Category: Pork


Spicy Chicharrones Guisados

Spicy Chicharrones Guisados

Our good friend Mary O’Grady has been an invaluable resource for cooking tips and recipes since we first met in the early days of Slow Food USA. Most recently Mary shared a recipe she developed for Chicharrones Guisados (stewed pork skin) using the extra bits of skin and fat trimmed from a holiday porchetta.

The perfect recipe for anyone who likes a little spicy kick!

Roberta's Pizza Ribs

Roberta’s Style Ribs

Roberta’s Pizza in Bushwick, Brooklyn has become famous for their legendary pies but our favorite dish is their Smoked Ribs. The secret is in the honey vinegar and togarashi sauce. Chef Carlo uses a simple salt and pepper rub before smoking the ribs. If you don’t have a smoker we recommend using this sauce on simple low and slow grilled ribs.

Ribs

Summer Rib Recipe

We think of ribs as the quintessential summer party fare – they stand up to a ton of flavor and are easily prepared ahead of time. Low and slow is the name of the game. In a pinch ribs can be cooked within an hour, but if you have the time to cook them for several you will be truly rewarded. Here’s our go-to technique for ribs that will set the bar to a whole new level.

Glazed Heritage Ham

Our Guide For The Perfect Ham

Glazed Heritage Ham
Honey Mustard Glazed Heritage Ham.

A beautifully cured ham is one of the most convenient, delicious, and versatile additions to any menu. Because cured hams are fully cooked they are able to be enjoyed hot or cold. This allows for easy entertaining while still offering a delicious and impressive centerpiece. Weighing about 11 pounds each, one bone-in ham will serve 18 guests, or as many as 26 when prepared as part of a family style meal.

A cured hams ability to stay fresh in your refrigerator longer then other meats also adds to its convenience and economic value. When sourced thoughtfully from responsible producers, cured ham is a sustainable alternative to deli meats and other daily convenience foods.

Our heritage hams are expertly prepared by the Fantasma family curemasters and have won numerous awards for their flavor and texture. The most important ingredient in our hams is time– both time spent on the farm where our heritage breeds are allowed to grow and mature naturally, and time in the curehouse, where they are patiently cared for and aged.

Our heritage hams are perfectly balanced in flavor and boast a rich buttery texture with a sweet and savory finish. All of our pork is from pasture raised, hormone and antibiotic free animals. The pigs are raised with care using traditional methods guaranteed to produce the very best tasting meat and are processed at a Certified Humane facility.

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

Follow our guide bellow for the perfect ham served hot or cold, and leave a comment with your favorite ham tips!

To Serve Warm

Gently warm the ham in a 325° oven with at least 1/2 cup of water, wine, or stock in the pan. You can cover the ham with foil to help ensure it doesn’t dry out. Using a meat thermometer, remove your ham from the oven at 130-135°. Remember, your ham is already cooked; you’re just warming it through.

If you are planning to use a glaze, wait until the last 15-30 minutes of cooking before applying. Any earlier and you’ll risk burning the sugars in the glaze before the ham has time to warm. Heat your ham low and slow, but don’t be afraid to crank it up at the end to get that nice crispy, caramelized bubbling glaze, always being sure to keep a watchful eye the whole time!

PRO TIP: Allow your ham to rest outside of the fridge before cooking. A room temperature ham will require less total cooking time resulting in a juicier ham! And don’t forget– always rest your meat before carving.

To Serve Cold

Our Maple Sugar Cured hams are fully cooked and ready to enjoy. If you are planning to serve your ham at room temperature simply allow it to rest covered on the counter until the initial chill from the fridge has subsided.

PRO TIP: Left over ham will keep in your fridge for 3 weeks, or it can be frozen for up to 6 months.

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.

 

Cesare Casella

Rosemary and Olive Pork Ribs by Chef Cesare Casella

Chef Cesare Casella shares his signature touch in this recipe for Rosemary and Olive Pork Ribs.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 pounds pork ribs, cut into individual ribs
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup white wine
1 (15-ounce) can Italian tomatoes, drained and cut in pieces
1/2 cup Italian black olives

 

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rub the ribs with salt and pepper. Place them in a roasting pan and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Drain any liquid the ribs give off.
2. Add the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and stir to coat the ribs. Return the pan to the oven until the garlic starts to soften, about 8 minutes, then add the white wine. When the wine reduces completely, after approximately 15 minutes, turn the rubs and add the tomatoes, distributing them evenly. Taste and adjust the seasoning for salt and pepper. Roast the ribs for another 25 minutes. Just before they are ready, add the olives. Serve immediately.

 

cesarecasellaChef Cesare Casella is best known as “the chef with the rosemary”. For the past 20 years, Chef Casella has been sharing his passion for authentic Italian food with Americans. Today, Chef Casella is the owner and executive chef of two Italian restaurants in New York City. He is the Dean of Italian Studies at the International Culinary Center and serves as Chief of the Department of Nourishment Arts at The Center for Discovery, where he works to raise awareness about sustainability and nutrition.

 

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