Category: Chef Recipes


Let’s Grind! The importance of eating ground meat.

The way you cut your meat reflects the way you live.

— Confucius

cow

Of an average eight-hundred-pound steer on the rail, I’ve seen between 20 and 80 percent turned into ground. It’s very simple: The more meat that is ground, the fewer pieces the farmer needs to worry about selling. There are a hundred ways to cut up a cow, but how great is it when the farmer only has to worry about a few?

This all goes for lamb as well — if domestic lamb is ever going to become a growth market (instead of our importing it from New Zealand), we need to eat more ground lamb. And it also goes for goats, a great protein source and a potential profit center for independent family farmers because goats are low-maintenance livestock.

You can even grind your own meat and bring the movement right into your home. Why not? Become an expert mixologist! A good grinder will bring new life to any meat. In the meantime, try our delicious ground beef or combo breed packs!

Our Top 3 favorite ways of using Heritage Foods USA ground meat.

To defrost, submerge in pot of cold water (about 20 minutes).

1.    Season ground meat with Omnivore’s Salt and mix together. Form into patties and add to hot pan (no oil) on very high heat. Brown the first side for just a few minutes then flip burger to brown the other side. Cook until just burgundy red on the inside (just a couple of minutes if flat patty). Add to hamburger buns that have been toasted with American cheese singles on each side.

2.    Start boiling water for pasta. Sautee a nice pile of garlic shavings in a small amount of olive oil until golden brown. Add tomato sauce and 3 chopped anchovies over low heat. Meanwhile, brown your ground meat over high heat in hot pan (no oil) just for a few minutes until evenly browned. Add to sauce and cook for 10 minutes. Serve over pasta (we recommend Baia Pasta!). Add salt and pepper to taste.

3.    Combine one and two and make two main courses for dinner.

For the sustainable food movement to make an impact on America’s most unhealthy eating habits, we are going to have to play the game of convenience and infiltrate the territory traditionally staked out by McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, and their ilk. The above meals take a few minutes to make and boast the lowest portion cost in the food world.

TIE BABY, TIE! The Subtle Art of Tying a Roast.

So you just bought a beautiful piece of meat and you want to roast it. What do you need to know?

There are two main reasons for tying (or trussing) a roast. The first of course, because you stuffed it and you’d like for all that delicious stuffing to stay exactly where you put it. The second reason though, may be less obvious.

Heat has a beautiful way of breaking things down. When you expose your roast to heat, the fat and connective tissues start to break down. While this process provides for a juice and tender final result, it takes away from the original structure of the meat. What was once a beautiful, robust hunk a meat ends up looking flat and kinda sad– not to mention that its new irregular shape will cause it to cook unevenly, leaving you with side bits that are over done and dried out.

Trussing your roast with cotton butchers twine is the perfect way to ensure a juicy and beautiful final result.

Chef de Cuisine Matt Abdoo from Del Posto Ristorante recently taught us how to truss a roast using the classic approach known as the continuous knot technique.

Don’t worry, we tried it ourselves and we promise it’s easier then you think!

Be sure to leave any questions in the comments section, and GOOD LUCK!

 

 

Union Square Cafe

A Heritage Chicken Cacciatore Recipe from Union Square Cafe’s Carmen Quagliata!

Union Square Cafe’s Executive Chef and Partner, Carmen Quagliata, is passionate about his native Italian cuisine. Carmen’s culinary style was formed by the Sicilian matriarchs of his family, who made sausage and bread by hand and grew pole beans from seeds carried across the Atlantic by their Italian kin.

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with recipes from Heritage Chef Steve Pope

Pope-Photo-235x300

Chef Steve Pope knows that American culinary traditions are tied to preserving Heritage Animals.These animals get to live as they are supposed to with plenty of outdoor space and time to grow and develop. This means a more flavorful bird, but it also means relearning how to cook a real chicken. He has worked with our friends at Good Shepherd Poultry to craft recipes specifically for Heritage Chicken and Turkey.
 
