Supplier Highlight: Alchemy with Niman Ranch Pork

“If you want a subject, look to pork!” Charles Dickens, Great Expectations.

We completely agree with Mr. Dickens. Pork is such a versatile protein. This same animal gives us lean tenderloin, finely marbled belly, meaty shanks and of course, bacon. Another reason we love them is that pigs help sniff out truffles in the woods, proving yet again how indispensable they are in fine cooking!

The team of chefs at El Gaucho, find cooking with pork to include a touch of alchemy. Excellent quality pork is key to taking a humble ingredient and transforming it into something delicious and unique. Pork can take on unique flavors of a variety of cooking styles, which may be why it is the most widely eaten meat in the world accounting for over 38% of the world’s meat intake. Sarah Scott, Executive Chef at El Gaucho Bellevue sums it up, “There are so many cultures that embrace pork in a variety of ways. Each one has a fairly unique way of showcasing the remarkable flexibility that pork has to offer.”

In order to provide our guests with the very best, El Gaucho is committed to sourcing the highest quality ingredients. Our pork, as well as our beef, comes from renowned Niman Ranch. More than 725 family farmers and ranchers are part of Niman Ranch and are committed to providing all-natural meat raised using sustainable and humane practices.

Niman Ranch raises select hogs from a cross of heritage breeds including Duroc, Chester White and Berkshire. These breeds are sought after by chefs for their superior flavor. Niman ranchers know that these breeds are also known for their nurturing nature with their young, an inherent hardiness for outdoor-pastures and excellent marbling which results in tender and juicy meat.

Niman Ranch is meticulous about raising their hogs in the traditional way, which means providing the best environment and husbandry practices. Their hogs are fed a 100% vegetarian diet and are never given hormones or antibiotics. They are raised outdoors or in deeply bedded pens where they can root and roam freely.

The winter months are a wonderful time to cook with pork and enjoy its unique ability to pair with a variety of ingredients including fruits and spices, as well as seafood. This month, our featured recipes highlight the versatility of pork. El Gaucho Seattle Executive Chef, Matt Brandsey, created a rich and savory starter featuring pork belly topped with unagi. This unique combination results in stunning umami goodness. El Gaucho Bellevue Executive Chef Sarah Scott’s Pork Tomahawk with Cherry Amaretto Glaze showcases a unique cut of pork with a sweet and savory sauce that matches the holiday seasons bright color palette.

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