They’re back in time for summer!
The famous, the one and only, Route 40 Roadkill Roosters!
Marczyk’s best-selling semi-boneless chickens will be in the stores Memorial weekend. Boulder Natural, the purveyors of our Colorado chickens, have spatchcocked fresh chicken, marinated them in spices and oil, and they’re ready for the grill.
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- Korean Style BBQ
- Southwestern Style
- Garlic Rosemary
- Balsamic Herb
Get all up in Our Grill!
Burger Night is Back!
11th Anniversay Weekend
Sunday Pancake Breakfast!
Tags: all natural meats, burger night, denver, Marczyk Fine Foods, Niman, pancake breakfast | Post Your Comments »
So many ways to describe meat today, here are some answers:
The big thing about grass fed - we call it finished - is how the animal ends its life. All beef (well almost) starts on grass and roams the prairie munching away on clean green grass. Then about 3-6 months (at least in Niman’s case) before the animal is set to be slaughtered it is moved onto a feedlot where it it eats a mix of wheat, corn and soy (mostly corn). This grain mixture fattens the animal up and allows the marbling in the meat that is so sought after. However grain costs money, and grass on the prairie is virtually free. So why is grass finished as expensive as feedlot finished?
Grass finished beef never gets moved to a feedlot. The animals spend their entire lives eating grass on the prairie. This is great for the animal who lives a more peaceful life. What the consumer will find in grass finished is that the animals don’t get very big because they never eat grain. The other challenging part about grass finished is that the animals have to be moved quickly from prairie to slaughter because they can’t eat anything after they leave the ranch. This is an example why we prefer to call this beef grass finished since virually all beef is grass fed at some point in their lives.
Bison (or buffalo) is a great alternative to beef. Bison is super flavorful, slightly gamey and has less fat and calories with more protein and iron than beef or chicken. Bison is the preferred name to differentiate between the water buffalo and the American buffalo. Our Bison is raised in Wyoming and Nebraska and are finished on grain just like cattle for the last 100 days of their lives. There is still enough fat in Bison steaks to make them very flavorful.
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“All natural” Beef
All natural refers to the meat after it has been processed. The USDA defines it as a product that does not “contain any artificial flavor or flavoring, coloring ingredient, or chemical preservative.”
Marczyk all natural beef: In addition to the USDA requirements, we require that animals are raised humanely and sustainably, never given hormones or antibiotics, and fed a vegetarian diet. And it tastes great! For more info: http://www.nimanranch.com/Index.aspx
“All Natural Pork”
All natural refers to the meat after it has been processed. The USDA defines it as a product that does not “contain any artificial flavor or flavoring, coloring ingredient, or chemical preservative.”
Marczyk all natural pork: In addition to the USDA requirements, we require that animals are raised humanely and sustainably, never given hormones or antibiotics, and fed a vegetarian diet. Our pork is raised outside and allowed to root and roam. It tastes like pork used to!
For more info: www.nimanranch.com.
“Free Range” Chicken
USDA definition: “Producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside.”
Marczyk free range chickens: We search for farmers who practice the highest definition of the law, and actually provide a natural outdoor space for the birds, not those who follows the letter of the law, and opens a door to a concrete patch so the birds can go outdoors.
Antibiotic free, all vegetarian feed.
First let’s clear up the hormone question: it is illegal to give pigs and chickens hormones in the US. Antibiotics are allowed, and plenty of them: “The proportion of antibiotics sold in the United States each year that go to animals…is 80 percent. 28.8 million pounds.” Maryln McKenna, Wired Science. Not good for you, or them. All vegetarian feed means the animals were not fed any animal by-products: beaks, bones, etc. This helps reduce the spread of disease.
Prarie foraged chickens.
From farmer Dallas Gilbert in Bennett, CO. They are outside and inside, pecking around in the dirt in addition to their feed. These chickens are a little smaller, and have a very meaty texture.
What’s the difference between Marczyk’s turkeys and conventional?
