By Cheryl Radkiewicz
I’ve always lived by the belief that if you don’t learn something new every day, it’s a wasted day.
The recent Lehigh Valley Food and Wine Festival offered a wealth of knowledge. As Pennsylvanians, do you know who John Clemens was? I didn’t until I was introduced to the Clemens Food Group, a sixth generation family -owned pork producer based in Hatfield, PA.
Now I’ve heard of Hatfield hams and pork products. In the early 1900’s John Clemens began what has become one of the largest purveyors of pork products in the industry. In 2010, the Clemens Food Group now includes branches dedicated to farming, transportation and distribution of quality pork products.
I spent part of the festival chatting with Drew and Christy Cashman, a husband and wife team, who represent Hatfield pork products. They were displaying replicas of all parts of the pig and explained how each part is used. There were loin cuts, pork belly, pork shoulder, Boston butt, spare ribs, baby back ribs, ham hocks, feet, brains, kidneys, etc. The biggest seller of the entire pig is, yes, you guessed it: BACON!
Parts not used as much in the United States such as feet, brains, glands and kidneys are shipped to Asian and South American countries, where they are popular.
Do you know how many products are for sale in our stores from Hatfield? The company is making it easier and easier for busy families to use their products. Here is just a sampling of what Hatfield offers:
Hot Italian Ground Sausage, Sweet Italian Ground Sausage, Ground Pork, Chorizo Ground Sausage, Sage Ground Sausage, Country Ground Sausage, Tex-Mex Pork Strips, Simply Pork Strips, Ham Steaks, Bone-In Hams, Boneless Hams, Pork Roll, Sauerkraut, Scrapple, Bologna, Bacon, P&P Loaf, Liverwurst, Tavern Ham, Sausage Patties, Rope Sausage Links, Seasoned or Plain Pork Loin Fillets, Tenderloins, Premium Pork Roasts, St. Louis Ribs and Frankfurters.
As a matter of fact, Clemens Group has been chosen to make the franks for the Philadelphia Phillies.
So here are a few recipes from the Clemens group to add to your repertoire:
Bacon and Cheese Dip:
8 slices Hatfield Classic Bacon
1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 cups sour cream
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 bunch green onions, chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, cook bacon on medium-high heat until crisp. Remove from pan and place on paper towel to drain. Once cool, crumble bacon and set aside. Combine ingredients in a bowl. Place the mixture in a 1 quart baking dish. Cover and heat for 25-35 minutes or until hot all the way through.
Country Sausage Strata:
2 lbs. Hatfield Recipe Essentials Country Ground Sausage, crumbled
3 cups onion and garlic croutons
1 green pepper, finely chopped
3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In large skillet over medium heat, cook sausage, using a spoon to break up into pieces. In a greased 13x9x2″ baking dish, place cooked sausage and croutons. In large bowl, beat eggs. Stir in cheese, mustard, milk, salt and paprika. Pour mixture into baking dish.
Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 10.
Italian Sausage Fettuccine:
1 lb. Hatfield Recipe Essentials Sweet or Hot Ground Sausage
3/4 lb. fettuccine
1/4 cup olive oil
8 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
8 oz. fresh kale, torn into pieces
1 cup shaved Asiago cheese
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water until just tender, stirring occasionally. In a large saute’ pan over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add garlic slices and saute’ until light golden brown, approximately 45 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer garlic to a bowl. In the same saute’ pan, add kale and cook until just wilting. Remove and transfer to bowl.
Using the same pan, increase heat to medium-high, add sausage and cook, stirring and breaking up with a spoon. Cook until sausage is fully browned, about 10 minutes. Drain pasta; add remaining olive oil to large pot.
Using tongs, toss pasta, kale and sausage. Add salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Transfer pasta to a large bowl or platter. Top with crispy garlic and shaved Asiago cheese. Serves 4.
Caribbean Roast Pork:
4-5 lb. Hatfield Tuscan Herb Pork Roast
1 medium onion, sliced thickly
1 head garlic, peeled
2 Tbsp. oregano
2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. lard or oil
Zest and juice of 1 orange, grated
Zest and juice of 1 lemon, grated
Juice of 1 bitter orange
Make several shallow cuts, about 1/2″ deep, in pork. Spread onion slices on bottom of a glass or ceramic roasting pan. Place remaining ingredients in food processor or blender to make a pasta.
Rub the pork with the mixture on all sides, making sure it goes into the cuts. Place pork on top of the onions. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 4 hours, turning once, leaving the fat side up for cooking.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place pork on middle oven rack. After 30 minutes, turn down temperature to 325 degrees and cook 2 hours, basting every 30 minutes. Cook 30 minutes per pound, or until an internal temperature of 160 degrees is reached. Remove pork from oven and let rest 15 minutes before carving. Makes 8 servings.