The team at Heritage Foods USA prides ourselves on providing the best products available while supporting a network of eighty farmers who raise heritage and rare breeds. We are determined to lead the pack with the best tasting items available. To date we remain the largest meat purveyor with the mission of increasing agricultural biodiversity. We are always seeking promising competition to challenge our standard of quality as this would be a sign of a tipping point in the larger food system….
Author: Catherine Greeley
Steak cooks in minutes, but a few simple techniques can reliably tip the scale toward perfection.
First, choose wisely. The quality of the meat is the foundation for a good steak.
Pull the steak out of the fridge an hour before cooking to allow the steak to come up to room temperature, which will cut your cook time and allow for better browning. Season liberally with coarse grain salt and pepper at least 40 minutes before cooking. This allows the salt to permeate the meat tenderizing it and drawing out some of the excess moisture. Before the steak is set over heat you want the steak to be dry to the touch, this allows for the best sear.
Pick your cooking method
Over Fire –You have several options to cook your steak over fire – wood, charcoal briquettes, or lump charcoal. Wood will impart a nuance of smoky flavor, but take the most time to prepare for cooking. Briquettes on the other hand are inexpensive and make quick work of getting the fire going. Lump charcoal such as Binchotan (white charcoal) burns very hot and clean and lasts long – it’s my preferred charcoal. But each of these options has its strengths and each can produce a delicious steak. Be sure your heat source is established – the coal bed is prepared to for cooking before beginning.
Over the stovetop – There is no shame in cooking steak in a pan. In fact much of the time a stovetop can be the most convenient option, especially in winter. If cooking over a stovetop use a heavy pan, preferably cast iron. A heavier weight pan will hold heat more evenly and as a result will cook your steak more evenly. You want the pan to be ripping hot, just at the point of smoking, by the time you are ready to place the steak in it. Turn your hood fan on to high (it’s going to get smoky).
Use a thermometer. There is no other way to ensure you have reached your desired temperature and doneness. The thermometer will be very useful for accuracy in all of your meat cookery. At the least it will reduce stress and guesswork.
You also have a choice to flip only once or flip often. The key to caramelization is lack of moisture and direct heat. There are two philosophies. One is to flip only once. The other is to flip every 30 seconds, which will brown the steak and cut the cook time by a third, but requires a powerful heat source. Flipping once is the best option on a less powerful stove or grill.
Finally, Pull your steak off the heat at 5 – 6 degrees less than your desired temperature – the steak will continue to cook and will come up in temperature. Before cutting into the meat, let it rest for 10 – 15 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute within the meat. To serve slice the steak against (perpendicular to) the grain. We suggest sharing each steak and slicing ahead of serving. This will allow you to eat better steak more often for less expense.
Rare 120°F – 125° F
Medium Rare 130°F – 140°F
Medium 140°F – 150°F
Medium Well 150°F – 160°F
1. An hour before cooking pull your steak out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. Position on a rack to encourage airflow around the meat. Season liberally with coarse grain salt and black pepper and let rest for at least 40 minutes before cooking. This will allow the salt to permeate and tenderize the meat. It will also draw out excess moisture. Be certain to pat the meat dry before cooking.
2. Preheat oven to 500°F.
3. Heat cast iron pan over medium high heat until smoking hot. Before you begin cooking be sure to turn your hood fan on high. It’s gonna get smokey but that’s OK! You can’t cook a good steak without making a little smoke.
4. Right before placing the steak in the pan add a tablespoon of oil. Be sure to use one with a high smoke-point such as grapeseed oil. Over a high flame on the stovetop sear steak in pan for 1 – 2 minutes. Flip. Sear second side for 2 minutes. Use tongs to sear fat side of steak for roughly 30 seconds.
5. Place pan in oven for 2 minutes and check temperature with a meat thermometer for desired doneness.
6. Remove steak from pan and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Slice against the grain. Garnish with finishing salt and serve family style.
Rare 120°F – 125°F
Medium Rare 130°F – 140°F
Medium 140°F – 150°F
Medium Well 150°F – 160°F
Every heritage foods meal is a special one, whether it’s for a big dinner party, a romantic dinner for two or just brunch with the kids. When we eat, especially when we eat meat, it’s important that we understand that we are undergoing an agricultural act, and also a moral one. Knowing where our food comes from is the first step to ensure that we are being good, clean and fair, but so is honoring mealtime. Here are some fun tips from the team here that come from years of throwing parties and events – we hope something in this entry is useful!
