Ruby and Sather Duke from Raven & Boar aren’t known for following a well-charted path. They moved upstate eight years ago without any notion of farming and, as we’ve written, now raise some of the most sought-after pigs in the Hudson Valley. Now nearly a decade later, they’ve released a limited-edition cookbook to tell the story of Raven & Boar and express the creativity of the chefs who had become part of their family.
As furniture designers who still manage to run a thriving business while farming and raising two daughters, they bring a unique and highly creative sensibility to everything they do. It’s no wonder given their understanding of product design and fabrication that they would see the potential of their animals to create beautiful and high-quality valued-added products. “Raising animals and designing furniture is the same thing. We are trying to make the best, most beautiful, and high-quality products for both,” Ruby says.
This melding of their creative and farming worlds eventually led them down another unintended path to learning about the art of charcuterie. After experimenting on her own, Ruby studied with a master charcutier, salumiere and wurstmeister, perfecting her technique and recipes with friend and client, Paul Wetzel, head of the charcuterie program at Gramercy Tavern. Three years ago, Ruby and Sather launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for building a certified commercial kitchen on their farm to produce fresh and cured meats from their pigs that would be called Hudson Valley Charcuterie.
Ruby wanted to create a reward for those who donated, and what started as a pamphlet with recipes soon became a far more ambitious cookbook with a distinctive minimalist visual style. Thirty-six chefs from restaurants like Otto, Santina, Hearth and Maysville contributed original recipes inspired by the pigs, herbs and vegetables on the farm. Organized by cuts, each recipe is accompanied by Ruby’s close-up photos (inspired by Karl Blossfeldt’s work) revealing the beauty and geometry of individual ingredients.
A must-have homage to the pig, the numbered, limited-edition copies can be found at Kitchen Arts & Letters, Marlow & Son’s, Chatham Bookstore or on Raven & Boar’s website. All proceeds go toward funding the kitchen and purchasing equipment.
Bill Telepan’s grandma’s pork meatballs braised with sauerkraut
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small head cabbage, sliced (Blooming Hill Farm)
2 pounds ground pork
½ pound cooked rice (Anson Mills)
2 cloves garlic
2 eggs (Pine Hill Farm)
1 tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2½ pounds sauerkraut, rinsed
2 pounds smoked kielbasa or smoked bacon
3 cups tomato juice
Egg noodles or rye bread
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil on medium heat and add cabbage and a pinch of salt and cook covered until wilted, about 10 minutes. Reserve.
Mix pork, rice, garlic, eggs, salt and pepper and form meatballs, set aside.
In a large pot, layer half the sauerkraut and half the cabbage. Then place in half the meatballs, top with the kielbasa, the meatballs and the rest of the cabbage and kraut. Top with tomato juice. Place on stove and on medium heat bring to a simmer. Cover and place in the oven and let cook for about 1½ to 2 hours until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve with buttered egg noodles or rye bread.