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Posts from the ‘Eat it!’ Category

Sweet Bacon! Ideas for Eating Candied Bacon

Candied Bacon Banner with Caption

It’s a simple enough idea. Take something good (Berkshire pork bacon) and make it even better (add sugar and spice). If you can resist gobbling it up right out of the oven, you’ll have a smoky, sweet treat to play with.

Here is what you will need:

Candied bacon ingredients CAPT

Coat your bacon in the sugar and spice mixture, lay the strips on the rack and bake in the oven at 350 degrees until the bacon becomes golden and crispy. Now it’s candy.

Let it cool and then try adding it to things. For instance…candy breakfast.

Oatmeal with bacon2 CAPT

Try to stop eating these. We dare you.  This completely addictive snack will vanish at your next party. So make a big batch.

Spicy Pecans Bowl 2 CAPT

And if there is room for dessert, we recommend a candied bacon sundae.

Bacon Sundae 2 CAPT

Anatomy of a bacon sundae

How about you? What do you like to do with candied bacon?

All About Venison

For many, venison is associated with a hunter friend who dispenses irregular, butcher-paper-wrapped meat parcels of uneven quality and dubious taste. So it’s not a surprise that venison’s reputation has been less than stellar until recently.

Venison grazing on a Cervena-certified farm in New Zealand.

Venison grazing on a Cervena-certified farm in New Zealand.

Over the last decade or so, venison has become more main stream. The best restaurants in the country include it on their menus, and it can be purchased at neighborhood grocery stores and local butchers as well as online. Not only is venison easier to procure, but it’s more tender and milder in taste than its wild counterpart. Retail availability also means that home cooks can pick and choose the best cuts, not just the frozen stew meat left over from Uncle Bob’s hunting trip last year.

The term venison comes from the Latin verb venari, meaning “to hunt.” It can refer to meat coming from boar, hares, and certain species of goats and antelopes, but is most commonly applied to deer meat. Deer meat is characterized by its fine grain and supple texture resulting from short, thin muscle fibers. Red (the largest type of deer), axis, fallow, and roe are the most common type of deer used for their meat. Because of its large size, red deer are preferred for ranch-raised venison.

Where Does Venison Come From?
In addition to venison hunted largely in the Fall and early Winter season, ranches or farms are now located throughout the world. Most of America’s supply currently comes from New Zealand ranches and is marketed under the appellation Cervena, a name which reaches back to historical origins, combining cervidae, the Latin word for deer, with venison.

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Cervena is a trademarked appellation that certifies that venison has been naturally pasture-raised, grass-fed with only minimal supplemental feed such as hay, and without steroids or growth hormones. Antibiotics are administered only in cases of extreme disease and are then tracked by animal and not allowed to be processed. Cervena also requires that animals be under three years of age at time of processing and that processing take place at accredited facilities. Cervena certified farms are privately-operated New Zealand farms that adhere to the strict standards required by the appellation.

Why Eat Venison?
Game of all types, especially venison, is low in fat, cholesterol, and calories and high in the essential nutrients niacin, phosphorus, iron, selenium, and zinc. Tender, light, and with a mild red meat taste, Cervena venison is packed with flavor (plus iron and calcium), but weighs in with only a fifth the amount of fat that beef does – making it both delicious and nutritious.According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, Cervena venison has about a fifth the amount of fat and about 100 fewer calories per 3.5 ounce serving of beef, the traditional choice for red meat.

Chef Chris Cosentino's Veniosn Tartare.

Chef Chris Cosentino’s Venison Tartare with Foie Gras.

RECIPE SUGGESTIONS:
Venison Daube à l’Armagnac
Venison Tartare with Foie Gras
Bacon-Wrapped Rack of Venison
Venison Medallions with Wild Mushroom Port Sauce

Vive le cassoulet!

It’s that time of year again, our Cassoulet Recipe Kit is on SALE! For a limited time only, save 15% off our signature kit, with or without the authentic French bowl. In honor of this ‘it only happens twice a year’ sale we’d like to share one of our favorite videos. Here’s Ariane making a Gascon-style cassoulet with Chef Pierre Landet of Felix in New York City.

