Coming to The Butchery Ltd this week is one of the most majestic and ancient of the British rare-breed cattle, White park. White park have been favoured for their meat for centuries, origin of the “Sir” loin after a King (some say Henry some say James) knighted his meal of White Park loin. And Sir Winston Churchill sending some to Texas in the war to ensure the breed was preserved.
In the late 60’s White Park in the UK had declined to only 60 animals, the Rare Breed Survival Trust, hard working farmers and breeders have brought this back up to approximately 3500 animals, taking the breed off the critical list. Few people have had the chance to eat real White Park beef over the last 100 years as they were so close to being totally wiped out by industrial farming. I have been lucky enough to get my hands on a whole beast from an amazing farmer, John Lean in Devon. John’s farm is truly beautiful, on our visit we drove down a drive so long and steep we worried we wouldn’t make it back out. Catching glimpses of white in the fields we arrived at a setting that made us wish we hadn’t been able to make it back out. The farm sits in a deep valley surrounded with forest protecting the “closed” herd. Steers Winter in the Pine forest, whilst cows and calves Winter in an open barn close to the farm house.
John has been farming White Park for 15 years now and has a totally closed herd with all the animals born on his land coming from his pedigree registered live stock. Each year when the new calves are born they name each and every animal with that years letter of the alphabet, this year all the new borns names start with N (yes I did ask for a Nathan). We will be serving Kestrel, a steer born September 12th 2008, living a happy life grazing with his family before heading a short distance to the slaughterhouse on 4th November 2011 at 37 months of age (twice as long as your commercial supermarket beast)to then be dry aged 29 days ready for you to enjoy.
White Park raised slowly and pasture fed makes a rich and tasty meat with a beautiful light marbling. Having a whole beast, “Kestrel” come into The Butchery Ltd from the Bickleigh herd is a rare treat that I am really looking forward to sharing with you on Saturday.
Well Saturday 26th November will be our 3rd Saturday trading at Maltby St Market, specifically in 1 Ropemaker Walk with the very supportive and welcoming Ham and Cheese Co and The Kernel Brewery.
It has a been a hectic ride, with quite a few challenges still to come, including preparing our permanent space where we are currently doing the production, a little further east down the railway tracks ready for the grand opening early next year.
But this is an update promised to many of you about what we will be serving this week.
Beef will be a combination of some very nicely 42 day dry aged Traditional Hereford from Farmer Tom in Herefordshire and a new one for us, Red Poll from Suffolk, succulent and well marbled this is the “beef of old England”. Originally from East Anglia the breed made it’s first herd book in 1874. Red polls are excellent foragers allowing the animals to graze naturally on mixed pastures and shrub land developing a great flavour for us to graze on. Also a fab milk producer this is the just the sort of animal we should be "eating to keep", and have been, with the Red Poll having made a successful comeback from a small herd of only 800 breeding ladies.
"An exquisite and unique flavour from mature meat of a very individualistic old breed. Try it! " - Clarissa Dickinson Wright
Lamb is another Suffolk this week, a native breed rather than an a rare-breed these also come from farmer Tom of the Traditional Herefords and have led such a happy pasture-fed existence and are so tasty we can’t resist.
Mutton - the foggy weather has definlty meant it is time to pull out ther Le Creuset, slow cooker or whatever is your prefered method of creating comfort food and we have Sullolk Mutton for you also fromTom. Not always avaible and very often neglected by all, come and see hat you have been missing, fabulous for full depth of flavour mutton is lamb that is more than 24mths old when it goes to the slaughter house (or AltonTowers as Farmer Tom puts it). We love our cattle slowly raised (30months at least) on good pasture lets savour our sheep this way too. If its good enough for the Hairy Bikers, Hugh, Matt Tebbutt and Prince Charles maybe its good enough for you?
Pork is Tamworth this week - The good old Ginger just like the butcher, originally a Midlander ours is from Herefordhsire this week. The Tamworth was bought back to the UK for it's revival from Australian breeding stock. Pork from the Tamworth is renowned in pig cirlces for coming first by a full pig length in a ‘taste test” by Bristol University.
Bacon - for a first the first appearance this week week, we have of some Gloucester Old Spot bacon, green and smoked, streaky and back so come and get it sliced to order for you on our very ancient big old Berkel Slicer. Is it bad that owning one of these has been a long time fantasy? Eventually we will be doing our own bacon from start to finish but in t he meantime we have sourced this great rare breed bacon as it’s not really a butcher shop unless we stock the secret vegetarian conversion weapon is it ?
Sausages from Gloucester Old Spot - this is a tough one (not the actual sausages I hope) We are making our own from scratch using meat from the same rare breed pork we are serving in the cabinet each week, a standard if you are going to be able to do proper whole carcass nose to tail butchery. But we also dont want to add rusk and all the “E” numbers and anti-caking agents that invloves. Most sausages have small to large amounts of rusk in them - this binds the meat together and soaks up the fat as you cook creating texture and keeping the moistness of the fat within the sausage. Whilst our sausages are bulging with fab pork (a little beef too in the Kilebasa), fresh herbs and spices they do not have rusk, and so we are still tweaking the recipe each week a little to we find perfection for you. Kielbasa and Zingy Herb and Garlic up for grabs this week.
Chicken and one lonely Cockerel - So far our Fosse Meadows chickens have had many great comments and even repeat customers (pretty good we thought after only 2 weeks) so they will be happlily in the cabinet again alongside soemthing a bit special. For Christmas we plan on stocking Cockerel, also from Fosse Meadows, so those of you still debating what to put on the Christmas table you might find a cockerel the perfect answer. An uncastrated male chicken, tradionally used to make Coq Au Vin or for long slow roasting. A great alternative to the turkey, just a touch smaller msking it easier to cook and with serious flavour.
Hope to see you Saturday and thanks to everyone that has dropped by already. Christmas orders will be taken from next week.
An Australian butcher Nathan Mills and his partner Ruth Siwinski in London, passionate about real meat from great farmers, butchered with respect and eaten with relish. Remember not all meat is created equal.