We have invited chef Steve to share some Cinco de Mayo inspired recipes this week. From our table to yours, please enjoy!

West Texas Chicken Soup

While living some 20 + years in San Angelo Texas just north of the Mexican border I discovered quickly the importance of Mexican celebrations, and Cinco De Mayo was at the top of the list. Fort Concho, San Angelo Texas is considered a National historical site. And the parades ground were used for many Celebrations. During the “fiesta” there were many booths set up with foods indigenous to the area. Along with the ubiquitous taco, burrito and empanadas was a very popular offering of various Mexican soups. Traditionally the soup was simmered throughout the day. Using large cast iron pots the women would tend to their concoction until it had reached perfection. I have adapted this recipe using the electric crock pot and while the atmosphere of a traditional West Texas Cinco De Mayo may not be the same, the “autentico sabor” is,……. right down to using the Heritage bird.

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients
  • (2 lbs) Good Shepherd Barred Rock or New Hampshire chicken parts ( I save the white meat for other dishes.)
  • 2 small cans of diced green chilies
  • 1 (15oz) can black beans
  • 8 oz frozen corn
  • 1 cup salsa (Yes even Pace will do)
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions
  • 2 large garlic cloves; minced
  • • ½ jalapeno; seeded and diced
  • 15 oz. water
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ of a lime; juiced
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Kosher sea salt and pepper to taste

 

Instructions
  1. In a heated skillet with 2 tablespoons of Canola oil, lightly brown chicken parts
  2. Place jalapeno, green chilies, black beans, corn and garlic cloves in the bottom of crock pot.
  3. Pour in broth.
  4. Place chicken pieces on top and season with spices.
  5. Pour 1 cup of salsa and lime juice over top of chicken and cover.
  6. Cook 4-6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low.
  7.  About 30 minutes before finished, transfer chicken pieces to a separate bowl and shred..
  8. If mixture in crock pot seems thin, add 1 tablespoon flour to ¼ cup of broth and blend into pot.
  9.  Return shredded chicken to crock pot and cover for final 30 minutes.
  10. Top chicken soup with cheese, cilantro, green onions and a dollop of sour cream.
Hamburguesas de Pollo Mexicanas

Everyone loves hamburgers and this Mexican version using Ground Heritage Chicken can be a hit for any Cinco De Mayo celebration. By using chicken in place of the traditional beef you are cutting down on the calories and increasing the nutrition. The addition of egg water, and bread crumbs insures a moist and delicious burger.

Ingredients
  • 3 pounds ground Heritage Chicken
  • 3 onions, minced, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 pound shredded pepperjack cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped and juices strained
  • 2 bunches cilantro, chopped
  • 1 serrano chile pepper, minced, divided
  • 3 limes, juiced, divided
  • 5 avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 12 hamburger buns or flat bread
  • Original recipe makes 12 servings

 

Instructions
  1.  Mix ground chicken, half the onions, bread crumbs, water, pepper jack cheese, and eggs in a bowl; form into 12 patties.
  2. Combine tomatoes, half the remaining onion, cilantro, half the serrano chile pepper, and half the lime juice; mix well to make pico de gallo. Cover and chill in refrigerator.
  3. Mash avocados, remaining onions, remaining serrano chile pepper, and remaining lime juice together in a bowl to make guacamole. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat; pan-fry poultry patties to desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Assemble each sandwich by placing a burger in each bun; top burger with guacamole, and pico de gallo.

Buen comer!

The Heritage Chef Steve Pope

What Separates Heritage Chickens From the Rest of the Pack?

What really separates Heritage Breeds of chicken from the rest of the pack, and why is it so important to help preserve breed diversity?

Barred Rock Hen.
Barred Rock Hen.

What is most remarkable about the chicken is that every one of the approximately 12 billion that populate the planet earth are all descended from the Red junglefowl (gallus gallus) of southern Asia.

