Skip to content

FLASH SALE! Today Only!

Check the selection at dartagnan.com and save up to 40% off in our 12 hour flash sale.

HPC_OctFlash

Ends October 21, 2014 at 9 PM EST. 

 

What is Barding?

Most people agree that everything tastes better with bacon. Wrapping foods in bacon is a fad with serious staying power…and deep historical roots. The technical term for wrapping food in a layer of fat to add flavor and moisture is “barding.” Bacon is commonly used because aside from its signature fat content, the flavor is sweet, salty and smoky at the same time. Perfect for imparting flavor to a lean piece of meat.

Pigeon with bacon and myrtle and wild berries

Classic bacon-wrapped items, such as rumaki (chicken liver or water chestnuts wrapped in bacon and brushed with a sweet soy glaze), angels on horseback (oysters wrapped in bacon), devils on horseback (prunes wrapped in bacon), and bacon-wrapped filet mignon, have been around for years. Veal paupiettes are another classic version of barding.

2644852

Think beyond these old school stand-bys and try baconizing the following:

  • Fruit: dried dates, pineapple wedges, fresh figs
  • Vegetables: bundles of asparagus, green beans or green onions, mushrooms, potato wedges, spicy peppers, cherry tomatoes, avocado wedges, slices of acorn squash
  • Seafood: shrimp, scallops, thick pieces of fish, like seabass or salmon
  • Meat: pork loin, venison tenderloin, meatloaf or meatballs, hamburger sliders
  • Poultry: whole pheasants or guinea hen, bite-sized chicken pieces, bone-in turkey breast, quail
  • Other: hard-cooked eggs, rolls or bread sticks

Once your items are wrapped in bacon, you can choose to bake, broil, grill, or sauté them. If the item you are wrapping in bacon has a short cook time (e.g., a fresh fig), you will need to par-cook the bacon before using to ensure it is fully cooked when the dish is ready to eat. Cook the bacon first in a skillet or the oven until it is half-way cooked, but still pliable. Then proceed to twist, drape or wrap it around the item of your choice, and finish it in the oven, on the grill or in the pan.

FCP0012594

Mix things up by using a wide variety of bacon. Hickory smoked and applewood smoked both have the traditional flavors we all recognize. For something completely different, try duck bacon wrapped around dried apricots or baby bok choy. Ventrèche, or French pancetta, isn’t technically bacon because it is not smoked, but can be used in all the same ways. It is especially good wrapped around figs and blue cheese.

Recipe_Squab_Plums_HomeMedium

This squab recipe involves plums wrapped in bacon, which is a variation we highly  recommend. And you can watch Chef Marcus Samuelsson prepare it in our video.

Thank a Farmer on World Food Day

World Food Day started on October 16, 1979, to celebrate the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 1945.

This year the UN General Assembly designated 2014 as the “International Year of Family Farming.”  They are focusing world attention on the role that family farming plays in supporting global agriculture and in eradicating hunger and poverty.

On World Food Day, we join with millions of others to salute family farmers and ranchers for the work they do. They truly are “Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth.”

World Food Day

Master of the Game

No this is not about a new action movie, but rather a medieval book on hunting by Gaston de Foix, also called Gaston Phoebus, because of his bright blond hair like the Greek sun god.

Gaston Phoebus Figure 3

left to right, Gaston of the gleaming hair, the Arms of Foix-Béarn and a statue of Gaston.

Before your eyes glaze over at the prospect of reading history, we promise you drama, danger, murder and what is possibly the very first Burning Man festival. Plus pretty pictures of animals.

Gaston (1331 – 1391) was the 11th Count of Foix (in what is southern France today) and Viscount of Béarn (southwest France, today  Basque country and Gascony- Ariane’s neighborhood). From all accounts he was an interesting guy. He reportedly had three “special delights” in his life: “arms, love and hunting.”

southfrance

Map showing Béarn with purple outline, right by the Pyrenees, and Foix with red outline.

Which brings us to the point of this post; Gaston Phoebus wrote what is arguably the most famous book on hunting ever, Livre de chasse (Book of the Hunt) in the 1380s. He was a great huntsman – perhaps the greatest of his day. It was the pursuit of his lifetime to the very end: he died from a stroke while washing his hands after a bear hunt.

archerbearhunt

Hunting a bear.

But the book is his legacy and actually comprised of four books: On Gentle and Wild Beasts, On the Nature and Care of Dogs, On Instructions for Hunting with Dogs, and On Hunting with Traps, Snares, and Crossbow.