About the Goose

If your goose is well cooked, it has a succulent, tender dark meat that is rich tasting but free of fat.  A fine roasted goose can be a feast for king and peasant alike, suggested the French writer Honoré de Balzac.

White Embdem Goose

White Embdem Goose

Although plentiful and relatively inexpensive for the common man throughout history, these long-necked, web-footed birds are a rich source of legend and folktales. Egyptian mythology tells that a goose laid the primal egg from which the sun god, Ra, sprang. Brahma, the Hindu personification of divine reality and spiritual purity, rides a great gander. Until the Romans conquered the Gauls, who taught them how to feed and cook their geese, the Romans considered the birds sacred.

Charlemagne was so fond of eating goose he mandated that his lands be kept supplied with them. Queen Elizabeth I was another fan. One tradition says that when she was told about the destruction of the Spanish Armada, it was September 29, the Feast of Saint Michael, or Michaelmas, and she was dining on roast goose with sage and onion stuffing. She decreed that thereafter goose was to be served on this day in celebration.

Roasted Goose

Roasted Goose

Yet, for all these colorful tales, goose seems to elicit scowls or shrugs of frustration from home cooks. “It’s fine to let someone else fuss,” is the popular sentiment about geese. The perception of a fatty bird with a large frame and poor ratio of meat to bone is accurate, particularly when speaking about domestic geese. Incidentally, goose refers to a male or female. A gander is a male; a gosling is a young goose under 4 months of age.

Geese are actually pretty clever. The birds are also notoriously territorial. On farms, if geese are not fed by the same person every day they stage a hunger strike. If someone unknown tried to enter their domain, they are likely to attack. This characteristic has been appreciated through the ages. Romans kept geese at their villas as pets to protect their children and properties, and NASA has a flock to guard its launch pads.

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White Embden Goose, the same type we carry at D’Artagnan

Breeds of Geese
The bird raised for the table in America is the white Embden goose from Germany. It is pure white with an orange bill and orange legs and feet. The average dressed weight is 10 to 12 pounds. In France, there are Toulouse geese that are roasted and a subspecies, the Masseube, a gray goose with a big thoracic capacity where the liver expands for foie gras. Masseube geese can be very heavy. But once the liver is taken, they are quite fatty, and good to eat only when made into confit. Domesticated Chinese geese are smaller, brown-and-white birds.

Wild geese, of which the principal varieties are the Canada goose, snow goose, blue goose, and brant (black), are extremely lean and generally smaller than their domesticated cousins. However, in the 13th century, Marco Polo reported that the wild geese he saw in Fuchow weighed up to 24 pounds. The reports were accurate: they are still the largest wild geese.

Famous Toulouse goose of France

Famous Toulouse goose of France

Geese spend their lives flying and grazing on foods in their environment. If their principal diet is fish, beware; the bird may be very pungent. However, if they eat mostly grains, they are divine. The best wild geese to roast or grill are young birds, weighing about 5 pounds. They should be barded to protect the flesh from drying out.

Geese lay their eggs in the spring. Therefore, by Christmas a young goose is at its optimum weight. And that’s when most people think of having a goose.

Buying and Preparing Goose
When buying, look for a young bird, one that is about 6 to 8 months, and between 8 and 12 pounds. In estimating serving size, you should allow 1 ½ to 2 pounds of goose (raw weight) per person. Fresh geese are not available during February and March because the older birds are stringy and tough. If you have a mature bird, more than 12 pounds, you should braise, stew, or confit it in pieces, as you would a duck.

Rawgoose

Our Goose

To prepare a goose cut off the excess fat from the neck and from the inside cavities. The fat may be rendered like duck fat and made into cracklings, or used to cook potatoes, croutons, or omelets. Prick the skin of the back, breast and legs well to let to fat escape as the bird cooks. There will be a lot of fat –up to a quart—so it needs to be removed at least every 30 minutes during cooking. A bulb baster or large spoon will work. Take care; that fat is very hot!

