Check out Executive Chef Tarasco, a great supporter of heritage breeds, as he talks meat marbling and cooks a beautiful thick-cut heritage pork chop on the wood-fired grill at Marta!
Author: Patty Lee
It is the time of year again when new life begins on the farm!
(click on the image below to start the video)
These are the breeders that will continue on the purebred heritage lineages at Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch in Lindsborg, Kansas.
Every November since our first year we have had the great honor of announcing the arrival of a new generation of Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch heritage turkeys. Farmer Frank Reese was the first farmer in the US allowed to claim “heritage” on his USDA certificate thanks to the American Poultry Association, a certification group that confirms standards traceable back to the 19th century.
Stay tuned for more updates and videos from the farm throughout the year!
Fatted Calf bacon is a bacon milestone. This is old-fashioned bacon at its finest, beginning with superior Heritage pigs, and then dry cured with brown sugar, sea salt, and a bit of cayenne – but it’s not too spicy, just well-balanced, and it is smoked over four kinds of wood, two fruit woods and two hardwoods — cherry, apple, mesquite and alderwood — to further balance the smoky flavor….
Twenty years ago, the bulk of American charcuterie was cheap, commodity product. You could get a domestic prosciutto in a supermarket for half the price of Prosciutto di Parma. More recently, charcuterie in the United States is following the same trend we have seen with wine, beer, cheese, and bread. The talent chain is expanding and quality ingredients are becoming more accessible.
Says Martins, “Two decades ago, if you wanted to buy an imported beer, you paid a premium. American beer was cheap. Now the most expensive and sought-after beer is domestic, handcrafted beer, made in smaller quantities, with the best ingredients.
“The same thing is happening with high-quality charcuterie. Largely because of a new dedication to responsibly-sourced ingredients — heritage breeds, raised on pasture, humanely. The domestic version will be the sought after product. Imports will dwindle. We’ll still love our Italian and Spanish hams, but they won’t be nearly as prevalent, they’ll be nostalgia. The market is changing right before our eyes.”
This new wave is more sophisticated because of the quality of the farming. We are determined to change the taste through better ingredients — and you can’t make a great ham without starting with a great pig.”
There are two approaches to making a great ham — the Old-World style, best-known as Prosciutto di Parma or Jamón Serrano, and the American traditional style that comes out of the deep South, with the added step of smoking — and Heritage Foods is working with outstanding proponents of both:
Broadbent Hams, under the direction of Ronny and Beth Drennan, in Kuttawa, Kentucky, have won championships from the National Country Ham Association. They have recently added a new line of heritage breed, pasture-raised hams to their existing line of Southern Style hams, which goes back 100 years. They represent a new American style of prosciutto — lighter, with a uniquely sweet and salty flavor. The first wave will be available beginning this fall.
Cesare Casella was trained by the Norcini, the great Tuscan traveling butchers. He is a famed New York restaurateur, and Dean of Italian Studies at the International Culinary Center. His Casella’s pasture-raised salami is an astonishingly nuanced example of the artform. His line of Old World-style heritage prosciutto will be available beginning in March and are sure to be a formidable presence, bringing three-hundred years of Italian tradition to the vanguard.
Antonio Fiasche from ’Nduja Artisans continues a great tradition of Italian charcuterie. His family has run Ristorante Agostino in Chicago for over thirty years, and Antonio has led the charge towards expanding a curing business anchored by a wide variety of salamis and their family specialty, ’nduja, a spreadable, spicy, Calabrian pâté, which they have been making for five generations.
Al Benton cures his hams in an ancient smokehouse in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with little consideration for the modern world. Even though Benton is a household name in the South, he is still hands-on and present in all steps of the curing process. He is another famed traditionalist who is forwarding the cause of the American charcuterie renaissance. His strong, salty, smoky hams have always enjoyed a huge following.
In addition, the Heritage Foods roster of great curemasters includes Nancy Newsom, whose grandfather started a curing tradition in his old Kentucky home that allowed seasonal change to flavor the ham naturally; Armondino Batali in Seattle, who creates bold, charismatic salumi from pasture-raised meat; Johnny Hunter, from Underground Meats in Wisconsin; Sam Suchoff and Rufus Brown, from Lady Edison in North Carolina; and Paradise Locker Meats whose injection curing process produces delectable maple sugar hams.
Pork chops are our life, or so it seems. Among all of the wonderful things we sell (and eat) here at Heritage Foods HQ in Brooklyn, our Porterhouse T-Bone chop remains No. 1 with our customers and is the in-house go-to favorite.
We got our start selling pork, and no matter the rainbow of gorgeous steaks, lamb, goat, and of course our legendary Turkeys we celebrate at Thanksgiving, we always come back to the chop that made us famous.
We’ve grilled’em, broiled’em, pan fry’em, honestly, we have prepared them so many ways it is difficult to remember them all. But this is truly the next frontier: A bone-in cured pork chop that can be eaten cold — as-is, drizzled with any number of life-affirming condiments, sliced for sandwiches or snacks, or just gnawed on with the enthusiasm of a ship wrecked man.
It’s hard to surprise us, especially when it comes to pork chops, but these cured chops made everyone at our warehouse stop what they were doing for a collective WOW.
