A workshop on nose-to-tail eating with industry legends Fergus Henderson and the late Anthony Bourdain was the catalyst for A Lady Butcher Hannah Miller’s ensuing fascination with charcuterie.
At the time, Hannah was studying at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in New York. Then, while working as a chef in London she took up an opportunity to train in butchery and worked in retail butchery upon settling in New Zealand several years ago.
Hannah realised her pastime of making charcuterie could become a business, so taking up the moniker bestowed upon her in restaurant kitchens, A Lady Butcher packaged up her cured meats and took them to market. We caught up with Hannah to get some insider tips on making the most of the range stocked at Farro.
Coppa is made with pork scotch, and A Lady Butcher’s pork is sourced from two free-range farms, in Northland and in Marlborough. “We cure it with oak-smoked paprika from Dunedin, and a bit of mustard seed. It has a rich full flavour, with fat marbled all throughout the flesh. At this time of year I like to char broccoli or broccolini in a pan, take off the heat and place torn pieces of coppa over the top To gently melt into the greens, enriching them with flavour.” Hannah adds lots of herbs and citrus to her pancetta, to cut through the fat (“When you use proper free range pork the fat content is much higher”, she says). Pork fat melts at human body temperature, she explains, “So let a piece of pancetta simply melt in your mouth, and savour the flavour”. She also recommends it wrapped round still-warm, blanched or grilled asparagus or broccolini. “Or use it to wrap a small chicken tender or eye fillet that will cook quickly - you won’t overcook it that way, and the lean meat will benefit from the pancetta fat melting into it”.
Made the Italian way using guanciale (pig’s jowl) and cured with horopito and lemon zest, A Lady Butcher lardons are designed to be used in cooking – our cover recipe for slow-cooked beef ragu is a good example of how lardons can add an extra layer of richness and flavour to a dish.
“I use First Light Hawke’s Bay wagyu beef for my bresaola. One hundred percent grass-fed, it has a sweetness and earthiness, with a buttery melt-in-the-mouth texture. The cure uses black peppercorn and wild juniper from Central Otago – at a gentle level though, as I want people to still taste the beef. For an impressive looking but easy-to-prepare dish, Hannah recommends laying bresaola out over plate with a drizzle of good olive oil, “then topping with a salad – peppery rocket or mustard greens, with a lemon honey vinaigrette and dollops of fresh ricotta.”