Of course, counting how many chickens exist is no easy task considering that chicken just surpassed beef as the most eaten meat in the United States. Chickens also live in backyards and rooftops in every country in the world — they only need a small space to provide us with eggs and meat. Sadly many varieties of chicken are on the endangered species list. This cultural loss began in the 1950s but sped up in the 1970s.

Frank Reese and Good Shepherd Ranch are part of an underground movement to preserve old genetics. Today Good Shepherd with Heritage Foods USA is the only company selling 100% USDA inspected factory farm free chicken meat. This means no genetic meddling took place other than preservation of what real chickens once were. No one knows what real chickens are like better than Frank who has been in the business for over 50 years, since he was a little boy. He knows the taste and composition of every chicken that ever walked on American soil. His farm is a museum of the past and if good sense prevails, also the future! Of course no antibiotics are needed on Good Shepherd Ranch because the animals are strong and capable of reproducing on their own. These are chickens with 10,000 year histories.

In an effort promote heritage chickens, Heritage Foods USA is starting to sell ground chicken. This ground can be purchased as part of our livestock variety packs and soon by itself. The delicious ground meat is available in one-pound bags and consists only of heritage birds. Our goal is to increase the market for heritage breeds of chicken, allowing Frank and neighboring farms room to increase various breed populations.

Our whole chicken program continues each season with a rotation of all the breeds that Frank dutifully raises on his ranch. In 2014 the Rhode Island White, Leghorn, Minorca, and White Cornish will have been celebrated on dinner tables around the country. I asked Frank what the differences were between them and he answered, “It’s as big a difference as a Great Dane and a Chihuahua!”  We are proud to feature each breed by itself every 3 months as well as breed variety packs that allow you to compare and contrast the flavors and shape of the birds. For a full list of breeds we will feature over the coming months see below. Together we hope to turn the tide against monoculture in the American poultry industry.

Working to change the way Americans eat chicken is no easy task. The industry is dominated by a single variety of chicken that got its start in the 1950s but really became a central actor on the American stage in the 1970s when the folks at Tyson met with the folks at McDonalds to develop the Chicken McNugget. The nugget provided Tyson with a stable and consistent market while also relieving them of the pressures of the fresh poultry market — nuggets could be frozen. Fresh chickens as a dominant part of the industry now became a thing of the past. The nugget created the need for the development of a new industrial hybrid chicken broiler that made the most amount of meat using the least amount of feed. Another goal was that the birds produce almost exclusively white meat even though nature does not do that on its own.

The industry scoured flocks for abnormal candidates to breed together to develop the characteristics they desired, even though it has ultimately been unhealthy for the species. When the industry came across one of nature’s mistakes — say, a chicken so top-heavy with meat that it could barely walk—they pulled it from the flock, not to kill it in an effort to protect the group from bad genes, but to ensure that its abnormal genetics became part of the next year’s harvest. The misfits were cataloged and combined — corporate farms now consist of entire populations who’s skeletal, cardiovascular, and immune systems can’t keep up with their genetic engineering. Long before they got to the crowded feeding ops, these animals were doomed to a life of pain with a potpourri of scurrilous genetics. But boy, do they grow fast! A five-pound chicken has gone from taking 16 weeks to only six weeks to fully grow, but many are on the verge of collapse when they arrive on the kill floor. These are dead end animals.

Thankfully farmers like Frank resisted the trend. His farm consists of dozens of breeds neatly divided in pens. Frank works to improve each genetic line that he has acquired over the past decades. Each breed tastes different but they all boast more dark meat than industrial cousins. They also look like a chicken with thinner breast lines, and a strong build.

The flavor of the meat is intense and the fibers in the meat are very strong and difficult to break down. Heritage chickens must be cooked very low and very slow. Without this technique the birds will be tough. Moisture must also a part of cooking process or else they dry out over the long cooking time.

