Over the past three weeks, my menus have offered a new take on beef. Or, if you sit next to Dave Beckwith at the counter, he might suggest it’s “old style beef.” The source, Manchester Farms in Avella, Pennsylvania has a strict code, raising its animals on a grass diet from start to finish. At this time, since Manchester is an organic dairy farm, they raise only Hereford dairy cows. Smaller than beef breeds, the Hereford male offspring provide a deep flavor, lean but rich and gamey. I just love it.
Purchasing beef from Manchester Farm requires a unique ritual that I won’t go into here. More importantly, it involves an education in whole animal awareness. You must commit to 1/4 of an animal. In this case, that dialed down to 96 pounds of meat. That is then packaged in a cryovaced plastic bag and labeled properly for each cut. The package included one fillet, two London broils, seven pieces of New York Strip (cut at 10oz on average), five Delmonico steaks, beef stew chunks, 30-pounds of chop meat, an assortment of roasts, and a brisket.
We have had a favorable response to the prime cuts and especially the Delmonico. And we have had enthusiastic reviews for our 1/3-pound burger served on 8-grain toast with our Ensalada de Casita.
Why introduce the Organic, grass fed beef now, in the middle of the off-season? Simple answer, we’re preparing new menus for the next Estia location. As we searched for the next spot to share our full-service program, we met many new people. Luckily, Joe Pagliarulo and his wife Margie, who own the Manchester Farm were two who came across our bow.
Our new space has all of the ingredients we want to make the Estia formula work. It’s in a family community filled with open-minded busy folks who look for fresh, clean food to share with their friends and families. While I’m not at liberty to disclose the location yet, I can tell you that my partner in the kitchen will be Carissa Waechter. I’m happy to work with Carissa, whose enthusiasm and drive make every moment of this anxious time worthwhile.
One of the many dishes we’ve developed to highlight the “Old Style Beef” from Manchester Farms is our new Sliced Steak Sandwich. It will be served on a home-baked baguette topped with grilled red onions and warm blue cheese over arugula. The beef is so flavorful that we have learned it is not necessary to pile it on.