SEASON'S GREETINGS FROM FEATHERBLADE!
As we step into our third holiday season, I’m thrilled to present the inaugural Featherblade Holiday Magazine. The team and I are excited to showcase this year’s fantastic offerings and advise on meal preparation and cooking, ensuring your festive family meal is nothing short of delicious.
The holiday season is always a bustling time. Whether you’re on the hunt for that perfect gift, adorning your home with seasonal decor, or—like us—meticulously crafting family feasts, this time of year is often a flurry of activity, and we love every minute of it.
I’ve personally experienced my fair share of holiday seasons in various butcher shops, and while no two years are the same (some more challenging than others!), I've
always enjoyed it immensely. There’s an indescribable camaraderie that comes from getting a job like this done, a kind of “if you know you know” moment. We all have fun along the way and revel in the great satisfaction of knowing we’ve provided families and our community with food for their most special of occasions.
A constant supply of holiday music (some good, some bad) and delicious team treats and snacks help add to the overall festive atmosphere (thank you for those culinary donations, by the way!). It’s a time of year we eagerly anticipate, and I can confidently speak for the entire team when I say that we can’t wait to embark on another brilliant holiday season at the shop.
Thank you for your unwavering support as always; it’s truly the heart and soul of Featherblade.
Wishing you a joyful holiday season,
WHAT'S THE BEEF
As butchers, we tend to get excited about any cut of meat, but we find there’s something really special about our beef. The farms we source from, the steers we breakdown, and the finishes we apply allow us to produce some incredible cuts of meat that we often can’t stop talking about. So whether it’s a classic rib of beef, a perfect steak, some routine ground beef, or a show-stopping tomahawk, we’re proud to introduce our selection of beef.
At Featherblade we source the majority of our beef from three exceptional farms, Pettit Ranch, Creekstone Farms, and Marin Sun Farms. Each farm crafts a distinct narrative, and it’s this diversity that enriches our selection.
First is Pettit Ranch in Southern California, home of the Santa Carota beef. Here the pasture-raised beef is finished not only on grass, but also on truck loads of carrots. The natural sugars and beta carotene from the carrot finish naturally adds moisture and fat to the meat, which improves the marbling without adding grain to the diet, elevating it above regular grass-finished beef. Santa Carota beef is perfect for those who don’t want grain in their diet (or prefer grass-finished beef) but want a premium beef experience without the stronger flavor produced from aging.
Next up is Creekstone Farms, known for its impeccable breeding program and beautifully marbled steaks, which provides our grass- and grain-finished option. Here the farmers add non-GMO grain at the later stage for the animals’ diet so that it increases the intramuscular fat content, otherwise known as marbling. With this you can expect a tender, buttery texture and flavor. We recommend the Creekstone beef for those who prefer these flavors instead of the earthier stuff.
Our third excellent option for grass-fed and finished beef hails from Marin Sun Farms in the San Francisco Bay Area. Marin Sun cattle roam freely on pasture for longer than any other beef in the country, delivering naturally developed intramuscular fat, otherwise known as marbling. The result is a rich, dark red hue and a flavor profile that epitomizes the essence of beef.
Santa Carota Ribs from Petite Ranch
Ribs from Creekstone Farms
Ribs from Marin Sun Farms
In addition to these exceptional farms, we also source Wagyu beef, and although it is not the focus of our beef program, it is worth mentioning. Wagyu is a breed originating from Japan known for its marbling and buttery texture, similar to high-end, grain-finished Angus beef. At Featherblade we source ribs and loins from Imperial American Wagyu Beef in Nebraska, which in turn, sources their cattle well and raises them right by implementing strict feeding and handling protocols that prioritize animal health, nutrition, and care. While the beef is excellent, as a team we often find it’s too close to the Creekstone in quality so it isn’t worth having both side by side. That said, we’re just starting to age their beef for longer periods so look out for that.
A type of Wagyu that isn’t close to Creekstone or anything we offer is the A5 Kobe beef. This is the highest grade of beef on the market, and it is only produced in Japan. We fly the A5 Kobe beef fresh directly from Japan, and we’ll certainly have some available for the holidays. It is intensely marbled and extremely rich and decadent, and for that reason we recommend only a 4-6 ounce serving per person.