Annually, the U.S. produces 220 million conventional turkeys that are raised in dark and cramped conditions within high density confinement barns. They are bred for large breasts and often grow so large in as little as 2 months that their legs buckle under the pressure of their own weight. They are continuously fed a diet that has an added antibiotic designed to promote “health” within the flocks. No growth hormones are allowed in the use of poultry production per USDA regulation; however, these added antibiotics can mimic the growth hormone function. These turkeys are typically injected with water and sodium phosphates to provide flavor and enhance tenderness. Marczyk’s birds are none of the above.
Do they really taste differently?
We say the truth is in the taste, and these birds are no exception. You’ll find Marczyk’s all-natural classic turkeys to be free of the slightly chemically taste of supermarket birds. If you want to go one step further, you can brine the bird in a salt and sugar water mixture. The heritage birds have a rich, deep turkey flavor, not gamy like a wild bird, but “turkeyer”.
Do I need to cook the Heritage turkeys differently?
Yes. Heritage turkeys are leaner and smaller than broad-breasted whites, so cook them fast at higher temperatures. Heritage turkeys should be cooked at 425-450 degrees F until the internal temperature reaches 140-150 degrees F. Butter or oil can be added under the breast skin to add moisture during roasting. We have also had great success with confiting the legs and roasting the breast, which of course requires taking them apart.
You won’t need to cover the breast with foil to keep it from drying out while the rest of the bird cooks. The smaller breasts on the heritage birds create a better balance between the dark meat and white meat, which means roasting a bird to perfection is much easier since white meat cooks quicker than the dark meat.
What do those terms on the turkey label really mean?
Here’s a guide from Bon Appetit 2006.
Free-range A turkey with access to the outside. According to Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, many free range birds do not take advantage of their outside opportunities. So does it really make a difference? We feel the general protocol of raising a free range bird vs. a confinement bird goes far beyond whether they step outside or not. The fact they have a chance says a lot about how that bird is being treated.
Fresh Technically, a turkey that’s never been kept below 26°F. Most Thanksgiving birds are processed in September and October but are still labeled fresh in November.
Frozen A bird that’s stored below 0°F.
Natural A bird that contains no artificial ingredients or added color and is minimally processed. Amazingly, this doesn’t mean it hasn’t been treated with antibiotics.
Organic A turkey that has been certified by a USDA-accredited agency. The term organic ensures that the bird was raised on organic feed, was free-range, and wasn’t treated with any antibiotics.
What if I don’t want turkey? Marczyk’s offers a wide range of other birds: Pheasant, Quail, Duck, and Goose are all available by pre-order by calling 303 894-9499 to order.
Other things to consider:
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- Do bring a nice bottle of wine to the host’s house. And if they do not use it that evening, don’t take it back with you. No lie a girl I know does this.
- Don’t eat the crispy turkey skin when you think no one is looking. A - Some one is always looking. B - Everyone else is doing it and you’ll end up with a bald bird.
- Do offer to clean up afterwards.
- Don’t call the host the night before with a list of your allergies unless it is an allergy that will kill you. If there is something you are suspect of (oysters in the stuffing?), spread it out on the plate and it looks like you ate some.
- If you are doing the cooking and you tell people dinner is at 4:00, then serve dinner at 4:00. If the wine continues to flow and there is no food, you may be looking at a holiday version of “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
Day Do’s and Don’t:
My first experience with Green Chile (caps intentional and used out of reverence) was about 20 years ago. I had moved to Denver from Massachusetts; the only chili I knew was the red kind with lots of overworked finely ground beef and kidney beans. It was my first autumn in the southwest, and I was captivated by this new scent of roasting chilies wafting from the roadside stands with giant signs proclaiming: “Hatch Green Chile War!” Instantly, I was like a dog on point. I could smell chilies being roasted from a mile away. All of a sudden I was pursuing Green Chiles and Green Chile stews of all kinds, and they were everywhere. It was like hearing a new word for the first time. Among my friends there was much discussion and debate; I quickly joined the fray…thick or thin, tomatoes or tomatillos, potatoes, or flour, oregano or cumin, loin or shoulder. How could I have lived twenty-some years without even a hint of such an exquisite and complex thing? Such was the plight of a turtle-necked New Englander. I quickly developed a self-proclaimed sophisticated Green Chile palate, and, being a hands-on guy, I set out to make the perfect Green Chile. What I really learned over the last fifteen or so years is that Green Chile is as individual as driving, sex, or grilling…everyone has an opinion, and if you ask them they’ll tell you that theirs is the best. Here’s my opinion (with variations on the theme).
