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!
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!
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.
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….
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…
This Holiday Season, Go Big with a Classic Heritage Centerpiece!
The biggest occasions deserve the best meats in America. Like all of our meats, our centerpieces are raised humanely, on pasture without antibiotics or hormones, and produce the best natural flavor and texture you have ever experienced. These are not your grandma’s pot roast — our beef ribeye, rack of lamb, tenderloin, porchetta, and cured hams are the best of their kind, easy to cook, and sensational to serve for family dinner or the most elegant holidays. And did we mention the leftovers?
Know Your Roasts!
Some meats just seem more festive than others, but you can always count on pleasing the crowd with a Heritage roast or centerpiece. We find beef tenderloin, aka filet mignon, to be perfect for elegant dinner parties. Pork tenderloin, too, is an exquisite focal point for any occasion. Our custom made, hand-rolled porchetta, is a rare treat — crispy and rich and an impressive showstopper for even the meat connoisseur. Leg of lamb, and the celebrated rack of lamb, are perhaps the most festive centerpieces of them all, fit for a royal banquet! Of course cured hams and whole chickens never fail to please, whether it’s a holiday, Sunday dinner, or just a weeknight treat. The best part is that they are all easy to prepare — and spectacular to present!
Prepare Simply for Spectacular Results
A ten pound leg of lamb may seem like a challenge next to a 14 oz. pork chop, but we are here to tell you, don’t worry! Here is the best advice from the Heritage Team and our network of chefs:
There is no wrong way to cook great meat, but we recommend keeping it simple. Just use salt and pepper and your favorite herbs as primary seasoning. We love beef with just salt and pepper, but lamb also loves rosemary and thyme. Pork, too, loves a creative touch, but remember: this is the very best heritage meat in the world, and the flavor is already there, a product of the best breeds, farmed traditionally. There is nothing to hide, the taste says it all.
We were doing some cocktail-napkin math and figured that we were about to sell The Meatball Shop their one millionth pound of pork, and that was worth some kind of award — so we gave them a couple of pens and a tote bag. But what we really want to do is have a meatball parade, because they deserve it: meatballs are going to save the earth.
New York City’s Meatball Shop has become a fixture in the world’s most volatile dining landscape, where restaurants open and close every day. Seven years after opening their first location, proprietors Dan Holzman, Michael Chernow, and Daniel Sharpe can now boast six locations (with a new locale opening soon), and in the coming weeks will purchase their one-millionth pound of pasture-raised, antibiotic-free Heritage pork for use in their signature product.
The true key to sustainable livestock farming is using every part of the animal, and meatballs are the perfect model for that.
Each pig generates about twenty pounds of trim — the art of butchery naturally creates leftovers — a bit of rib, a bit of sirloin, some of the best loin. And every unsold piece, every ounce of it, goes into the trim pile to be used as ground meat.
The Meatball Shop moves more Heritage breed pork than almost anyone in the country, every ounce is sourced from rare and Heritage breeds including Gloucestershire Old Spot, Red Wattle, Tamworth, and Berkshire. These are the best pigs on earth. It’s crazy because dinner at the Meatball Shop costs around ten bucks. It’s the very definition of affordable sustainability.
The Meatball Shop was founded by Chef Dan Holzman — whose resume boasts a James Beard Scholarship and tenures at some of the West Coast’s best restaurants including The Campton Place, A16, and Jardiniere — and his long-time friend Mike Chernow, a legendary New York bartender who graduated from the French Culinary Institute with honors. They were soon joined by Executive Chef Dan Sharp, whose official bio claims that he was both a Mexican drug lord and a truffle smuggler before joining The Meatball Shop team. Their mix-and-match menu of meatballs, served in a warm and convivial environment, was an instant hit.
“Using family-farmed, Heritage meat is better on every level,” says Holzman. “From the very beginning we’ve sold only the best sourced meatballs in the world. Good, clean, humanely sourced meat is the key to a great meatball. First, it tastes better, and then there is the environmental impact. Our customers care about that as well. Knowing that we are responsible is important to them.”
Making meatballs creates job. Meatballs protect the environment —a lot of land that might otherwise be developed is being farmed cleanly and traditionally — and promotes bio-diversity. We breed only Heritage breeds of pork that would be extinct if every restaurant relied solely on industrially farmed meat.
The Meatball Shop in many ways is the solution to the dilemma posed by Michael Pollan – Can we eat meat sustainably, and can it be accessible for everyone? The answer is yes. The meatball is such a populist food, it is inexpensive and delicious – the meatball is the food of the people! Truly, from every angle, MEATBALLS WILL SAVE THE WORLD!!!!