If you have ever met a goat, you might have noticed their lively and boisterous personalities. The herd of goats at Asgaard Farm exemplify the rowdy persona we love about the goat….
Frank Reese of Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch is considered the godfather of American poultry. He is a fourth generation poultry farmer from Lindsborg, Kansas. For nearly all his life, Frank has maintained a keen interest in American heritage turkeys. The New York Times’ Kim Severson writes of Frank: “Only someone with a trained eye can pick the best toms and hens to breed, and Mr. Reese is considered the best of the few people in the country who can do it.” He is also the only one with a flock whose genetic line can be traced back to the late 1800s. Frank Reese’s heritage turkeys are universally proclaimed the most delicious in America thanks to his expertise breeding the Standard Bronze, Bourbon Red, White Holland,Black, Narragansett and Slate. Frank’s birds are pasture raised on the Kansas prairie and are never fed antibiotics. Intense, dark and rich with a steakish, balanced flavor and distinctive finish, heritage turkeys are unlike regular turkey in every way.
Grandma Litke was a God fearing woman and never missed Church on Sunday, which meant she had to get up early to start Sunday dinner. One of her Sunday specials was baked chicken. She’d get everything ready and just before she walked out the door it all went into the oven. She knew her hen would take longer to bake than most and she had the cooking time planed according to the standard 45 minute sermon, 3 hymns, the offering and the preacher handshake as they went out the door of the church. By the time they had arrived home the house smelled wonderful, and the bird, well the bird was cooked to perfection.
by Chef Steve Pope of Good Shepherd, KS
1 Good Shepherd baking hen cut into frying size pieces.
Pre heat oven to 325 degrees
1 cup white flour,
1 tsp of salt.
1 tsp pepper,
1/2 tsp powdered garlic
2/3cup Cooking oil
1 cup water
1. Rinse and remove excess water.
2. Bread pieces in dry mixture of flour, seasonings (I use a plastic bag for this)
3. Heat 2/3 cup of butter in a Skillet (cast iron works best).
4. Brown pieces on both sides using med/high heat. Remove from skillet.
3. Select large enough covered baking dish and place low rack in the bottom.
4. Place a small onion that has been sliced into large pieces on the rack. Lay browned pieces of chicken on top of onions. Pour in 1 cup of water. Cover tightly and place into heated oven for approx 3hr and 15 min (cooking time is to be adjusted 15 min for each pound of bird)
Alice Waters, chef, author, and the proprietor of Chez Panisse, is an American pioneer of a culinary philosophy that maintains that cooking should be based on the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients that are produced sustainably and locally. She is a passionate advocate for a food economy that is “good, clean, and fair.” Over the course of nearly forty years, Chez Panisse has helped create a community of scores of local farmers and ranchers whose dedication to sustainable agriculture assures the restaurant a steady supply of fresh and pure ingredients.
Makes 3 quarts
This is the soup I make the day after Thanksgiving, but it can be made any time you have a roasted duck or chicken carcass and some leftover meat.
1 roasted turkey carcass
1 bunch lacinato kale, leaves torn from the stems and chopped coarse
1/2 onion, peeled
1/2 carrot, peeled
1/2 stalk celery
6 sprigs thyme
3 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
3 quarts water
2 tablespoons olive oil
Add and cook, over medium heat, until very tender:
1 1/2 onions, peeled and diced
1 1/2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 1/2 stalks celery, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1. Pick all the meat from 1 roasted turkey carcass – coarsely chop and set aside. Break up the carcass and put in large stockpot with the Stock Ingredients.
2. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, skim well, and cook for 2 hours. Meanwhile, heat, all of the Soup Ingredients in a large soup pot.
3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add Kale.
4. Cook until tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. Place a colander over the pot of diced vegetables and strain the turkey stock directly into the soup pot. Add the turkey meat and kale, taste for seasoning and serve hot.
• Sautéed mushrooms (porcini are my favorite) added just before serving give a luxurious flavor and texture to this humble soup.
