Piglets roam, cows graze and music emanates from the barn at Hickory Nut Gap Farm. With its deep roots and long history, this is a favorite gathering place for neighbors, visitors and families.
The 90-acre farm is nestled in Fairview, North Carolina (about a 20-minute drive from downtown Asheville). Visitors are free to explore the extensive property, where they’ll encounter sheep, goats, and even piglets. You also can shop at the farm store and enjoy a meal at their café. “Personally, I love their sausages…We had ‘sausage dogs’… and they were amazing,” remarked Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen Executive Chef in Greensboro. The Hickory Nut Gap Farm also hosts a variety of fun events, from Friday Night Barn Dances to a Summer Horse Camp.
Don’t worry, though, you don’t have to travel three hours to enjoy their food! Lucky 32 serves their breakfast links during brunch on the weekends. We also use a variety of their pork products, including the pork loin that’s featured on the 2016 Suddenly this Summer Menu (lunch, dinner and brunch).
9 ounces pork tenderloin
salt & pepper
2 fluid ounces Caramelized Onions (recipe below)
3 fluid ounces Peach Chutney (recipe below)
Season pork loin with salt and pepper and sear or grill on all sides to medium-well. Slice loin on the diagonal and serve over caramelized onions. Top sliced pork with peach chutney.
Makes 1 serving
5 pounds of yellow onions
5 tablespoons of canola oil
Remove the peel and slice in half end to end. Cut onions into uniform 1/4 inch thick slices. Heat oil in sauté pan. Add onions and sauté until tender. Reduce heat and continue to cook until onions are caramelized to a golden brown. Pour off excess liquid.
Makes about 3 cups.
1 pound of peaches
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup green bell pepper, diced
¼ red bell pepper, diced
¼ yellow onion, diced
½ tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
½ teaspoon fresh garlic, chopped
½ tablespoon Jalapeño pepper, sliced
¼ granulated sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Peel, pit and ice the peaches. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer until syrup consistency is achieved.
Makes 1½ cups
Disclaimer: All our recipes were originally designed for much larger batch size. This recipe has been reduced – but not tested at this scale. Please adjust to your taste and portion size.
Visitors can learn about Hickory Nut Gap Farm’s rich history in the education center barn. The farm was founded by Jim and Elizabeth McClure in 1916 and is still run by the family. “The name and traditions are special, so farming ‘old school’ is just the way it’s always been done. It’s 100 years old. That’s amazing considering so many farms have had to compromise their ways…but they haven’t,” commented Chef McMillan.
Jamie and Amy Ager (fourth generation of McClures) now co-own the Hickory Nut Gap farm business and brand Hickory Nut Gap Meats. Chef McMillan says that a relationship with the farm made perfect sense for Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen: “They have passion and values that are in line with what we do. After speaking with Jamie for just a few minutes, you can tell that he is so close to the farm and really cares about not only what they do, but how they do it.”
For more about our seasonal recipes, see our current menu at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen and our Recipe Index.
Pork Shank Braised in Red-Eye Gravy
Pork comes in all shapes and sizes. Chops, loins, butts and bellies seem to get the most love in the kitchen, but did you know that the shank can be a dandy piece of meat, too? It’s an excellent, but often-overlooked choice: When properly cooked, it’s full of flavor and super-easy to make.
So what exactly is a pork shank? It’s a cut of meat from the lower leg of a pig. It tends to be leaner because it doesn’t have much fat. As a result, if you cook it the wrong way, you’ll never tear that meat off the bone. Lucky for you, Lucky’s braising recipe will have you going “hog wild” for the pork shank!
Red-Eye Braised Pork Shank (Serves 4*)
4 each pork shank
3 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
²⁄3 cup all purpose flour
4 fl oz canola oil
1 ¹⁄3 cup yellow onion – diced
½ pound carrots – sliced
4 stalks celery
3 each bay leaves
2 ²⁄3 cup ham stock
2 cups double strength coffee
Prep veggies, meat, stock and spices. Dredge pork shank in flour. Shake off excess flour, but reserve. Heat oil in a wide, heavy bottomed pot. Sear and brown shank on all sides over medium heat
When fully browned, remove shank from pot and let rest. Add reserved flour to pot and stir well to make brown roux. When brown color is achieved, add onions, celery and carrots to roux.
Add salt, pepper, bay leaves and ham stock, continuing to stir. Stir in coffee. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer. You have now made our modernized version of red-eye gravy.
Return pork shank to a pot and pour the red-eye gravy and vegetables over it. Partially cover the pot while simmering until meat is tender, about 2 hours.
*All our recipes were originally designed for much larger batch sizes. These recipes have been reduced – but not tested at this scale. Please adjust as to your taste and portion size.
Pick up fresh vegetables like carrots and onions from our veggie cart at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen in Cary or Greensboro! We offer the same local crops that we serve to you, which means that we have seasonal samplings to spice up your meals!