Smokin’ It Old School: Surry Farms Surryano

by Connor Pelcher

The first British settlers arrived in Jamestown  in 1607, bringing hope – and hogs. The pigs were left to their own devices, rapturously descending on the wild nuts and acorns scattered throughout the lush Virginia woodland.

By spring, the Jamestown colonists were keeping their hogs on an island just across the river from the Jamestown settlement. The pigs loved roaming through the thickets and streams, and the farmers could rest easy knowing they wouldn’t wander away. The island soon became known as Hog Island, and still is today, over three centuries later.

But well before English colonists came ashore, and before their hogs rooted through the swamps and sea-meadows of Virginia, Native Americans inhabited the area, smoking, salting, and drying wild fish and game, taking full advantage of that which the forests and ocean bountifully provided.

With the help of the natives, these early colonists adapted their meat preservation techniques to fit their own needs. They began rubbing the pork with salt obtained from evaporating seawater, forcing out the moisture from inside the meat, prohibiting the growth of harmful bacteria.  They finished the hams by smoking them over hickory and oak fires and leaving them to age for up to a year.  These cured hams proved to be a reliable source of income for the colonists during a time when the prices of cotton or tobacco could fluctuate wildly from season to season.

In 1926, S. Wallace Edwards, the young and affable captain of the Jamestown-Surry ferry, began selling ham sandwiches to his passengers. The ham had been cured by him, according to their generations-old family recipe, on the farm that carried his family name. Before long, the demand for his hams let him quit the ferry business and cure meat full time, eventually growing his business to a nationwide operation.

Surryano ham is still made according to the time-honored family recipe: cold-smoked for seven full days and aged for another 18 months.  The Edwards family treats their heirloom six-spotted Berkshire hogs with the love and attention that their forbears would lavish upon their own livestock; after roaming the pasture all day, they get a rich, fatty dessert of raw Virginia peanuts.

That diet and exercise lends a deep, mahogany color and nutty flavor to the amply marbled meat. The smoke adds a stunningly complex depth to the palate, complimenting the flavor of the pork without overpowering it. The plentiful streaks of taupe fat melt on your tongue and coat your mouth with flavor.

While Surryano can be melted on a flatbread pizza, rendered for a savory pasta dish, or even wrapped around melon, the true appreciation for this meat can only be achieved by eating it straight – one perfect, smoky slice at a time.

Connor’s Homemade Surryano Ravioli

Surryano Ravioli

Cloumage, Parmesan, Thyme, Brown Butter

Serves 6

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

4 eggs plus 1 yolk, for wash

2 tsp olive oil

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 tsp minced garlic

¼ lb butter

¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 10oz container Shy Brothers Cloumage

1 4oz package sliced Surry Farms Surryano Ham

 

Combine 2 ½ cups flour and salt in a stand mixer. Mix on low with a dough hook and add the eggs one at a time. Slowly add the oil. Finish by adding the rest of the flour until the dough forms a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and rest for 30 minutes.

With a sharp chef’s knife, cut the Surryano into small squares. Mix with Parmigiano-Reggiano and Cloumage in a mixing bowl.

 Remove the dough ball from the plastic wrap and cut it in half. Dust a large portion of your counter with flour and form each half into a rectangle. Feed it through the pasta machine two or three times before reducing the setting. Continue until the machine is at its narrowest setting. The dough should be paper- thin.

Lay out the dough on the floured counter. Brush half of the sheet with the extra egg yolk. Spoon a tablespoon of the Cloumage filling onto the pasta, about two inches apart in a grid.  Fold the other half of the pasta sheet over and use your fingers to push out excess air around each mound to form a seal.  Use a knife or a crimper to cut out each ravioli.

Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until the milk solids separate and begin to turn brown. Add the garlic and thyme and lower the heat. Cook for about a minute and remove the sprig of thyme.

Cook the ravioli in salted, boiling water for 4-6 minutes. Serve with the brown butter sauce.

Don’t Mind If We Fondue: Three Easy Recipes That Will Make You Melt

As temperatures drop (and drop and drop), we like to eschew the polar vortex and curl up ‘round a nice fondue pot full of our favorite ooey-gooey melted cheeses, dunking everything in sight (things like hot chorizo, fingerling potatoes, and hunks of baguette) into silken strings of dairy goodness, finishing off each bite with a bright, briny cornichon.  Get the recipes below—from classic to daring– bubblin’ in your melting pot.