Gaston Phoebus Bunnies

A full page of Gaston’s Book of the Hunt.

tumblr_mkhnxaKhJh1rqxd5ko1_1280

Detail of the hares.

An impressive document on natural history, describing animal behavior as well as the stages of hunting those animals, it is considered to be one of the finest manuscripts of its time. It’s a powerful cultural history that took such care with observations of the natural world that it was in use as a textbook right into the 19th century.

Sans-titre-2
And it was a bestseller right from the start (as much as things could be when entirely hand-lettered, drawn and painted). The courts of France and Burgundy considered it a work of art, and in some hands it certainly was. Shining with gold and richly colored, perhaps the finest example is from the Masters of Bedford workshop.

Since it’s game season, and we are having a sale on all game meat this week (save 15% – no hunting necessary!), we wanted to share a little of this beautiful book with you. If you would like to see  more, check the Morgan Library & Museum website.

Book of the Hunt Gaston Phoebus DEER

Book of the Hunt Gaston Phoebus BOAR

gastonphoebus_medium

What about the murder, the drama and Burning Man? Well, Gaston Phoebus had a son who, in adulthood, tried to poison his father. Then later, Phoebus accidentally stabbed and killed this only son in a fight. That’s Shakespeare-level drama.

While he had no heir, he did have four illegitimate sons. And one of them was burned alive at an unfortunate performance at a ball in Paris for King Charles VI of France. The Bal de Ardents, or Burning Man Ball, went down in history when a costume brushed against a torch and spread rather quickly, killing four dancers in the fire while the court watched. And here is where our story ends.

1024px-Le_Bal_des_Ardents

Le Bal des Ardents, illuminated miniature from Jean Froissart’s Chroniques, note the dancer plunged into a wine barrel on the right, and how the musicians continue to play.

 

It’s Game Season! Save 15% This Week

Whether beast or fowl, all game is 15% off all week. Our Scottish game, flown in fresh from the hunt, our venison, raised in pristine pastureland in New Zealand, and even dainty and delicious quail are all specially priced through 10/19/14 at dartagnan.com.
HPC_WildGame15And check our website for recipes and videos. Worried about cooking wild boar? No need! Chef Marc Murphy and Ariane show you how in this video.

And our recipe page has plenty of inspirations for game feasts. Forget the thrill of the chase … this is all about the thrill of the taste.

Cassoulet Week at D’Artagnan

As soon as the temperatures drop we start dreaming of hearty meals. The heartiest of them all is the iconic cassoulet…which is why we are offering 15% off the recipe kit and all the components at dartagnan.com this week (sale ends Friday, 10/10 at midnight EST). Plan a cassoulet party and share the bounty.

Or simply save 15% and use duck confit, Tarbais beans or ventrèche for other recipes. Did we mention demi-glace and duck fat are in that sale too?

If you have any concerns about cassoulet being complicated, watch our video with Ariane and Chef Pierre Landet to ease your fears. And look over the recipe. Cassoulet is easy to make!

HPC_CassouletSale

October is ….

… National Chili Month,  National Apple Month and National Pork Month.  Yes, all in October. Who decides these things? Whoever you are, we thank you.

Apples by Evelyn Simak

Apple tree, photo by Evelyn Simak

To celebrate, we offer you recipes that involve one or more of these, because we don’t have one for pork and apple chili. But that could be interesting…Happy October!

Anasazi Cowboy Chili with Buffalo & Nopales

Anasazi beans are a cross between kidney and pinto beans. They hold their shape beautifully in this spicy buffalo chili recipe by Steve Sando.

Recipe_Heirloom_Buffalo_Chili_HomeMedium

Ingredients

Serves 6-8

1 pound Anasazi beans
1 1/2 medium white onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound ground buffalo meat
1 jalapeño chile pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
3/4 teaspoon good-quality chile powder, such as chipotle
1 can (14 1/2 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 cup lager beer
2 tablespoons masa harina (optional)
2 nopales paddles, prepared and cooked
Crème fraîche
Grated cheddar cheese
Scallions, sliced, white and pale green parts
Fresh cilantro, chopped

Preparation

1. Soak beans overnight in water at room temperature.

2. After soaking, put the beans in a large pot with their soaking water and enough cold water to cover the beans by 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Add one-third of the onions and half of the chopped garlic. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until the beans are nearly done, about 1 hour. Season with salt.

3. Meanwhile, in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the meat, season with salt, and cook, stirring, until the meat loses all of its pink color and begins to brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Pour off most of the fat.