As with most poultry, the problem with geese is that if they are cooked whole, the breast gets done first and can dry out while the legs are finishing. Either remove the breast and keep it warm, or tent it with aluminum foil. Either way, continue to baste the legs often to keep them moist.

The goose is cooked when the meat measures 165 degrees to 170 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer and the breast juices run pale pink (not rose-colored, like a duck’s) when pricked. As a rule of thumb, calculate between 13 and 15 minutes per pound unstuffed, and 18 to 22 minutes per pound stuffed. When the goose is done, remove it from the oven and let it rest for at least 20 to 25 minutes before carving.

To reheat a goose, cover the bird with aluminum foil and put it back in a moderate oven (350 degrees F) until heated through. Alternately, reheat in a sauce to keep moist.


RECIPE SUGGESTIONS:

Gala Goose

Goose with Roasted Apples

Michaelmas Goose

Roast Goose Breast & Braised Legs with Cassis Sauce

 

All About Capon

A capon is a male chicken that is gelded, or castrated, at a young age, and then fed a rich diet of milk or porridge until it reaches 6 to 12 pounds, between the age of 5 and 6 months. The flesh is very white and, unlike that of other chickens, marbled with fat. Larger than a chicken, a bit smaller than a turkey, but more flavorful than either, capons are full breasted with tender, juicy, flavorful meat that is well suited to roasting.

They tend to taste less gamy than an intact rooster would, and yield moist tender meat with high fat content. Because of its size, the capon is a good choice to feed a dinner party, or even a small Thanksgiving gathering in place of turkey.

Caponization is done either by surgical removal of the testes, or, as some factory poultry producers prefer, by estrogen implants. Capons that are labeled “all natural” have been surgically caponized. Because of the loss of sex hormones, the normally aggressive barnyard rooster becomes a docile, mellow creature. Capons can be housed together as they will not fight for dominance, which makes the process of raising them a lot easier on the farmer. Capons are less active because of the neutralization of sex hormones so their flesh does not become tough and muscled but instead is fatty and tender. Other physical changes to a capon include a smaller head, comb and wattle.

History
While humankind has been eating chicken for a long time—at least since 4000 BC in Asia—the capon’s history is a bit murkier. When it was first decided to castrate a young male chicken and then fatten it up is open for debate, but some lay it at the doorstep of the Romans. A law was passed during a period of drought (162 BC) forbidding the fattening of hens, as it was deemed a waste of precious grain. Wily breeders skirted the letter of the law by instead castrating roosters and fattening them for sale, though these capons were much larger than hens, so they must have eaten plenty of grain. The name “capon” comes from the Latin “capo,” meaning “cut.” Through the Middle Ages, capons were especially popular with the clergy and kings, and thus popularized throughout Europe, where capon was stuffed, roasted, stewed and baked into pies. In present-day France and Italy, capons are traditionally served at Christmas.

Cooking
Capons require longer cooking times than typical chickens because of their larger size. Roasting capons at lower temperatures helps bring out the flavor, but also adds to the cooking time. As a general rule, a capon should be roasted for 17 minutes per pound, so a 10 lb. bird would require a total roasting time of just under 3 hours. The poultry is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the capon’s thigh reads 165 degrees or the juices run clear. Whether poached or stuffed and roasted, capons offer rich taste and lots of meat to go around the table.

RECIPE SUGGESTIONS:
Roasted Capon with Chestnut Honey
Capon Poule au Pot with Foie Gras Stuffing
Capon with Mango Glaze
Roasted Capon with Mushroom Truffle Stuffing
Roasted Capon with Cognac Mushroom Sauce
Sweet Chestnut Stuffed Capon

I’ll take seconds…

We so look forward to this time of year. The days are short and chilly, we’re curling up in cozy sweaters and craving cassoulet. The classic duck and bean stew from Southwest France is a favorite around here, especially during the autumn months. Fairly easy to prepare and incredibly satisfying, cassoulet should be a staple in every foodie’s recipe repertoire. And we’ve made it even more accessible with our Cassoulet Recipe Kit, recipe tips and how-to video.

