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Featured Recipe: Chicken with Autumn Vegetables and Madeira

This wonderful recipe is adapted from Chef Frank Stitt’s excellent cookbook, Southern Table. The warming dish is Chef Stitt’s version of coq au vin, made with Madeira instead of red wine, served over puréed root vegetables and topped with crispy bits of country ham. We think it’s the perfect dish for rainy fall weather.

photo courtesy of Artisan Publishing

Chicken with Autumn Vegetables and Madeira
Serves 8

Ingredients

For the Autumn Vegetable Puree:

2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
1/2 medium rutabaga, peeled, trimmed and cut ino small chunks
1 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the Chicken:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 Organic Free-Range Chicken, 3 to 4 lbs, rinsed and cut into serving pieces
Salt and coarsely-ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 cup medium-dry Madeira
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
2 to 3 sprigs thyme
3 bay leaves
2 slices country ham, thin slices, cut into thin julienne strips

Glazed Root Vegetables, if desired

Preparation
1. In a large heavy sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high and sear the pieces on all sides until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a rack set over a baking sheet and set aside.

2. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the pan over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook until softened and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the Madeira and white wine, bring to a boil, and reduce by three-quarters. Add the broth, thyme, and bay leaves and bring to a simmer.

3. Place the chicken in a casserole and pour the simmering broth over it. Cover the chicken with parchment paper, then cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil and braise in the oven until tender, about 15 minutes for the breast and 45 to 55 minutes for the dark meat. Remove the pieces as they are done and transfer to a rack set over a baking sheet.

4. Strain the braising liquid into a large saucepan and set the pan over medium-high heat, half on and half off the burner so you can easily skim off the fat as it rises to the cooler side of the pan. Reduce by about half, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter bit by bit, swirling it into the sauce. Add the chicken to the pan and heat through.

5. Spoon the vegetable purée onto individual plates. Arrange the chicken next to the purée and then the glazed vegetables (if serving) alongside. Garnish with the little strips of country ham.

All About Wild Hare

This small, common game animal has been a part of the human diet since early history, and bone remains have been discovered in ancient caves in Greece dating back to 15,000 BC. While rabbit boasts a mild flavor, wild hare appeals mostly to ardent game lovers, as its red meat is distinctly gamey in flavor.

Although both animals are from the same family, they are from different genera: hare is Lepus and rabbit is Oryctolagus. Hares are larger, weighing anywhere from 5 to 8 pounds. They have longer ears, and larger hind legs and feet. In spite of their names, American jackrabbits and snowshoe rabbits are both hares. The cottontail, however, is a rabbit.

The flesh of hare is darker, and the legs always need long, slow braising to become tender and less gamy. The saddles are best served rare. Because of its assertiveness, hare loves aggressive flavors—dried fruits, rich wines, wild mushrooms—as its partners. A slow bath in a hearty red wine and dried cherries, or a full-bodied port wine with fresh thyme does wonders to temper a hare.

Of all the ways to prepare a hare, the most noble is surely Lièvre à la Royale—boned hare stuffed with foie gras and forcemeat. Rolled and braised in wine and stock, the hare is then sliced and presented with quenelles and sauce (often made with egg yolks and foie gras). “Royal hare” is a labor-intensive dish likely developed for French monarchy, and passed down into the annals of culinary history as a legendary dish, on the life list of nearly every gourmand. It is claimed to be one of the most challenging dishes in French cooking, but it rewards with intense, concentrated flavor and richness.

Photo from the blog Paris by Mouth

Hare has been a constant from the royal table to the peasant kitchen, as jugged hare will attest. References to this classic recipe appear in England before the Roman invasion, where it was long considered fare for poor country folk. A recipe for jugged hare was recorded in an early 18th century cookbook, and the French make it, too, calling it civet de lièvre. To jug a hare is to cut it into pieces, marinate and cook it in red wine and juniper berries in a tall jug standing inside a pan of water. Traditionally, the hare’s blood is added to the sauce.