This so-called master recipe is the basic core of a traditional (my opinion again) southwestern Green Chile Stew sometimes referred to as New Mexico Green Chile Stew, or Pueblo Green Chile Stew. The recipe has as many variations as there are stars in the Taos night sky. I always serve mine with plenty of freshly browned warm tortillas. This is comfort food at its very best.
This recipe serves 6 with great leftovers
The Pork: I use pork shoulder (another name for this is butt) cut into 1 inch cubes. I use shoulder because 1) the price is right, and 2) it has far superior taste to loin cuts when cooked in this method. I use Niman Ranch pork from Marczyk Fine Foods which comes from heirloom breeds of pigs which are raised outdoors: not in confinement conditions. This yields a superior tasting pork (yes it even matters in a stew) and more highly developed connective tissue which lends an unmistakable pleasing texture.
The Green Chilies: I always opt for a milder Chile like Anaheims or Big Jims for this recipe, because the longer you cook the stew the hotter it gets. Plus, you can always add heat with crushed red pepper or cayenne, but you can’t take it away. I have had many Green Chile stews that were simply too hot to enjoy because someone tried to perfect the heat with their choice of Chilies. My opinion is that you should enjoy a slow steady gentle burn in your mouth–which makes you want to eat more.
The Recipe: (remember, this is peasant food, so don’t stress)
- 2 pounds pork shoulder cut into one inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 medium yellow onions: coarse dice
- 3 cloves finely minced garlic
- 1 pound peeled and diced tomatillos OR the juice of one lime
- 2 pounds flame roasted Green Chilies peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1 pound very ripe tomatoes of any color: coarse dice (canned is fine)
- 4 cups pork, chicken, or vegetable stock, or water
- Kosher salt, pepper, and heating agents such as CRP, or cayenne to taste (add toward end)
Classic additional ingredients/variations:
2 pounds cubed potato or 2 tablespoons corn starch blended in ½ cup water or 3 tablespoons AP flour blended in ½ cup water.
Season pork thoroughly with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a heavy shallow skillet until it just begins to glisten; add pork in small batches and brown deeply on all sides. The pork must not be crowded-we use a shallow skillet for the same reason-a deep one will steam and not brown the pork. Take your time and complete this step correctly-it makes all the difference. Reserve browned pork and save a bit of the rendered fat for the rest of the recipe. In a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven gently sweat onions, garlic, and tomatillos in a some of the rendered pork fat (mo’ fat mo’ flavor). Cook until all vegetables are soft. Add the rest of the ingredients including the pork and cook until the pork is fork-tender…usually about 1-2 hours. About 45 minutes before you want to serve the Green Chile Stew add potato or other thickeners if desired also, and season to taste. Serve with warm flour tortillas.
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You may think you like them, until you see how they’re made.
Might be true for some, but not for us. On a recent tour of Continental Sauasge, a family-run Denver company, we were blown away by how clean and pure these products are.
- No fillers
- All natural meats
- Natural casings
- And even organic fruits and vegetables. I mean, who uses organic in a sausage?
Continental sausages curing
Continental ready to ship
Marczyk’s carries several kinds, including a breakfast apple and chicken, Avalanche Ale Beer brats, smoked brat, and the kid’s fave, mac ‘n cheese furters. Come try them! http://www.continentalsausage.com/history.shtml.
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It’s the dawn of a new year, and with that comes more than just little-used fitness memberships and NFL playoffs. Each and every new year brings out the pundits. The predictors. The soothsayers. (Here’s a joke I just made up: Who does a soothsayer go to see when he has a sooth-ache? Answer: a Transcendentist.)
And who are we to miss this train? Herein lies (in no particular order) our picks for this years biggest, baddest, and most trendy food trends.