Celebrate France! Eat Duck!

Sample these beautiful dishes (and many more!) from our awesome chef clients from around the country! Check out the full list of D’Artagnan duck + Le Taste of France participating restaurants and make your reservations now! Promotion ends this Sunday, September 30th.

MANHATTAN

Brasserie Beaumarchais  409 West 13th Street New York, NY  |  (212) 675-2400

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Seared Duck Breast, Orange Braised Fennel, Orange Dust and Orange and Fennel Salad from Beaumarchais, NYC

Benoit  60 West 55th Street New York, NY  |  (646) 943-7373

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Le Bateau Ivre  230 East 51st Street #1 New York, NY  |  (212) 583-0579

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Magret de Canard au Poivre at Bateau Ivre, NYC

La Mangeoire   1008 2nd Ave New York, NY |  (212) 759-7086

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Craftbar  900 Broadway New York, NY  |  (212) 461-4300

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Rouen Duck with Cassoulet for Two at Craftbar, NYC

The Americano  518 W. 27th St. New York, NY  |  (212) 216-0000

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La Marina  348 Dyckman Street New York, NY  |  (212) 567-6300

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Roast D’Artagnan Duck Breast, Duck Leg Confit, Shiitake Risotto, Glazed Black Mission Figs, Red Wine Reduction at La Marina, NYC

Alison Eighteen 15 West 18th Street New York, NY  |  (212) 366-1818

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Paradou  8 Little West 12th St. New York, NY  |  (212) 463-8345

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Cast Iron Roasted Rohan Duck Breast, Grilled Marinated White Peaches, Braised Cippolinis, Carrot Purée and Foie Gras ‘Anglaise’ Sauce from Paradou, NYC

Landmarc Tribeca  179 West Broadway New York, NY  |  (212) 343-3883

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Landmarc Time Warner Center  10 Columbus Circle, 3rd Floor  New York, NY  |  (212) 823-6123

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BROOKLYN

Allswell  124 Bedford Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11206  |  (347) 799-2743

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Woodland  242 Flatbush Ave Brooklyn, NY 11217  |  (718) 398-7700

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Le Comptoir  251 Grand Street Brooklyn, NY 11211  |  (718) 486-3300

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Juliette 135 North 5th Street Brooklyn, NY 11249  |  (718) 388-9222

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Rohan Duck Breast, Celery Root Puree, Roasted Salsify, Tuscan Kale, Medjool Dates and Autumn Herb Jus at Juliette in Brooklyn, NY

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QUEENS

Alobar 46-42 Vernon Boulevard Long Island City, NY 11101  |  (718) 752-6000

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Duck Confit Sloppy Joe with Fried Duck Egg on Brioche at Alobar in Long Island City, NY

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LONG ISLAND

Public House 49  49 East Main St. Patchogue, NY 11772  |  (631) 569-2767

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NEW JERSEY

Due Mari  78 Albany Street New Brunswick, NJ 08901  |  (732) 296-1600

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Special Duck Dish at Due Mari in New Brunswick, NJ

Just Restaurant 2280 Route 9 South Old Bridge, NJ 08857  |  (732) 707-4800

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Rob’s Bistro  75 Main Street  Madison, NJ 07940  |  (973) 377-0067

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“Duck, duck, foie!” at Rob’s Bistro in Madison, NJ

Village Green Restaurant  36 Prospect Street Ridgewood, NJ 07450  |  (201) 445-2914

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Firefly American Bistro 152 Main Street  Manasquan, NJ 08736  |  (732) 223-0152

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Sous Vide Magret Duck Breast, Chantrelle Mushroom & Blackberry Pinot Noir Glace Mounted with Foie Gras, Roasted Heirloom Carrot at Firefly American Bistro in Manasquan, NJ