Civet de Lièvre Recipe

Older hare can be tough so many braising and stewing recipes were developed to tenderize the meat. Roasting is only used for young animals, but when hunting animals it’s hard to pick and choose which one you get. Like all game meat, wild hare is lean, so if benefits from moist cooking like braising and stewing.

At D’Artagnan, wild Scottish brown hare (Lepus europaeus) is procured in weekend estate hunts organized from mid-September to February, and is immediately processed in a facility supervised by the European Economic Community Inspectors. Like all our wild, hunted game, hare may contain shot, so chew with care.

RECIPE SUGGESTIONS:
Braised Legs of Wild Hare in Thyme-Port Wine Sauce
Lièvre à la Royale Garnished with Ziti in Wine-Cream Sauce and Beet Mousseline

Join in the Fun at Le Taste of France

Le Taste of France is a national celebration of French culture that culminates with a big weekend event (Le Show) in NYC on September 29 & 30. D’Artagnan is proud to participate as a sponsor, and will be serving savory treats at Le Show. We invite you to come out, meet and mingle, sample dishes from some great chefs, sip French wines, buy French wares, learn to play pétanque and join in the general joie de vivre.

But never fear, if you are not in NYC and want a taste of France, many of our restaurant clients around the country will be playing along.  They will offer a special D’Artagnan duck dish on the menu from September 20-30, and will show their French spirit in unique ways. So put on your beret and find a restaurant near you to join in the fun. Check our map for participating restaurants. And please take photos of the duck dishes and share them on our Facebook page. We’ll be doing the same!

All About Porcini Mushrooms

The porcini is a native mushroom almost everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, throughout North American, European and Asian forests, though it has been introduced in parts of the Southern Hemisphere, including Australia and South America. The universally popular boletus mushroom grows under specific trees, including pine, but most commonly under chestnut trees, during the summer and autumn. Known, and loved, in Italy as porcini (meaning piglet), this mushroom is also called cèpe in French, from the Gascon word cep, meaning trunk, referring to its fat stem. Sometimes the porcini is called the king of mushrooms.

Porcini are always gathered in the wild and not cultivated, because the complex and symbiotic relationship between the mushroom and the tree roots is hard to reproduce. All varieties of porcini are characterized by a thick stems and round, fat caps when young. As the mushroom grows the cap flattens and opens up a bit. So a fat young porcini mushroom will look entirely different than the older version. Stems are pale and caps can range from light tan to deep burgundy-brown. Porcini can grow as large as a foot across but are often picked when much smaller. The porcini differs from other mushrooms in that it has a spore sponge, not gills underneath the cap. As the mushroom ages this pale spore sponge will darken and turn green. This is something to look for when buying fresh porcini, and is an indication that the mushroom is past its prime. There are lots of look-a-like boletes that get passed off as porcini, but aficionados know that nothing can come close the king of mushrooms.

Cleaning
Use a minimum of water and try not to allow water to enter the spore sponge under the cap. Cut away any dark spots or green areas. Keep an eye out for worms, who also find porcini tasty. If there is lots of dirt on the porcini, toss it gently in a colander, or gently wipe with a damp paper towel.

Eugenia Bone’s Bruschetta with Porcini Butter & Truffles

Cooking
The versatile porcini has been used in traditional cooking from Scandinavia to Southern Europe, and the mushroom is a favorite in Gascony, France, cooked in duck fat, of course. And Italians have made an art of cooking with porcini, both dried and fresh. The cap and stem of this mushroom are equally tasty, but the texture of the stem is slightly tougher than the cap. The porcini mushroom is meaty and the taste is intense: rich and woodsy with subtle nutty undertones. These mushrooms are delicate in flavor but vigorous enough in body to be used in brown sauces, and will stand up to strong flavors like grilled steak. Cook the stems slowly, in soups or braises, but sauté the caps in duck fat or butter. Porcini are a wonderful partner to pasta, risotto and gravies.

Frank Stitt’s Pappardelle with Rabbit, Porcini & Parmesan

Preserving
If you are lucky enough to possess fresh porcini, eat as many as you can in that state. However, this sturdy mushroom dries well. More often available frozen or dried, the flavor and texture of this hardy mushroom can withstand either process. Dried mushrooms can be reconstituted with hot water in a short time, and the porcini-infused water can also be used in a sauce, soup or pasta dish.