The breeds Frank raises include Columbian Wyandotte, Rhode Island Whites, Black Leghorns, Golden Penciled Hamburg, Dark Brahma, Silver Laced Wyandotte, White Laced Red Cornish, Dark Cornish, White Cornish, White Jersey Giants, Black Jersey Giants, White Leghorns, Buff Leghorns, Blue Andalusian, Barred Plymouth Rock, Ancona, Light Brown Leghorn, Dark Brown Leghorn, Silber Leghorn, Black Minorca, White Face Black Spanish, Silver Penciled Hamburg, Plymouth Rocks and New Hampshires among many more. We hope you will try each one and help us lay the path for a return of taste and dignity for our animals.

Hen standing in the sunshine at Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch.
Hen standing in the sunshine at Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch.
Jersey Giant from Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch.
Jersey Giant from Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch.
Columbian Wyndotte from Good Shepard Poultry Ranch.
Columbian Wyndotte from Good Shepard Poultry Ranch.
Barred Rock Hen on Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch.
Barred Rock Hen on Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch.
Hens forge together at Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch.
Hens forge together at Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch.

Brief History of the Ham and a Recipe for Brown Sugar and Mustard Glazed Ham

The ham is everywhere — in every deli in America — but what’s its real deal?

Hams weigh about 30 pounds. Every pig has two hams on him or her. For an average sized pig (about 200 lbs), the hams represent 1/3 of their overall weight. That’s a big portion, especially when you consider that the center cut pork loin only weighs about 8lbs for a total of 16lb per animal. It’s easy to understand the reasoning behind the axiom that pig profits go the way of the ham.

Hams are part of the hind section of the pig, and should not be called a leg since the leg could also come from the front shoulder. The hind shank is often left on the ham adding even more weight to the total product (hind shanks are about 3lbs each and fore shanks about 1.5lbs). In Europe the ham commands the highest per pound price on the animal while the loin commands the lowest. In the USA it’s the exact opposite. Now bacon has become one of the most expensive cuts.

At Heritage most of our 400 hams a week go to the curemaster Sam Edwards who has a family tradition of curing them that goes back almost 90 years. In 1926 S. Wallace Edwards, young captain of the Jamestown-Scotland ferryboat, began serving ham sandwiches to his ferry passengers …. sandwiches made from ham, salt-cured and hickory smoked, on his family farm. The demand for his ham grew so quickly that Captain Edwards soon began curing and selling hams on a full-time basis.

Today, Sam’s new Surry line has met with critical success thanks to an aging process that takes about 400 days. Heritage Foods USA also cures its own hams, bone-in or bone-out, using an injection cure that has been perfected by our partners at Paradise Locker Meats.

Mario Fantasma with his sons Nick and Louis
Mario Fantasma with his sons Nick and Louis

Injection cured hams are for everyday ham sandwiches or for breakfast with a sunny side up egg on top. Dry cured and smoked hams are the big ol’ legs of ham that sit on the bars or hang from the ceilings in pretty much every restaurant or hole-in-the-wall bar in Italy and Spain. Most hams in America are injection cured. But a few producers still dry age and smoke in the American tradition: Sam Edwards, Allan Benton, Nancy Newsome, Burgers Smokehouse and Finchville are among the top in their field.

How did the ham come to be the ambassador of dry curing around the world? The answer as with so many food traditions is that it came out of necessity. Typically when a pig was slaughtered, it was not all consumed in one sitting. As a result curing became an important process used to preserve the meat for future consumption. Because of the size of the ham it made sense that it was the chosen cut.

Pig breeds of years past had more marbling — marbling makes for better curing by helping with the fermentation process (marbling gives it the “twang”), as well as preventing the meat from drying out. This characteristic makes our heritage breeds  especially suited for the curing process.

Easter and Christmas are hams’ biggest days, and as gastronomes around the country find new ways to incorporate ham into their menus we can’t help but love a good traditional glazed ham.

For the perfect balance of sweet and tangy try a simple recipe for Brown Sugar and Mustard Glazed Ham this year.