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FLORIDA

The Diningroom at Little Palm Island 28500 Overseas Hwy. Little Torch Key, FL 33042  |  (305) 872-2524

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Duck Nouveau Cordon Bleu at The Diningroom at Little Palm Island, Little Torch Key, FL

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MICHIGAN

The Van Camp House 135 N. Ridge St.  Port Sanilac, MI 48469  |  (810) 622-0558

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TEXAS

The Inn at Dos Brisas 9400 Champion Drive  Brenham, TX 77833  |  (979) 277-3003

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PHILADELPHIA

Caribou Cafe 1126 Walnut St.  Philadelphia, PA 19107  |  (215) 625-9535

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The Pickled Heron 2218 Frankford Ave  Philadelphia, PA 19125  |  (215) 634-5666

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Zinc Restaurant  246 S. 11th Street Philadelphia, PA 19107  |  (215) 351-9901

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A la Maison Bistro  53 W. Lancaster Ave. Ardmore, PA 19003  |  (484) 412-8009

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Restaurant Alba  7 West King Street  Malvern, PA 19355  |  (610) 644-4009

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Bibou BYOB  1009 S. 8th Street Philadelphia, PA 19147  |  (215) 965-8290

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Warm Duck Rillette Wrap in Feuille de Brick, Shaved Heirloom Baby Carrot, Watercress Salad, Sherry Vinegar Duck Jus at Bibou BYOB

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WASHINGTON DC AREA

Ici Urban Bistro  806 15th Street Northwest Washington, DC 20005  |  (202) 730-8700

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2941 Restaurant  2941 Fairview Park Drive  Falls Church, VA 22042  |  (703) 270-1500

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Pekin Duck Three Ways: Garbure, Duck and Cabbage Sausage, Roasted Breast with Pomme Lyonnaise at 2941 Restaurant, Falls Church, VA

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CONNECTICUT

Union League Cafe  1032 Chapel Street New Haven, CT 06510  |  (203) 562-5199

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Park Central Tavern  1640 Whitney Ave. Hamden, CT 06517  |  (203) 287-8887

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Restaurant Jean-Louis  61 Lewis Street  Greenwich, CT 06830  |  (203) 622-8450

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Caseus Fromagerie Bistro  93 Whitney Ave  New Haven, CT  |  (203) 624-3373

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Three course duck prix fixe from Caseus Fromagerie Bistro in New Haven, CT

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BOSTON AREA

Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro  201 Patriot Place  Foxborough, MA 02035  |  (508) 203-9463

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Gaslight Brasserie du Coin 560 Harrison Ave.  Boston, MA  |  (617) 422-0224

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The Gallows  1395 Washington St. Boston, MA 02118  |  (617) 425-0200

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Brasserie Jo  120 Huntington Ave  Boston, MA 02116  |  (617) 425-3240

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Duck a L’Orange at Brasserie Jo, Boston

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The D’Artagnan + Le Taste of France duck dish promotion runs until Sunday September 30th! Call for reservations now! And if you’re in the NYC area, pop by our booth at Le Taste of France this weekend!!

Celebrate France! Where to eat…

Have you tried one of the special D’Artagnan duck dishes offered by our amazing clients for Le Taste of France celebration?! If not, we’d suggest you make a reservation today! Check out the map below to find a participating restaurant. And take photos! We’ll share them on our facebook page and give you a special shout out.

 

All About Partridge

The partridge is a medium-size, plump-bodied Old World game bird with tender white flesh. Of the four major species, all in the pheasant family, the two most common are the red-legged partridge, a bird that originated in Spain and southern France, and nests in woodland trees; and the gray-legged partridge, from Great Britain, which is about 12 inches long and nests in ground cover, like open fields and moors.

Neither is indigenous to the United States. A third species of partridge, the chukar, was imported from Asia into North America for hunting sport in 1927, and has been farm-raised ever since. Unfortunately, the birds don’t take well to domestication, and the results are pale in comparison to the real thing. To confuse matters even more, what is called a partridge in the United States is often a ruffed grouse or bobwhite quail, and in the American South they are sometimes mistakenly called pheasants.