4. Add the remaining onions and garlic and the chile, and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes, scraping up any browned bits clinging to the bottom of the pot. Add the cumin, oregano, chile powder, tomatoes, and beer and return the meat to the pot. Add the beans and their broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently until the flavors are blended and the beans are tender, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding salt and pepper and more chile powder if needed.4

5. If you’d like a thicker chili, dissolve the masa harina in 1/2 cup water, stirring well to eliminate lumps. Stir the paste into the chili, add the nopales, adjust the seasonings, and cook for 10 minutes. Ladle the chili into warmed bowls. Pass the sour cream, grated cheese, green onions, and cilantro at the table.

CHEF’S NOTE: Any of the pinto beans will work nicely in this chili, as will Vallarta, yellow Indian woman, or black beans.

Pork Chops with Apples

Lucinda Scala Quinn’s homey pork chops with apples and cider are sure to become a family favorite. The perfect recipe to celebrate the apple harvest!

Recipe_Pork_Chops_Apples_Onions_HomeMedium

Ingredients

Serves 6

6 Berkshire Pork Milanese chops
Salt and coarsely-ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large white onion, sliced
2-3 apples, cored and sliced (about 3 cups)
1 cup apple cider, white wine, or chicken stock

Preparation

1. Trim the chops of excess fat and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a 14-inch cast-iron skillet (if you have a smaller one, you’ll need to work in batches) over high heat, and then swirl in the olive oil. Lay the pork chops in the pan and don’t move for a few minutes. This assures a good golden sear. Turn the chops over and brown well on the second side for a total of about 10 minutes. Remove the chops to a warm plate.

2. Swirl the butter into the pan. Add the onion and apples. Sauté until the onion slices are lightly caramelized and the apples have begun to soften, about 8 minutes. Stir in the beer or other liquid. Return the chops to the pan.

3. Cook until the pork is tender, about 15 more minutes (depending on the size of the chops), turning halfway through and covering the chops with the apple mixture. If the apple mixture needs a little thickening, remove the chops to the warm plate again and simmer the mixture on high for a few minutes to reduce. Serve the chops over rice or mashed potatoes with a large spoonful of the apple-onion mixture over the top.

Potato Latkes with Foie Gras & Apples

There is no reason to wait for Hanukkah to make these golden potato pancakes. After all, it’s National Apple Month. First the pancakes are crisped in duck fat and then crowned with silky foie gras and tart apple.

Recipe_Foie_Gras_Latkes_HomeMedium

 Ingredients

Serves 6

2 medium Granny Smith or other tart green apples, peeled, cored, and cut crosswise in 1/8-inch slices (reserve trimmings)
2/3 cup simple syrup
1¼ cups duck and veal demi-glace
2 medium-large baking potatoes (about 1¼ pounds), peeled
1 small onion
1 small golden delicious or other sweet apple, peeled
1 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
1 egg, beaten
6 or more tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
1 duck fat
6 foie gras slices

Preparation

1. Combine sliced apples with simple syrup in a bowl and soak for 8 hours or overnight.

2. Add apple trimmings to demi-glace, bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and keep warm.

3. Grate potatoes, red apple, and onion. Gently stir in parsley, egg, and flour, and season with salt and pepper. Heat enough duck fat to measure about ½ inches deep in a large heavy skillet. Form mixture into 12 pancakes. If too moist, add a little more flour. When fat is hot, about 375 degrees F, add only as many pancakes as will comfortably fit in pan without crowding, flattening them slightly. Cook until browned and crispy on both sides, turning once. Remove with a slotted spatula, blot on paper towels, and keep warm in a warm oven.Discard fat and wipe out pan.

4. Heat pan until very hot. Season foie gras with salt and pepper, and sauté until lightly browned and medium-rare inside, about 45 seconds per side.

5. On warm plates, place a potato pancake, then add an apple slice and a foie gras medallion on top. Spoon on sauce, and serve.

 

 

Friends & Family Sale!

Buy whatever you like at dartagnan.com and take 15% off with promo code FRIENDS14 for 3 days … beginning NOW!

HPC_FriendsandFam14

Mad About Mushrooms

We’re more than just meat … did you know that D’Artagnan is also a purveyor of mushrooms?  We follow the seasons around the globe to bring wild mushrooms to our chef clients.  The fragrant and delicate truffles and porcinis, morels, chanterelles, mousserons, hedgehogs, matsutakes, chicken of the woods and many more, come by truck and airplane from just about every corner of the globe. Foraged from woods and mountains by experts, then swiftly transported to us, these are the very essence of wild eating. Their seasonal availability, fragile and perishable nature, and their susceptibility to the vagaries of weather make them all the more precious.

