Category: Breeds


Pork Tenderloin: The Filet Mignon of Pork!

The filet mignon of pork! Silky, tender and easy to roast to perfection. Each pig only produces two pounds of delicate tenderloin. Prepared simply, marinated, or wrapped in bacon, every bite is a masterpiece!

Our breeds include Berkshire, Red Wattle, Duroc, Gloucestershire Old Spot, Large Black, and Tamworth. Each heritage breed boasts its own flavor profile, and we encourage you to try them all.

All our pork is from pasture raised, hormone and antibiotic free animals. They are raised with care using traditional methods guaranteed to produce the very best tasting meat and processed at a Certified Humane facility.

Two pieces 1.5-2lb total $33

Four pieces 3.5-4lb total $68

porkshanks

Braised Pork Shanks for Family Meal at Untitled in NYC

It’s always fun and interesting for us to see what the chefs in our network are cooking up for their off-the-menu Family Meals.  Our chefs from Untitled in NYC have provided the first recipe for our new Family Meal series. Although brining before cooking is not absolutely necessary, we have added their optional instructions on how to brine the shanks for incredible flavor and texture!

In the Kitchen with Executive Chef of Marta Restaurant, NYC, Joe Tarasco

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!

Chef Joe Tarasco travelled with us on our most recent farm tour.  Click here to see more videos from our trip!

Let the Hatching Begin!

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, now available nationally through Heritage Foods for the very first time.

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. Taylor tells us that “using just the hardwood, the smoke profile is too strong. Using the apple and cherry soften it. It is nicely aromatic, and the brown sugar gives it a really good depth. The cayenne keeps the sweet and salty at bay, gives it a nice note, and you can really taste the meat itself, you can tasted the high quality of the belly…there is nothing like a Heritage pig.”

Fatted Calf was one of Heritage Foods’ first customers on the West Coast — we met them back in 2004 when Patrick Martins was traveling, and they talked about responsible, traditional, humane farming, and reaching out to the like-minded.

“It was an East Bay connection,” recalls Taylor. “Alice Waters may have introduced us, and we immediately knew the pigs were better than anything we could find. At the time we were still doing just one farmer’s market every week, and then we were doing a few, and it just blew up…”

The Fatted Calf bacon is cured with the old-world salt-box method. “It’s a bombardment of cure – it gets massaged into the belly and sits in the box for a few days and gets brushed off. It isn’t scientific ‑ you put some cure down, put in the bellies, and repeat. It couldn’t get any simpler, it is super old-world, how bacon has been made for hundreds of years, but it takes a lot of time. A big company does thousands of pounds in an hour, with liquid injection… ours is more labor intensive, but you wind up with the superior product. There is no added water. When you fry it, it doesn’t disappear.”

These days the butcher’s case in the Fatted Calf has FIFTY different versions of artisanal charcuterie — salumi, sausages, pate, ham, roast beef. “We make everything in small batches and sell it out fast,” says Taylor. “Up until now our business has been a mile wide but an inch deep.”

Saving the World, One Ham at a Time

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.

Long-aged hams, salami, and other heritage breed, pasture-raised charcuterie is available directly from Heritage Foods USA.

Our Friend, Angelo Garro

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.

 

Dreamy Pork Tenderloin: Put the Skillet in the Oven

Winter is time to leave the oven on. Put a bird or a roast in the pan, surround it with a full compliment of herbs, garlic, and root vegetables, and let the house fill up with the gorgeous aroma of love. That’s why we love winter so much – the house always smells like food!

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.

Here’s what we do: Pre heat the oven to 375ºF. Pat the pork tenderloin dry and then hit it liberally with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Meanwhile, get your cast iron skillet out, coat it with olive oil, and get it hot enough to sear the tenderloin. Sear it on all sides – it takes a little work with the tongs, but make sure it is browned all the way around, turning it so it doesn’t burn. This could take about twelve minutes.

When it’s ready, put the skillet with the tenderloin in the oven. Give it about five minutes and turn the meat over once. While you’re at it, take its temperature. You want to reach an internal temp of 135 degrees for medium, just pink and not at all rare. You should be getting close. Keep an eye on it – it may only take a few more minutes, and don’t be afraid to take its temperature often.

When it’s ready, take it out, tent it with foil, and wait ten minutes before slicing into half inch slices. A two pound loin is enough for four people, or two with enough meat left over for a midnight snack and the world’s greatest sandwich the next day.

How to Cook: Your Heritage Bone-In Pork Loin

One of our favorite products and a true crowd pleaser is the 3-4lb. bone-in pork loin, also known as the 5-rib rack.  Delicious roasted whole or cooked as separate chops, this versatile cut can be enjoyed with varieties of vegetables, sauces, and chutneys!  Here’s a simple guide on how to cook this no-fuss roast to flavor perfection:

Let the 5-rib rack come to room temperature before cooking. Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Season the loin liberally with salt and pepper, or a personal favorite, Omnivore Salt.

Place the loin on a rack in a roasting pan with the fat side facing up and place the pan in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes. Rotate the roast so it can cook to an even golden brown color for another 15 minutes.

Turn the oven down to 350ºF. Check the temperature after 20 minutes of cooking – for a beautiful medium cook, the thermometer should read an internal temperature of 135ºF (although, the USDA recommends pork be cooked to an internal temperature of 145ºF).  Once your roast hits 135ºF, take it out of the oven and let it rest at room temperature for at least twenty minutes.  This will allow the juices in the roast to redistribute themselves and the roast will also continue cooking allowing the temperature to carry-over to around 140ºF.

After 20 minutes of resting, slice the roast and simply serve how you see fit.  On a cold January night, the bone-in pork loin is beautifully complimented by a side of creamy mashed potatoes and some crispy roasted brussels sprouts!

This roast serves 5-8 people.

Tip: Always take the roast out of the oven at 5-10 degrees less than the desired temperature to allow for carry-over cooking during the 20 minute resting period.

 

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