Partridges are one of the mildest-tasting game birds. They average 10 to 12 ounces dressed, or perhaps 14 ounces for a fat gray-legged bird. Chukars can weigh still more.

When hunting partridge, a perdreau—a bird of the current year—is the most prized catch. In France, a young bird that makes it past October 1, St. Remi’s Day, is said to be mature. The unmistakable sign of a young bird is the tiny white spot at the end of the long wing feather. The talent of the hunter is to recognize surroundings that could be enticing to partridges, and to find a bird that has just gotten its adult colors: earthy tints with rusty tans and, sometimes, a rusty-brown horseshoe line of feathers on the breast.

Far more tender than a perdrix, or old partridge, the young bird is rarely hung. Because the meat of older game birds tends to be tough, they are traditionally hung in a cold room or in refrigeration for several days before plucking. This process ages the meat, tenderizes it, and some would say, improves the flavor.

Influential food writers and gastronomes have long debated the subject of faisander, or hanging, birds. In eighteenth century France, Grimod de la Reynière advocated that a bird shot on Ash Wednesday should hang until Easter before cooking. Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin more judiciously suggested that pheasants were best just as decomposition began and the aroma of the bird’s oil smelled slightly fermented.

Hanging game birds is a common European practice that never quite made it to the United States. In Eliza Leslie’s Directions for Cookery in Its Various Branches (1848), the American food writer observed that “it is not the custom in America, as in some parts of Europe, to keep game till it begins to taint; all food when inclining to decomposition being regarded by us with disgust.” Today the custom is dying out even in Parisian haute cuisine restaurants.

Roasted Partridge

Cooking
Partridge is small so you will want to allow one to two per diner, depending on how you prepare the bird. It’s usually cooked for just 15 minutes, and served with a mild sauce. Often the breast is first covered with a grape leaf to protect it from drying out, and then the bird is encircled with a layer of ventrèche (pancetta) or bacon. It is roasted on top of a thick slice of country bread to trap the best part: the juice. However you can bone the meat and chop it to use in a cacciatore, or on top of wild rice and chestnuts. Older birds require slow cooking, and a strong sauce to compete with the gamy taste. Traditionally, a perdrix is slowly braised with cabbage.

Partridge Cacciatore

At D’Artagnan, we only sell the wild Scottish red-legged partridge during game season. The red-legged partridge was introduced to the United Kingdom in the 1600s for hunting purposes and are central to the hunting culture there. These truly wild game birds are shot on hunting preserves and inspected by European Economic Community Inspectors (similar to the USDA) before being shipped to the U.S. This arrangement offers the rare opportunity to taste hunted game, which is not legal to sell in the U.S.

RECIPE SUGGESTIONS:
Partridge Cacciatore
Lime-Flavored Roasted Partridge
Partridge with Marsala and Brandy

All About Lamb

Lamb is one of the most popular meats in England, Australia, Greece, the Middle East… pretty much everywhere but the United States, where our paltry annual average of one pound of meat per person pales in comparison to the almost 40 pounds consumed by each person in these countries. Our pals in New Zealand get special mention for eating an average of 57 pounds of lamb a year, thus ranking the nation as number one in the world for eating lamb meat!

D’Artagnan Domestic Lambs in Pasture

When Everyone Ate Lamb
Sheep were one of the earliest staple animals as humans made the transition from hunters to farmers. Meat, milk and wool all come from this useful, relatively small ruminant, making it most likely to succeed as one of the first domesticated animals. And sheep graze happily on meager pasture, so they can be reared in marginal, rocky areas. Also going for them (or their shepherds) is their flocking behavior. It does make it easy to keep track of them when they are out in pasture.

