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Foie Gras Duckspotting @ Elizabeth Restaurant

A most unusual Duckspotting comes to us from Chicago…and just in time for Halloween!

Duckspotting is snapping & sending in pics of dishes from your favorite restaurants, made with D’Artagnan ingredients! We supply restaurants all over the country & love to see what creative chefs are doing with our products. Keep sending them in!

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Where: Elizabeth Restaurant

What: Chef Iliana Regan’s Foieowl

How: Elizabeth Restaurant is at  4835 N. Western, Unit D, Chicago, IL 60625  |  for reservations, call 773-681-0651

Dining out & spot some fabulous dishes made with D’Artagnan ingredients? Snap a pic & email with the details to lilyh@dartagnan.com.

Happy Foieloween!

Or Happy Duckoween, depending on your taste. Whether you like it sweet or savory, we wish you a tasty Halloween.

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Perfect Pork Plating with Anita Lo

Chef Anita Lo of Annisa, a long-time friend of D’Artagnan, was featured on Serious Eats explaining her philosophy behind plating pork loin. Yes, it’s our Berkshire pork, but aside from that, we have a lot of respect for Chef Anita and find this a fascinating peek into the mind of a brilliant chef.

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We are not going to spoil this by trying to explain it, so  just head over to Serious Eats for the full post.

And for more Anita Lo – in action – check our video in which she and Ariane demonstrate how easy it is to sear foie gras.

Pre-order turkey for the holidays NOW!

Yes, folks, it’s that time again. Thoughts turn to glistening, roasted birds and an endless array of side dishes. Guest lists and seating arrangements. New recipes and the tried-and-true family traditions.

But it all centers on the bird. Organic, heritage breed, natural and totally wild turkeys are all options at dartagnan.com. And for those who like white meat, we offer organic and natural turkey breast.

Not a fan of turkey? Other festive fare includes capon and goose.

Because we source from small farms, we  have a limited supply of birds every year. Those in the know order early before we start selling out. So head over to our site and get started. You will feel better once you know that your turkey (or goose) can be crossed off the list.

As Tee from Richmond, VA said of her D’Artagnan organic turkey last year:

“This was the best turkey I have ever cooked or eaten. The breast was very large and the turkey was so juicy! Just oven roasted. Nothing extra special in my preparation of the turkey – it’s just THAT good.”

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FLASH SALE! Today Only!

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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