If you’re looking to develop the umami and earthy, funky flavors of beef, consider one of our dry-aged cuts. As a default, we dry-age all beef from Marin Sun Farms for a month as this timeline ensures a certain tenderness and earthy, authentic beef flavor. For our in-house dry-aged steaks, we use predominantly Creekstone beef, but we also love experimenting with different mediums, including a whiskey-aged rib and Koji-aged steaks. The former is somewhat self-explanatory: we wrap the beef in a bourbon-soaked cheesecloth for a 2-week period. The result is a smoky sweet steak, especially nice if you like bourbon and beef.
By comparison, for Koji-aged steaks we encase Creekstone NY Strip steaks in Koji rice for a maximum of 10 days. Koji rice has a unique, natural mold (similar to what’s used in the production of blue cheese and salamis), and this mold turbo-charges the aging process, breaking down the proteins in about half the time as traditional dry aging. What we’re left with is an incredible, tender texture with the umami of an aged steak but just in a more subtle way. It’s definitely worth a try if you like a bit of funk in your steak. We’ll sell all of the above in the store intermittently, but if you want to commit, we offer a custom aging program whereby you pick your cut, and we’ll age it any way you like, for as long as you like. What’s more, when you pick it up, we’ll even add a bit of chuck to make aged burgers out of the trimmings for you.
Whichever you decide upon, the Featherblade team is on hand to advise and assist in any way we can.
A5 Kobe NY Strip
Two sides of the same coin: the center cut (left) and end (right) of a dry-aged Creekstone Rib
TO STUFF OR TO DRESS?
Sage & Onion Stuffing
A classic English favorite, our Sage & Onion stuffing combines aromatic sage and finely diced red onions with sausage meat and chopped bread, creating a harmonious blend of flavors that pairs perfectly with any roast dinner.
Cranberry & Orange Stuffing
Brighten up your meal with our Cranberry and Orange stuffing. Tangy cranberries and zesty orange zest come together to create a sweet and tart stuffing that adds a burst of flavor to your plate.
Experience the rich, nutty goodness of our unique Chestnut stuffing. By incorporating whole chestnuts into this savory delight, we’re able to infuse a delicious earthiness and a satisfying crunch into your feast.
Whether it’s “stuffing” or “dressing” to you, we’re excited to introduce five unbeatable stuffings - err, dressings - that are sure to elevate your holiday meal.
Plain Sausage Meat Stuffing
Sometimes, simple is best. Our Plain Sausage Meat stuffing lets the high-quality sausage meat take the spotlight, seasoned to perfection and mixed with onions and chopped bread to provide a hearty and flavorful complement to your meal.
Slap Ya Momma Stuffing
Indulge your taste buds with our maple syrup and bacon stuffing. Sweet maple syrup and crispy bacon combine in this delightful stuffing, offering a tantalizing blend of savory and sweet that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
PIGS IN BLANKETS - IF YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW. IF YOU DONT, READ ON!
Pigs in Blankets
English-style Pigs in Blankets are a beloved and iconic British appetizer often served during festive occasions, especially at Christmas dinners. These delectable morsels consist of small sausages, typically chipolatas, wrapped in crispy strips of bacon, resembling a cozy “blanket” for the sausages.
To prepare this little treat, the sausages are seasoned with herbs and spices, wrapped in bacon, and then roasted or baked until the bacon turns irresistibly crispy. The result is a delightful contrast of textures and flavors—the juicy, flavorful sausage encased in the smoky, salty embrace of the bacon.
Pigs in Blankets are a delicious addition to any holiday table. Whether served as an appetizer, a side dish, or even as part of a full English breakfast, they bring a touch of warmth and comfort to gatherings, making them a cherished tradition in British cuisine.
In the United States, Pigs in Blankets refer to an appetizer or snack that features mini hot dogs wrapped in soft, buttery crescent roll dough or sometimes puff pastry, then baked until they achieve a golden brown, flaky perfection. For our take on this snack, we use mini Wagyu hot dogs wrapped in our puff pastry.
Preparing these American Pigs in Blankets, which we call “Bovine Blankets”, starts with cutting the pastry into individual triangles. Each triangle is then wrapped around a Wagyu hotdog, creating a cozy “blanket” for the sausage. The sausages in their pastry blankets are baked until the pastry turns golden and slightly crispy, while the sausage inside remains juicy and flavorful.