Murray’s Classic Fondue

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove
150 g (approx. 3/4cup) white wine
4 oz (approx. 1 cup) Gruyère, grated
4 oz (approx. 1 cup) Comté, grated
3 oz Emmental, grated
1 tablespoon + 1 tsp cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Directions:
1.Sprinkle one teaspoon of salt in the bottom of a small saucepan. 
2.Cut garlic clove in half and rub the inside of the pan, starting at the salt.
3.Heat the wine on medium-high just until boiling. While the wine is heating, combine the cheeses and toss with cornstarch until evenly distributed.
4.Gradually add the cheese a half a cup at a time, whisking constantly until melted and smooth.
5.Add lemon juice and whisk until incorporated.

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Murray’s Funky ‘Due

Ingredients:
8oz Ardrahan, cubed
8oz Murray’s English Cheddar, grated
12oz Your favorite IPA beer (We recommend the Peekskill IPA)
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 pinch cayenne
1 dash Frank’s Hot Sauce (or other vinegary hot sauce)
1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic
1 tablespoon cornstarch

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Murray’s Fancy ‘Due

Ingredients:
8 oz. (approx. 2 cups) Comté, grated
8 oz. (approx. 2 cups) Fontina, grated
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
1 clove garlic
1 cup Champagne or other favorite sparkling white wine 
1.Sprinkle one teaspoon of salt in the bottom of a small saucepan.
2.Cut garlic clove in half and rub the inside of the pan, starting at the salt.
3.Heat the wine on medium-high just until boiling. While the wine is heating, combine the cheeses and toss with cornstarch until evenly distributed.
4.Gradually add the cheese a half a cup at a time, whisking constantly until melted and smooth.

 

 

 

 

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Directions:
1.Remove the rind from the Ardrahan and cube. 
2.Grate the Murray’s English Cheddar and toss both with the cornstarch. 
3.In a saucepan, heat the beer, garlic, hot sauce and cayenne pepper to a simmer. 
4.Gradually add the cheese a half a cup at a time, whisking constantly until combined and emulsified. 
5.Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

Check out our fave cheeses and accompaniments you just can’t fondue without this season.  Happy melting!

Recipe: Murray’s Pasta Primavera

This one’s a keeper. That’s what you’ll say when you taste this Murray’s adapted springtime favorite.

Murray’s Pasta Primavera with Parmigiano Reggiano

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb penne
  • 2 t olive oil
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 1 cup medium diced marinated artichoke
  • 1 cup roasted tomato
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup crème fraiche
  • ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, additional for topping
  • 3 cups loosely packed arugula
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook pasta per box instructions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large sauté pan on high. Add onion until aromatic; about 2 minute.
  3. Add artichoke and tomato, cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Add stock to pan and reduce by half, about 4 minutes.
  5. Once reduced, add peas, cook for one minute and mix in crème fraiche and Murray’s Parmigiano Reggiano, cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Remove from heat; add arugula, stirring until wilted. Combine mixture with strained pasta, and serve with grated Murray’s Parmigiano Reggiano. Don’t be shy.
  8. Enjoy at room temperature or heated through.

Serves 4

Murray’s Better than Basic Mac & Cheese

 

Béchamel

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, whisk in flour. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until mixture gets slightly darker in color. Add milk to the butter and flour mixture and stir constantly until it comes to a boil. Once the Béchamel boils, it will start to thicken. Once thick whisk in the cheeses, stirring until melted.
  2. Stir in the cooked pasta until well combined.
  3. Pour into a large baking dish, Dutch oven or cast iron pan and Bake at 375 degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes until lightly browned on top.

Serves: 6-8 people.

Murray’s French Onion Soup Mac & Cheese

Brilliant: combine two classic winter warmers into one delicious dish. Creamy, pungent Scharfe Maxx is the star here. It melts like a dream and its big, oniony flavor makes this mac over the top savory.

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INGREDIENTS

Béchamel

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  1. In a large sauté pan set over medium-low heat, add the onions and olive oil and cook until caramelized, about 40 minutes. Be attentive, don’t overstir. When nicely browned and very soft, place in a bowl and set aside.
  2. In the same pan set over medium high heat, cook pancetta until crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Remove and reserve pancetta.
  3. In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, whisk in flour. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until mixture gets slightly darker in color. Add milk to the butter and flour mixture and stir constantly until it comes to a boil. Once the Béchamel boils, it will start to thicken. Once thick whisk in the cheeses, stirring until melted.
  4. Stir in the cooked pasta, the onions and the pancetta until well combined.
  5. Pour into a large baking dish, Dutch oven or cast iron pan and Bake at 375 degree oven for 45 minutes until lightly browned on top.