Don’t have a machine slicer at home? Not to worry, hand slicing is a can be a difficult skill to master but in reinforces the ancient roots of cured meat. It creates a unique experience compared to the machine generated paper thin slices and allows you to appreciate three-generations of curemaster knowledge that produce the perfect Surryano.
Category: Community Table
Every week the team at Heritage conducts taste comparisons on different brands and breeds of product alongside one another. This week we sampled seven steaks from across the country. The mix included 100 % grass-fed beef, grass fed/ grain finished beef, and even bison.
We were impressed with the 100 % grass fed beef, which often has a very different set of characteristics than contemporary palettes are accustomed to. The Rib eye and Porterhouse we tasted had notes of grass, tomato, and funk and were pleasantly gamey. We did find them to be less juicy than the grain finished, which we attributed to less marbling.
The spread included 3 sources of grass fed/ grain finished beef, two of which were dry aged. The dry aged steaks were nicely marbled, flavorful and sweet with notes of plum, blue cheese, cornflakes, and alfalfa. The umami even stood out in one of our non-dry aged Akaushi Rib eyes, which had notes of lime, funk, mushroom, clove, and blue cheese.
The bison we sampled was 100% grass fed. They had a nice texture, but the finish was metallic and bitter.
And on while on the subject of BACON (because we know that’s what you’re thinking about), during our last weekly lunch at the Heritage headquarters the team feasted on five varieties of bacon. We cooked up maple cured bacon, apple wood smoked bacon, cherry wood smoked bacon, and spicy habanero bacon.
Nose-to-tail doesn’t just mean eating all the cuts of the animal, it’s also about making the most of each of those cuts. In all aged culinary traditions, especially those with particularly rich peasant foods, the most delicious dishes are the result of several phases of cooking. This recipe is the prime example of creating a meal to be cherished from what would otherwise be considered an off-cut and discarded.
Mary O’Grady provided this recipe and is an old friend and the founder of Slow Food Austin in the early 2000s. Mack is the man behind the lens and drove a taxi in Austin for decades. Now they eat and travel the world.
1. Get a lot of ham fat, preferably in pieces about half the size of your palm or larger, and place them in a large saucepan with a big volume of water.
2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for a couple of hours.
3. Chill until fat congeals on the surface of the liquid.
4. Remove floating connective tissue and scrape off solidified fat into a storage container, or use it immediately .
6. Fat and broth can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Use refrigerated broth within 3 days.
Split Pea Soup with Ham
4 Tablespoons rendered ham fat or olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
Broth from rendering ham fat, plus enough water to bring the volume to 16 cups
2 pounds split peas, picked over to remove any foreign objects
1 ham bone
2 Tablespoons dried thyme
1. Melt ham fat over low heat in large soup pot or kettle, or heat olive oil.
2. Add chopped onion and diced carrots. Cover pot and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent.
3. Add ham bone, split peas, and ham broth/water mixture. Stir well.
4. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.
5. Cook over low heat until the peas are soft and the liquid has taken on the deep green color of the peas. Stir occasionally. Expect this to take at least two hours, but the soup really does not take much attention at his stage.
5. When peas are soft, add the thyme and simmer another 30 minutes.
6. Remove ham bone and cut off any remaining ham. Dice the ham and add it back to the pot. Discard the bone.
Salt and pepper can be added at the table according to the individual’s taste.
This soup freezes well.
We LOVE when our friends share their culinary adventures with us. Here are some great photos of an innovative way to cook-up the traditional American Thanksgiving centerpiece.
Dr. Judith Mazza is a long time supporter and wonderful photographer. She is President of the DC Chapter of La Chaîne des Rotisseurs, the world’s oldest and largest international food and wine society.
Send us your photos, recipes, and stories and we’ll feature them here at our Community Table, the place where we gather to share our thoughts and ideas and everything we learn from you!
Thanks Judy for these wonderful Heritage Turkey photos!
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….