes! Hey @InstantPot, I've got just the Olympian for you to sponsor!
- 2.5 lbs pork picnic shoulder bones (cut with meat on) or any other meat and bone (chicken, beef, lamb, duck, etc.), pork just happens to be a very affordable option
- 1 Tbsp Redmond's salt
- 1 inch ginger (cut up into small cubes)
- 2-3 cups leafy greens (lettuce, kale, spinach, etc)
- Put pork, Redmond's salt, and ginger in Instant Pot and add enough water to hit the 2/3-3/4 mark.
- Set on High Manual setting for 2 hours.
- Allow to Natural Pressure Release. The total process from start to finish should be around 3 hours, so set it up before you leave the house and then let the Keep Warm setting have it ready for you when you get home!
- Add more salt if needed.
- Rip up some leafy greens and toss them in the bowl with the hot soup. The heat will wilt/soften the greens.
This isn't lamb (but feel free to use lamb in this!) – “Lam” is Kequyen's last name.
You can use any salt, but I've recently learned about the source of Redmond's salt (through a discussion with Kequyen) about a book called The Salt Fix which decriminalizes salt, reminding people about the importance of salt in essentially all our biological processes.