Healthier kid food
As parents, and even kids, become more conscious of what they eat, more and more healthy choices aimed at the ten-and-under crowd will make their way to grocery shelves. We’re not saying it won’t still be frozen or convenience food, but don’t be surprised to see some healthier, more natural selections.
Portion diets rather than elimination diets (i.e. Atkins, South Beach)
Remember when the Atkins diet was all the craze? Well people know now apparently what they didn’t know then. Eliminating entire food groups from a diet is simply not healthy, and can even be dangerous. While still avoiding generally unhealthy foods, like foods high in saturated fat or high fructose corn syrup, smart and healthy dieters are embracing things like carbohydrates and fats. But they are tailoring their diets by eating smaller portions.
Traditional dishes with non-traditional ingredients (i.e. Shepherd’s Pie with pulled pork instead of ground beef)
We are becoming more creative and daring with our ingredients. Perhaps this is because of The Food Network, or maybe it’s due to a wider variety of fresh ingredients being more readily available. Regardless, today’s home chefs are more willing than ever to reinvent traditional recipes and to mess with tradition. And now that we think about it, it may have more to do with the desire to utilize the fresh ingredients home chefs have on hand.
Mixed ethnic offerings (i.e. Asian tacos)
Korean BBQ tacos, anyone? Food fusion is not just for trendy restaurants anymore. Savvy home chefs are painting with broader strokes by combining disparate ethnic favorites into savory selections.
Smaller portions at meal-time, with more snacks throughout the day
Many health and fitness experts are beginning to promote a diet where we eat carbohydrates and proteins every three hours, hungry or not, while forgoing traditional big meals. By doing so, the protein and fat (most proteins contains some fat) help keep the carbohydrates in the stomach longer, which increases gastric emptying time. We won’t get into all the gritty details here, but suffice to say that doing so helps burn your body’s fat stores, while helping you feel energized.
Plain old mashed potatoes are for the Cleavers (you remember June, Ward, Wally and the Beaver, right). Today’s home chefs are getting more and more creative with their potato companions. Prosciutto, brie, brown sugar, mustard, and artichoke bottoms are just some whacky (and by “whacky,” we mean “delicious”) suggestions. And when it comes to french fries, don’t be surprised to see some new twists in toppings, as well as enjoying them cooked in pure beef fat, pork fat, or duck fat.
United States of Marczyk's
Perhaps an outgrowth of the push towards buying locally grown or produced foods, itself a trend from recent years, small, local markets are gaining favor, especially in urban areas where city dwellers (”localvores”) are paying more attention (pun intended) to whose pockets their dollars line. Locally owned small businesses actually have the leg up over the big box stores in this case.
Dinner for friends
Here’s how it works: Invite some friends over for dinner, and when they ask you what they can bring, give them a list of ingredients for one or two of the side dishes. Then when the cooking begins, get them involved. Today’s homes have larger, open floor plans that play to the fact that the kitchen is always where the party ends up anyway, so you may as well start it there, too.
There you have it. Think you can play this game, too? Have some trends of your own that you think will show up in the months to come? Please share them with us in the comments section. We love to hear from you!
Posted by Kyle Durlam, MFFII meat dept. and wordsmith.
Tags: all natural meats, colorado, marczyk, party, trends 2012 | 20 Comments »
We got an email from a customer recently, asking about soy in food. Here was Pete’s reply: “Nearly all feeds contain some amount of soy. We have some growers who may not include any soy in their feed, but I will have to verify. I could check with one of our chicken growers as he pasture-raises his birds, but I think he may supplement at some point with commercial feed. Much bison (our included) is finished on a ration which includes a small amount of soy, so ours is out of the question. We purchase a couple whole grass-fed beef each year: this would be an option. It is possible that our Heritage Turkeys have not received soy, but I will have to check. And almost ALL lamb has been at very least supplemented with commercial feed. For clarity, by commercial, I mean ‘produced by others–not the farmer’ these almost always have some percentage of soy in them.” Learn something new every day!
Tags: all natural meats, heritage thanksgiving turkeys Denver, Marczyk Fine Foods | 14 Comments »
Whitney is the merchandising guru at Marczyk’s. She touches practically all the Marczyk products, so has lots of time to consider how to use them. Here is her November pick, with recipe! Enjoy.