Often served with a variety of condiments, such as ketchup, mustard, or cheese sauce, our Bovine Blankets are a popular choice for game-day snacks, a casual gathering, or the perfect appetizer for your holiday meal.
OUR TURKEYS - DEISTEL TURKEY RANCH
Our turkeys are once again sourced from Diestel Ranch CA. They're the best that we have found so far so we're happy to hang our turkey hat on them. They range in size between 10 lb and 25 lb and typically we say 1.5-2lb per person is generous when accounting for the bones etc.
They raise them clean and traditionally, no chemicals, antibiotics or any nasty things they're not supposed to get. And the proof is in the pudding, as they are deliciously plump and juicy because of these standards. Diestel Ranch is also one of the first turkey providers to earn a Global Animal Partnership Step 5 Rating, which is the highest there is. For perspective, Step 3 is 'Enhanced Outdoor access' and Step 5 is 'Animal Centered'.
Looks can be deceiving! For our multi-bird roast, we work from the outside in by deboning the crown and thigh of the outer bird, adding the preferred stuffing, incorporating the interior birds and stuffing, and then we tie it all together so that it resembles a regular bird. The three-bird roast pictured above features (from the outer layer in) a whole turkey, deboned and stuffed with our Sage and Onion stuffing, followed by a layer of duck, which was stuffed with Cranberry and Orange stuffing, all around the innermost layer, chicken.
Multi-bird roasts, the pièce de résistance of festive feasts, are a culinary spectacle reserved for special occasions like Christmas or Thanksgiving. These showstoppers feature an assembly of various poultry birds, often game birds, meticulously deboned, layered, and roasted together, resulting in a stunning, multi-layered roast that’s as impressive as it is delicious.
While you may have heard of the famous “Turducken” in the United States, we at Featherblade believe in pushing the boundaries a little more. Why stop at three birds when you can indulge in five or even seven layers of wonderful flavors?
There are some rules, of course. The bird on the outside, typically a turkey or goose, must be substantial enough to house the others. But beyond that, the canvas is yours to paint with your choice of stuffings and a gradual reduction in bird size as you descend through the layers.
From largest to smallest in order of size, our lineup includes:
6. Guinea Fowl
7. Cornish Hen
Each bird is carefully deboned and layered, with stuffings or seasonings intermingled to create a symphony of flavors. Once assembled, the entire masterpiece can be elegantly swathed in bacon or a similar fat, ensuring every bite is moist, succulent, and bursting with flavor. With our five types of stuffings, the combinations are limited only by your imagination.
If you want to try something very special and unique this season, a multi-bird roast is a stunning and flavorful offering that delivers a variety of tastes and textures, from the richness of duck or partridge to the mildness of chicken and guinea fowl, with additional choices provided by the fruity or savory stuffings.
As always, the Featherblade team is on hand to advise on the plethora of options to ensure your multi-bird roast is exactly what you desire for your special occasion.
AN ENDURING HOLIDAY CLASSIC
The Beef Wellington boasts a rich history and complex preparation that culminates in a true culinary masterpiece.
The origins of Beef Wellington are a subject of culinary lore, but it is widely believed to have been named in honor of the 1st Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, a celebrated British military figure known for his victory over Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo in 1815.
While the exact moment of its creation remains shrouded in mystery, the Beef Wellington embodies the elegance and opulence associated with the Victorian era.
At its heart, Beef Wellington is a tender beef filet, traditionally a center-cut filet or tenderloin, which is seared to develop a flavorful crust. This succulent filet is then lavishly adorned with a coat of Dijon mustard, followed by a mixture of finely chopped mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and herbs—a blend known as duxelles. The duxelles, when cooked down, provides a rich, earthy flavor and acts as a moisture barrier to protect the beef from becoming dry.
The filet, now dressed in its duxelles robe, is carefully encased in a layer of prosciutto ham, before being wrapped in puff pastry, which is rolled out to perfection. The pastry, when baked, turns golden and flaky, creating a wonderful contrast with the tender beef inside.
While Beef Wellington’s origins may remain a subject of debate, its reputation as a dish of unparalleled elegance and taste is unquestioned. This labor-intensive creation, often reserved for special occasions, exemplifies the artistry of French-influenced British cuisine and continues to enchant gourmands around the world with its unforgettable combination of flavors and textures.