• Some of the kale can be sautéed with garlic and hot pepper and floated atop the soup on a slice of toasted bread.
• Add cooked rice or pasta just before serving.
• Fry a little diced pancetta in the soup pot before adding the diced vegetables
“I prefer these heritage breeds for their flavor, and the tendency for this meat to stay moist longer is a big reason for it. I recommend cooking the bird until the breasts are finished, and then removing the legs and continue cooking them in the oven. It’s nearly impossible to get a perfectly cooked breast and legs at the same time because the legs take so much longer. The result, if you follow the advice, is a turkey that doesn’t need gravy.
I’d stay away from brining the birds as well. That’s a good technique for a bird that’s not on pasture. But these heritage breeds have distinct flavors reflecting the diversity of their diets. You’ll lose that if you brine them. Remember especially to take your bird out of the refrigerator a full 40 minutes before you roast it. The cooking time will vary dramatically.
I like to throw the carcass and scraps of meat into a big pot at the end of the night and make a rich turkey broth fort he next day. Just simmer the bones and meat for a few hours; add vegetables and herbs, and if you like a little wine, and don’t let it boil. You want a clear broth.”
1 Heritage Turkey
salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 475
2. Let turkey come to room temp
3. Carefully separate skin from the breast meat and rub softened butter on to breast
4. Season liberally with salt and pepper
5. Set the turkey, breast side up, on a rack of a large roasting pan. Tie the legs together with kitchen string.
6. Roast for 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and cover turkey loosely with tin foil. Roast for about 3 1/2 hours, or until the thermometer inserted into the inner thigh registers 150 degrees.
7. Transfer turkey to cutting board. Let stand for at least 45 minutes to cool down.
8. Remove legs and thighs, careful to not take too much skin with you.
9. Place thighs, skin side, on a roasting pan and continue cooking, 40-45 minutes or until juices run clear.
10. Separately slice breast and thigh and plate while still warm.
Dan Barber is the co-owner and executive chef of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and the author of the forthcoming book, The Third Plate (May 2014, The Penguin Press). His opinions on food and agricultural policy have appeared in the New York Times, along with many other publications.
Appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Dan continues the work that he began as a member of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture’s board of directors: to blur the line between the dining experience and the educational, bringing the principles of good farming directly to the table.
Barber has received multiple James Beard awards including Best Chef: New York City (2006) and the country’s Outstanding Chef (2009).In 2009 he was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.
Erica Wides has been a Chef and Culinary Instructor for 18 years. She’s been teaching at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in New York City for the past 12 years, and is also a personal chef, consultant, and private teacher. She began her cooking career in New York at Nosmo King, before moving on to Zoe, Savoy, and Arcadia. She was also Sous Chef at Quisisana, a summer resort in Maine. She has done extensive curriculum development for ICE, and recipe development for various clients. She appears regularly on TV in the New York area, and is currently working on several book projects. Erica also teaches “on the road”, as a guest instructor at The Culinary Vegetable Institute in Milan, Ohio, In Singapore, at At-Sunrice Culinary Academy, and in Tokyo, Japan at Culinary Salon Uno.
Don’t miss her show Let’s Get Real on Heritage Radio Network!
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
2 bay leaves
2 turkey legs and thighs, bone-in, skin on, separated at the joint to make 4 pieces
salt and pepper
canola oil as needed
2 shallots, peeled and sliced
2 ribs celery, diced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups wild mushrooms, sliced
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1. Heat chicken stock in a saucepan with dried porcini and bay leaf, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes, strain, discard dried mushrooms and bay leaf.
2. Pat turkey thighs dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat a sauté pan, add canola oil to coat the bottom, and brown the turkey well on both sides. Remove turkey from pan and set aside.
3. In the same pan, sauté the shallots and celery until translucent and soft, add the wild mushrooms and sauté until soft. Return the turkey to the pan and add the balsamic vinegar.
4. Add the strained stock to the pan, bring to a simmer, lower the heat and cover, and braise until done, about 25-30 minutes. A fork should easily pierce the turkey and release easily when done.
5. Remove the finished turkey from the pan and set aside. Add the heavy cream, bring the liquid to a boil and cook to reduce the volume of the liquid by half.
6. Return the turkey to the pan, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.