Picks of the Month: Kabocha Squash and Niman Ranch Chipotle and Cheddar Sausages
Here in Colorado, the cold weather has arrived! Our Denver trees are dusted with snow, and the market is abundant with local squash of seemingly endless varieties. While I tend to like pretty much any kind of squash, I have to admit that Kabocha is my all-time favorite. If you’ve never tried Kabocha squash, you are really in for a treat. Also known as the Japanese Pumpkin, the Kabocha is more intense, sweet, and vibrant-colored than regular pumpkins. The skin of this squash is edible when cooked, but since this soup is pureed it is best to remove it and use for making pumpkin stock. I used “Sunshine Kabocha” for this recipe (the bright orange-skinned variety) but green Kabocha would work just as well.
Marczyk Fine Foods squash
What you’ll love about this soup is the wonderful flavor contrasts of spicy and sweet. If you remove the seeds from the chipotles before adding to the soup, you will get a milder, smoky heat. If you want some sinus-clearing spice, there’s no need to remove the seeds. It might just be the tastiest cold medicine you’ve ever sipped! The addition of Yukon gold potatoes gives the soup a more creamy texture and thick body.
This soup also has my new favorite sausage from Niman Ranch, the uncured chipotle cheddar flavor. There are so many reasons why Niman Ranch is one of our favorite suppliers here at Marczyk’s - from their humanely raised “never-ever” meats (as in, never ever treated with hormones or antibiotics) to their environmentally sustainable farming practices - but the best thing about their meats is really the taste. These juicy and flavorful chipotle cheddar sausages have little pockets of melted cheese and the wonderful, smoky, spicy taste of chipotle.
Spicy Chipotle-Kabocha Soup
1 large Kabocha Squash (about 5 pounds whole, any color)
1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced
3 T butter
1/4 cup white wine
4 cloves garlic, minced
about 3 (1/4 of a can) Chipotles in adobo sauce, seeds removed and chopped
2 cups Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups of vegetable stock
Salt, to taste
4 Niman Ranch Chipotle Cheddar Sausages, sliced
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prep the squash: halve the Kabocha and scrape out the pulp and seeds. Fill a large, shallow pan with about 2 inches of water. Place squash halves cut-side down in the pan and place in the oven. Roast until squash is very soft, about 30 minutes.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add onions and cook until golden-brown and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Deglaze pan with wine and add chipotles and potatoes. Add stock and bring mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to allow the soup to simmer.
Once squash is cool enough to handle, peel away the skin, scraping any stubborn bits off with a spoon. Stir the Kabocha flesh into the soup and continue to simmer, covered, until potatoes are completely soft and the liquid thickens, about 30 minutes. Using an immersion blender (or a blender or food processor), puree soup until smooth. Season with salt. Add sliced sausages and cook another 8 minutes, or until sausage is nice and hot. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Tags: Add new tag, all natural meats, denver, Marczyk Fine Foods, niman ranch, Recipes | 11 Comments »
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Butcher and fun aren’t usually in the same sentence, but here at Marczyk’s they are! Marczyk butcher Jimmy Cross, aka Jimmy the Butcher, has been busy giving advice and showing off his skills. Last fall, The Museum of Contemporary Art hosted Art Meets Beast, a three day nose-to-tail event featuring butchering, then a feast of the beast. Jimmy did the cutting, and 10 of Denver’s top chefs did the cooking. Check out this fun video MCA put together!
This month, Jimmy is part of a beautiful new book from Williams Sonoma, The Cook and the Butcher, which features recipes and advice for preparing meat. It’s a beauty and would make a great gift.
Next month, an event called Couchon 555 is coming to Denver. Couchon 555 is a one-of-a-kind traveling culinary compition and tasting event - 5 chefs, 5 pigs, five winemakers - to promote sustainable farming of heritage breeds. Mike Anderson made a video for Jimmy’s entry, it is a riot so check it out!
Tags: 50 Top, all natural meats, denver, Denver butchers, Marczyk Fine Foods, MCA, Williams Sonoma | 13 Comments »