Mix equal parts Brown Sugar with Dijon Mustard (about a 1 1/4 cups of each will make enough glaze to coat a full ham) and add a Teaspoon of Ground Clove for added character and depth.

Coat the ham about 30 to 60 minutes before the end of cooking. Be sure to check on the ham as the glaze caramelizes to ensure the sugars don’t begin to burn.

Serve and enjoy! Happy Holidays.

 

How to French a Rack of Lamb

In butchery, “frenching” is the process of removing all fat, meat, and connective tissue from the rib bones on a rack roast.

Personally, I like to leave all that stuff on when I’m cooking lamb. I love the crispy, fatty bits on the bones, but for the purposes of presentation, frenching is often preferred.

Basic Trimming:

A rack of lamb consists of a loin attached to a series of rib bones. When untrimmed, this loin is covered with a thick layer of fat and connective tissue that should be removed before cooking.

Begin by using your fingers to find the natural seam between the top layer of fat and the rack. Slowly peel away the layer. You may use a paper towel to help grip and a small knife to help free any stubborn connective tissue.

The fat should separate along a natural fault line leaving a thin 1/8th-inch to 1/4th-inch layer next to the meat. Be careful not to get carried away when trimming. The more fat left on a lamb rack, the more flavor will come through!

At this step, your lamb rack is fully trimmed ready to cook. To french the rack, follow the steps below demonstrated for us by Phil Lewis, Chef du Cuisine at Fat Radish.

How to French:

Using your knife, score the membrane along the center of each bone. Place the tip of the knife against the center of the bone about an inch and a half away from the cut end and pull the knife slowly and firmly down away from the eye of the loin. Repeat along each bone.

photo 1 (6)

 

Grip the meat and pull away from the ribs slowly and firmly. You can use a paper towel to get a better grip. the meat should pull cleanly away from the bones. Continue working each rib until all are exposed.

photo 3 (7)

 

Flip the rack over and use your knife to cut away the flap. Discard excess fat, or render if desired.

 

photo 2 (9)

 

If you’re really lucky, the fat and membrane will come cleanly off the bones, leaving them bare and pearly white, but most of the time, little bits of meat and fat will remain behind. These can be removed with the help of a small pairing knife.

photo 1 (8)

 

 

 

To divide rack into smaller chops, stand it on end, starting from the exposed rib end, cut between ribs with a smooth, single stroke. If you don’t get through in one stroke, pick up your knife, photo 2 (8)place it back in the seam, and pull it again. Try to avoid sawing back and forth, which will create jagged edges.

That’s it! It may seem intimidating at first but it just takes a little practice.

Leave any questions in the comments section bellow.

Happy Cooking!

Mediterranean Lamb Meatball Recipe from The Meatball Shop!

When the Meatball Shop first opened THIS was their very first daily special. 4 years, and 5 new locations later we still get excited when they bring them back! The raisins and walnuts give these meatballs a subtle sweet and earthy quality that complements perfectly our heritage lamb. Make these into mini balls and pass them around at your next party, or try our favorite– Smash ’em between two pieces of crusty bread for a quick slider!

Meatballs

2 TABLESPOONS OLIVE OIL
2 POUNDS GROUND LAMB
3 LARGE EGGS
1 CUP DARK RAISINS
½ WALNUTS, FINELY CHOPPED
½ CUP CHOPPED FREASH PARSLEY
½ CUP CHOPPED FRESH MINT
½ BREAD CRUMBS
2 TEASPOONS SALT
1 TEASPOON FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle the olive oil into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and use your hands to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Roll the mixture into round, golf-ball-size meatballs (about 1½ inches; about 24 balls), making sure to pack the meat firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being careful to line them up snugly and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. The meatballs should be touching one another.
  • Roast for 20 minutes, or until firm and cooked through.
  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes before servings.

Grandma Litke’s Sunday Baked Chicken by Chef Steve Pope

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

Ingredients

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
sliced onions
1 cup water

 

Directions

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)

 

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