You may find porcini powder available year round, which can act as a magical dust in dry rubs, stews, stuffing, and especially in sauces. It is like a secret weapon in the kitchen, bringing great depth of flavor in any dish to which it is added.


RECIPE SUGGESTIONS:
Roast Veal with Porcini
Mario Batali’s Barbequed Squab al Mattone with Porcini Mustard

Chile Rubbed Ribeyes with Cilantro Butter

We wanted to share this simple recipe with you, {and just in time for Labor Day grilling!} BBQ Master, Ray Lampe’s mouthwatering Chile Rubbed Ribeye Steaks with Cilantro Butter. Learn his grill-savvy techniques and become a master of your own backyard BBQ. And check out Ray’s other recipes in his awesome book, Ribs, Chops, Steaks, and Wings, and on his website Dr. BBQ. We dare you not to drool.

Ray Lampe’s Chile-Rubbed Rib-Eye Steaks with Cilantro Butter

Ingredients

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 large shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pinch coarsely-ground black pepper
1 stick butter, at room temperature
4 tablespoons good-quality chile powder
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
D’Artagnan Domestic Bone-In Rib-Eye Steaks, 1 1/2 inches thick

1. At least a few hours before you plan to cook, make the Cilantro Butter. In a small skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the cilantro, shallot, and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often, until the shallot is soft. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, cream the butter with a fork. Add the cilantro mixture and blend well. Transfer to a 12-x-12-inch sheet of waxed paper and form into a log about 8 inches long in the center of the sheet. If the mixture is too warm to handle just refrigerate for a couple of minutes until it is ready. Now roll the butter up in the wax paper to make a firm log and twist the ends to hold it tight. Place in the freezer until firm. This can be made ahead and kept in the freezer for up to 1 month.

2. One hour before you plan to cook, make the Chili Rub. In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, salt, granulated garlic, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Add the oil and mix well. Place the steaks on a big platter and brush the wet chili rub evenly on both sides of the steaks. Refrigerate until ready to cook.

3. Prepare the grill for cooking over direct medium-high heat. Place the steaks directly over the cooking grate. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare, or to your desired degree of doneness. Remove to individual serving plates and top each steak with a couple of thin slices of the Cilantro Butter. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Our Tips:

If cooking for a crowd it’s more cost effective to cut your own steaks from whole ribeyes. Try our Domestic Pasture-Raised Boneless Beef Ribeye or Kobe-Style Wagyu Beef Ribeye. Just slice to your desired thicknesses!

D’Artagnan’s Web Admin and Resident-Beer-Guru, Rob, suggests pairing these steaks with your favorite IPA. His choices? Avery Brewing’s IPA or Sixpoint Brewery’s Bengali Tiger or Resin.

Ray Lampe’s compound butter technique of softening the shallots, garlic and cilantro in warm olive oil will work with other herbs as well. Try it with soft, fresh herbs like tarragon, oregano, or dill.

And…..go!

The Chanterelle Mushroom

Cantherellus cibarius, the golden chanterelle, grows on forest floors, often near conifers, deciduous trees, but also in fields, beginning in July and ending as late as January. The genusCantharellus, named for the Greek kantharos, meaning cup, is a mushroom found growing wild throughout the world. Efforts to cultivate these mycorrhizal fungi have failed, because it is impossible to recreate the complex symbiotic relationship they have with host plants.

While the shape can vary, from the young chanterelle with a small, rounded cap to the mature mushroom with a flower-like, unfurled cap, the color is distinctive. The beautiful golden-orange cap with a goblet shape is easily spotted on the forest floor; though there are some toxic lookalikes. The jack-o-lantern mushroom is also orange in color, but is found growing in clumps, which chanterelles never do, having a gregarious growth habit (that is, singly, but clustered near each other).