We tried searing them, which brought out the sweetness of the pork, tasting almost like a Southern style ham. And then we hit them with mustard, spicy honey, Sriracha, and everything else we have in our kitchen. The verdict? The cured pork chop is a masterpiece! Truly a rare and unexpected treat.
Angelo Garro of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma; spice provider to Alice Waters, Francis Ford Coppola and Werner Herzog; friend to Heritage since the beginning.
Angelo is a master blacksmith by trade and a passionate hunter, forager, cook and Slow Food icon. Growing up in Sicily he learned the wonder of herbs like the wild fennel that grew around his childhood home and the importance of good ingredients — all of Angelo’s home-made salumi and prosciutti are made using 100% Heritage Foods meat.
We visited Angelo a few weeks ago, as we do every winter, in his Forge in San Francisco. He explains that when cooking heritage meat, the simplest of preparation is best. Angelo seasons heritage meats liberally with salt, pepper and spices — he has created a special spice blend that he has been using for years with every meat he cooks called Omnivore Salt — and allows the meat and seasoning to mingle for 30-40 minutes before he sears it quickly over high heat, creating a beautifully crisp outer crust.
Angelo uses wood fire whenever possible, but a cast iron skillet will offer a similar result. For our heritage pork loin, Angelo tosses fresh greens with a simple dressing to create a delicious bed on which the pork is served family-style.
In the spirit of #ThrowBackThursday, we thought we would rewind back to a few weeks ago when Team Heritage brought the #ProsciuttiForTutti tour to the San Francisco Bay Area. It was a whirl wind four days visiting restaurant and chef partners both old and new, attending the Good Food Awards – the Oscar’s of the food world – and of course the Winter Fancy Food Show. Armed with prosciutti and salami for all, we kicked off #ProsciuttiForTutti with Thursday morning visits to both Bi Rite Markets. We caught up with our friends Sam, Chili, and Maria at 18 th Street and Faun, Daniel and Chris at Divisadero over the VERY first bites of Cesare Casella’s Prosciutti Speciale made with our heritage hams. This is THE first prosciutto of its kind – ready for the marketplace in Spring 2017! Imagine Prosciutto di Parma meets Prosciutto Toscano, but American made with heritage rare breed pigs!
Next up – over to Hayes Valley to see Taylor and his team at Fatted Calf. We cannot forget our tastes of their house made roast beef and kale salad with BACON. Mmmm. That Thursday night was an incredible celebration of all things HERITAGE! We co-hosted a party at Angelo Garro’s Renaissance Forge featuring… you guessed it… heritage PORK! No commodity pigs were allowed! Surrounded by the sweet smells of smoke and meat from Angelo Garro’s wood fired grill an incredible group of chefs, butchers and crafters came together for the evening. Angelo, Veronica and Beth of OMNIVORE of course! Renato and Dario of Baia Pasta, Taylor from Fatted Calf brought some of his cured meats, Bala and Pinky from Preferred Meats and Chris Howell from Cain Winery & Vineyard brought some of his incredible wines. Our longtime friend and Slow Food supporter, Julie Shaffer flew out from Atlanta to join us for a few days and Chef Ryan Denicola drove up from chi SPACCA in Los Angeles. Emilio Miti brought over his gorgeous green slicer for the prosciutto. Chef Josh Perez from Americano at Hotel Vitale was there along with Chef Miles Kline from The Cooperage Lafayette. Thomas and Mike from Roli Roti. Even the Good Food Awards team was in the house.
And Thursday was only the start of a truly FULL-filling trip. We went on to see Chef Nicolette at A16, Chef Rocky and Isaiah at A16 Rockridge, Chef Cal at Chez Panisse, Chef Alfredo at Rose’s Café, Chef Michael, Chris, Nick and Jillian at Cotogna, Chef Leslie at Universal Café, Chef Jonah at Oliveto, Chef Stephen and Kipp from Farmstead, Chef Joyce at Tosca Café and Chef Athman at Boxing Room. Antonio Fiasche of Chicago’s ‘Nduja Artisans was also in town as were Chef Zach and Nicole from CarneVino in Las Vegas. Did we mention Patrick’s beautiful introduction of Sarah Weiner, the Director of the Good Food Awards and the incredible call to action from Winona LaDuke? Plus powerhouse women Alice Waters and Nell Newman. Read more here!
Did we eat well? OF COURSE! Who fed us? EVERYONE! Did we make new friends? YES! And we learned from Cesare that prosciutto is more complex than we ever realized. The depth of flavor and texture change as you slice further into the leg… we can’t wait for more!
Ready for Los Angeles!
Under the call to action Come to the Table. All are Welcome Here, 1000 guests came together this past weekend in San Francisco to award 200 American artisans in 14 categories at the Good Food Awards.
There aren’t a lot of tricks for making a great roast. But we wanted to share with you one of our favorite methods of cooking a pork tenderloin, not only a house favorite here at Heritage but a never-fail crowd pleaser. When done right it is as elegant as filet mignon, the perfect foundation for dinner parties or just a date for two….
Dozens of varieties of chickens, ducks, geese, pigs, and cows are on the endangered species list as a direct consequence of industrial farming and food conglomerates. Because these are livestock and poultry, we don’t see them in the same way as we do more exotic animals in nature.