As testament to their success as a domesticated species, there are more than 200 breeds in existence today, each developed to a specific purpose. Some are bred for wool production, like the Merino, others for milk, like the East Fresian, which is responsible for much of the sheep milk in the world (which gets made into some of the best cheese!). In France, the Lacaune breed is the sheep of choice for producing the milk to make the legendary Roquefort cheese. And some breeds are best for succulent meat, like Cheviot, Dorset, Rambouillet or Suffolk sheep. And many breeds are good for all three.

Our Rocky Mountain Lambs Grazing

Lamb vs. Mutton

Lamb refers to meat from young sheep less than 12 months old, which is tender and mild in flavor. The meat from a sheep older than one year is called mutton, and it has a more intense flavor and somewhat less tender texture. Some cultures prefer to eat mutton (we’re looking at you, Great Britain!), and have developed recipes that require long slow cooking to break down the meat and tenderize it. There is another category called yearling mutton, which refers to meat from a sheep between 1 year and 2 years old. Yearling mutton will be darker, somewhat coarser and firmer with more fat and obviously larger overall than true lamb. Americans will be more likely to eat young lamb than mutton, when they do hunker down to their one pound of lamb a year.
Why We Should Eat More Lamb
The other red meat is good for you! Lamb meat has eight essential amino acids in the proper ratios, has high-quality protein, and is high in B vitamins, zinc and iron. And lamb is pretty lean compared to other red meats. Most of the fat is on the outside, not marbled throughout the meat, so it’s easily trimmed off. About 36 percent of the fat in lamb is saturated fat, and the rest is mono or polyunsaturated fat. And then there is the CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which is a unique antioxidant that the human body cannot produce, but must get from eating herbivores like sheep, goats or cows. Lambs that get to eat clean pasture and range in the sunshine produce the most CLA.

Lobel Brothers’ Persian Lamb

D’Artagnan Lamb
D’Artagnan sources humanely-raised lamb from Australia, where there is a strong tradition of pasturing these wooly ruminants. A cross between the Dorset, White Suffolk and Border Leicester-Merino breeds, the sheep dine on clover and rye grasses, ensuring a sweet, mild flavor that is not gamey (a common complaint of uninitiated lamb eaters).

Domestic lamb is raised in the Rocky Mountain region by a small cooperative of family farms. They raise the heritage Rambouillet/Suffolk mixed breed on high altitude pasture, and finish them with a grain supplement. Like the farmers in our other cooperatives, they insist on following natural processes, never administering antibiotics or hormones.

Chef Jason Tillman’s Lamb Chops with Foie Gras and Prunes

The Rocky Mountains are an ideal place to raise lambs, with hundreds of thousands of acres of open pastures for grazing, comfortable temperatures and plenty of water and sunshine. This pristine and healthy environment minimizes stress on the animals and produces robust, well-fed lambs. Lambs grown in this environment are meatier than lambs grown in many other areas due to the optimal growth environment and unique genetics.

Lambs are raised to an average age of 6-9 months, which means their meat is quite tender with rich flavor. The grass and grain diet contributes to a mild, less gamey flavor than that which many associate with lamb.

Chek Kyle Ketchum’s Lamb Loin

Cooking
Racks, shanks, leg of lamb, lamb tenderloin, lamb shoulder—where to begin? Whatever the cut, the key to tasty lamb is not to overcook it! Nobody will be won over to the flavor of lamb if they are offered dry, grey, overcooked meat. Cook to medium rare, or 130 degrees F, which is the temperature that most chefs prefer for lamb, leaving all the juices, texture and flavor intact. In general, rack of lamb is a great roasted braised, or grilled. Leg of lamb can be marinated and roasted, and shanks respond well to braising and roasting. And if you are too timid to start with a lamb rack, try lamb merguez sausage - a favorite in North African and French cuisine!

RECIPE SUGGESTIONS:
Leg of Lamb Gascon Style
Grilled Rack of Lamb with Fresh Herbs
Braised Rack of Lamb with Carrots, Potatoes and Spinach
Moroccan Braised Lamb Shanks with Mint Yogurt