The chanterelle has firm, meaty flesh and an ethereal fruity, apricot aroma and flavor, though these grow fainter as the mushroom ages. The texture also varies with size and age. When young, buttons are firm, but the larger they grow, the more fragile the flesh becomes. Brown or frayed edges of the cap indicate drying and that the flavor is dissipated.

Seared Scallops with Creamed Leeks and Chanterelles by Chef Philip McGrath

Chanterelle stems are solid, not hollow, and the surface of the mushroom is smooth. Flesh ranges in color from white to pale yellow. The underside of the cap has false gills–rounded gill-like ridges that branch irregularly and run down the stem—which is one of its identifying features. Chanterelles contain beta carotene and vitamin D & B as well as the minerals potassium, copper and selenium.

Consumed and relished around the world, the chanterelle is known in Italy as girolle and in Germany as pfifferling, and is one of the most prized mushrooms in culinary circles. In fact, Elias Fries, a 19th century Swedish mycologist, declared the chanterelle to be “one of the most important and best edible mushrooms.”

Chef Ed Brown’s Chicken with Chanterelles and Brussels Sprouts cooked in Duck Fat”

Cleaning
Wild mushrooms can present a challenge to clean. The chanterelle cap folds tightly and has crevices that collect debris, from pine needles to bugs and dirt. The caps will grow around twigs, so it might be necessary to cut out sections of mushroom that have embedded sticks. Cut off the foot of the mushroom stem where dirt tends to clump.

Use ice cold water to rinse chanterelles, but wash quickly and dry thoroughly. Or use a dry toothbrush or a mushroom brush to remove surface dirt and sand. Brush the false gills under running water, or cut them out entirely if they are filled with dirt. Drain on paper towels to remove any moisture. The time taken in the cleaning process is rewarded when you don’t have to spit out debris later.

Cooking
For such an ethereal looking mushroom, the flavor of the chanterelle is powerful. The golden chanterelle has apricot nuances and a slightly peppery punch that pair well with cream and butter. And it’s hard to mask the flavor, even with cheese, which makes them an ideal wild edible for all kinds of cooking. Chanterelles complement pork, chicken, rabbit, veal and quail, either in a stuffing or with a sauce.

A simple sauté with olive oil and shallots will allow you to experience the full flavor of this extraordinary mushroom. Use chanterelles anywhere you would use a mushroom: on a burger, in risotto, quiche, in a white wine sauce, or simply sautéed with butter and fresh herbs. Many believe this mushroom needs little more than a generous amount of butter and some salt and pepper.

Chanterelles and pasta make a natural pair, as do eggs and chanterelles. Chanterelle mushrooms will add depth to stews and can be miraculous with scallops or shellfish.

Dried Chanterelles are available year-round at D’Artagnan.com

Preserving
Chanterelles are suitable for drying and maintain their aroma and flavor well, though the texture is entirely altered, tending to be chewy. Dried chanterelles can be pulverized into flour and used as a seasoning in soups and sauces, especially creamy ones.

NOTE: Do not eat mushrooms you have found in the wild unless they are identified by a mushroom expert as100% safe.


RECIPE SUGGESTIONS:
Rabbit, Foie Gras and Chanterelle Terrine
Pappardelle with Rabbit, Porcini and Parmesan

Hunting Truffles in Italy

D’Artagnan owner Ariane Daguin recently traveled to Savigno, a small town near Bologna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. She was there to talk with one of our truffle suppliers about the upcoming winter truffle season and tour their new facility where truffles are inspected, graded, cleaned and sometimes made into prepared products, like peelings and butters. The small, family-owned operation is also home to a petit tartuferia where Ariane had the privilege to do a little hunting. She searched the bases of 10 year old oak and chestnut trees for tuber aestivum and with the help of a Lagotto Romagnolo dog, named Pipa, and a few of the family’s grandkids, made quite a haul. Check out the pics.

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All About Ostrich

Ostrich is making a comeback. “When was it in?” you may ask. If you are racking your brain to recall he last time the large flightless bird had any culinary cachet, you’d have to look back to ancient Rome. That was when the noted gastronome Apicius created a special sauce for boiled ostrich, an expensive delicacy. It included pepper, mint, cumin, celery seeds, dates, honey, vinegar, garum (fish sauce), and passum (a sweet wine pressed from grapes dried on the vine).