We also offer beautiful cultivated and wild mushrooms that work in many recipes, such as the ones below. We hope they will inspire you to cook a meal that includes mushrooms. And should you be inclined to explore, or rather, to forage for more, you will find others on our website.

Creamed Mushrooms on Toast

This simple recipe is rich and comforting. And while we think it’s totally fabulous as-is, when you add a generous knob of black truffle butter and serve it on petit toasts, it becomes luxurious party food.

Recipe_Creamed_Mushrooms_HomeMedium

Creamed Mushrooms on Toast, recipe by Colman Andrews

Ingredients

Serves 6

4 tablespoons butter, plus more for buttering rolls
2 lbs wild & exotic mushrooms, brushed clean, cut into pieces of equal size or left whole if small
6 small French rolls
1 cup heavy cream
Coarse sea salt
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

Preparation

1. Preheat the broiler.

2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes, or until they have released their liquor and reabsorbed some of it.

3. Meanwhile, split the French rolls, butter them lightly, and toast them lightly under the broiler. Divide the toasted rolls equally between 6 plates (2 small halves or 1 large half on each plate).

4. Add the cream to the mushrooms, stirring it in well, and continue to cook for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Season to taste with salt, then spoon the mushrooms and sauce over the rolls. Garnish with some chopped parsley, if you like.

Pasta with Foie Gras & Wild Mushrooms

Add a little luxury to weeknight dinner with this simple recipe that uses top-tier ingredients but comes together in minutes. It’s a favorite dish at D’Artagnan, and we’ve served it at many tasting events to great acclaim.

Recipe_Pasta_Foie_Gras_Mushrooms_HomeMedium

Ingredients

Serves 4

8 ounces foie gras cubes
1 pound Gemelli pasta, or similar
2 Tablespoons black truffle butter
1 container duck and veal demi-glace
2 cups wild mushrooms, chopped
1 Tablespoon porcini powder
Salt & freshly cracked pepper

Preparation

1. Cook pasta in lightly salted water, to al dente. Reserve about 3/4 cup of pasta water, set aside. Drain pasta, rinse with cool water and set aside.

2. Heat a large, dry skillet over high flame. When hot, sauté foie gras until golden brown (about 1 minute), then remove from pan and set aside. Add the mushrooms to the same pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes.

3. Leaving the mushrooms in the pan, add the demi-glace, reserved pasta water and porcini flour, then reduce by a third.

4. Add the cooked pasta to the pan, toss to coat with the liquid, add 2 tablespoons of black truffle butter, allowing it to melt. Now add the sautéed foie gras, and toss it all together gently.

5. Add salt, pepper, and more truffle butter, to taste.

 Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding

This versatile, savory bread pudding pairs well with meat or poultry and can be baked in a large dish or individual ramekins.

Recipe_Wild_Mushroom_Bread_Pudding_HomeMedium

Ingredients

Serves 8

4 cups fresh brioche cubes (about ½”)
2 lbs assorted wild mushrooms, chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 tablespoons black truffle butter
6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
10 chives, finely chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
4 eggs
1/2 cup grated hard, aged cheese (such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or Mimolette)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a medium sized casserole, about 9×12.

2. Spread brioche cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, turning once, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

3. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon black truffle butter. Add shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushroom liquid has evaporated and mushrooms turn golden (about 15 minutes). Stir in thyme, parsley and chives. Cook about 1 minute more, remove from heat.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together cream, milk, eggs, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Gently stir in mushroom mixture and bread cubes, turning to coat. Let rest for about 10 minutes, then pour into prepared dish.

5. Bake until slightly firm to the touch, about 30 – 35 minutes. Cool slightly on wire rack, then unmold and serve.

Broiled Wild Mushrooms with Tamari Butter

This simple recipe from Bruce and Eric Bromberg of Blue Ribbon fame, has few ingredients but is packed with umami. It’s a favorite dish at their New York City restaurant, Blue Ribbon Sushi, and once you see how easy and delicious it is from your own kitchen, we have no doubt it will be one your favorites too! And it takes only ten minutes to make.

Recipe_Tamari_Mushrooms_HomeMedium

Broiled Wild Mushrooms with Tamari Butter by the Bromberg Brothers. Photo: Quentin Bacon.

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 pound wild & exotic mushroom mix, gently cleaned and trimmed if needed
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons sake
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preparation

1. Preheat the broiler.

2. In a medium bowl, toss together the mushrooms, tamari and sake. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet and dot with butter. Broil, turning once, until tender and golden, about 5 minutes total.

Happy Rosh Hashanah

pomegranate- Rosh Hashanah