Apicius’s feasts were extravagant by any measure, even when compared with those that followed in the Middle Ages. Any bird that can grow to 9 feet tall and weigh up to 400 pounds has to be quite an undertaking to prepare. However, don’t start custom-building an oven to roast the whole bird, since from the cook’s point of view, ostrich is nothing but two huge legs.

In present-day ostrich farming, the ideal age for processing birds for their meat is between 12 and 16 months, when they weigh between 250 and 300 pounds. The yield is between 85 and 100 pounds of meat, as well as about 14 square feet of ostrich leather. Hens lay between 30 and 60 eggs a season, and can lay as many as 100. The birds can live up to 80 years, and produce for 50 of those. For gargantuan appetites, try an ostrich drumstick; each one weighs a hefty 30 to 40 pounds.

The growth of the ostrich industry can be attributed to the birds’ beefy red meat, which has less fat than turkey, making it healthful yet satisfying. Ostrich meat comes from the thigh and leg. Its flavor is similar to that of beef fillet and top sirloin steak; and the delicate texture is somewhat like that of venison or flank steak. It is lower in fat, calories and cholesterol than beef, but also white meat like chicken and turkey. Like all game meats, ostrich is lean and must be cooked accordingly.

Mustard-Glazed Ostrich Filet

Cooking
Ostrich is easily adaptable to all dry-cooking techniques, from stir-fry and barbeque to roasting and sautéing. It also takes well to marinades. For optimum results, slice the meat into medallions and cook quickly over high heat to rare or medium rare, about 140 to 150 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Because it’s so lean, there is almost no shrinkage. To prevent sticking, add a little oil (especially a flavored one) to the pan, or brush the meat with it. Even a short amount of overcooking can make ostrich dry and unappealing. If you stew or braise ostrich, do so over low heat.

RECIPE SUGGESTIONS:
Ostrich Fajitas
Ostrich Daube
Grilled Ostrich Fillet with Cascabel Chili and Honey Glaze

Super Bowl Snacks D’Artagnan Style!

When the titans of football clash in the final game of the season, our passions tend to run high.  But there are some of us are more concerned with what we’ll eat during the game. (You know who you are!)  For these hardcore food fans, we have some inspiration to class up the party without wandering too far afield from the usual fare.

From truffles and Tarbais beans to mushrooms and merguez, we have found ways to infuse the classics with French accents and D’Artagnan flavors.  So get your game on and forget you ever heard of hummus and salsa.

Wild Mushroom Bacon Dip

Our Organic Chef’s Mix Mushrooms and Hickory Smoked Bacon are folded into a creamy base for a hearty, satisfying dip. Serve with lard-cooked kettle-style potato chips.

Truffled White Bean Dip

This super creamy bean dip has an earthy edge thanks to canned Summer Truffle Peelings and a smidge of Black Truffle Oil. Delicious with pita, flatbreads and crudités.

 

Basque Brochettes

These flavorful skewers highlight quintessential Basque flavors – shrimp, piment d’espelette and jambon de bayonne. Best of all, they’re party perfect in just 15 minutes.

 

Ultimate Truffle Popcorn

We think popcorn is best when popped the old fashioned way – in a big pot on the stove. We used duck fat (perfection!) then added Black Truffle Butter, Truffle Oil and the finest shreds of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

 

Lamb Merguez Sausage with Harissa Sauce

These spicy links can be charred on the grill or seared in a cast iron pan. The harissa sauce is traditional, as is mustard or aioli. Serve with your favorite full-bodied beer.

 

Game Stuffed Mushrooms

Any of our sausages will work in this super easy hors d’oeuvre. Make a lot, they go fast!

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We have some Super Bowl main dish ideas brewing… Come back tomorrow for the full rundown! And if you’ve got a great game day menu planned, give us a shout on Twitter or Facebook. We’d love to hear what you’re cooking!