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Easter Favorites are 10% OFF!

Easter is April 20 and so it’s time to start planning your holiday meal. Enjoy 10% off our lamb, ham and other Easter selections at dartagnan.com.

For inspiration, check our blog post on Easter appetizers and main dishes (along with sides). Not sure about wine pairing for the feast? We’ve got you covered there as well.

Sale ends Thursday, April 17th at midnight EST.

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No Fooling! Foie Gras is 20% OFF All Day!

We know you love it. So do we. That’s why all foie gras is 20% off today only.

Click on over and stock up. That means you too, California. Because we’re in NJ, it’s perfectly legal for us to sell it to you for personal consumption. If we find you selling it on the street … well, that’s going to be a problem.

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Saucy Series XIII: Mushroom Ketchup

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Mushroom Ketchup

Heston Blumenthal is a wonderful character. He appeals to me because he loves to play with food and to study ancient recipes to find inspiration for his dishes. His new restaurant, Dinner, in London is a smashing success with dishes that have a pedigree. One of his most popular historical recipes is one for mushroom ketchup.

hb

Mushroom ketchup has been made for hundreds of years –– you could call it the English version of soy sauce. It’s salty, positively exploding with umami and is an awesome addition to any meat dish, but can also add a wholly vegetarian meaty depth to a vegetable dish as well.

I’ve seen mushroom ketchup mentioned in recipes for years and always wanted to make it. In looking up mushroom ketchup recipes (my 1846 recipe from The Complete Cook was vague about the ratio of salt to mushrooms and I wanted guidance on that score), the more I searched, the more Heston’s name kept showing up.

Although Heston had a simple 18th century recipe for his base authentic mushroom ketchup, I really fell for a slightly more involved recipe from the 19th century that’s full of pepper –– I love pepper. Honestly, it is very little work but a 48 hour soak. Heston’s recipe is only an overnight drip. You will get somewhere around 2 cups of mushroom ketchup out of my recipe –– I did not make his version but in the video of the process, it appeared to generate about the same amount. You can store it forever in the fridge and even use the leftover mushrooms from the process to make a great mushroom pepper (after a wee dry in the oven). I’ll give you both so you can choose. Do buy the freshest mushrooms that you can. Old mushrooms have lost their liquid and will make for much less ketchup. DO NOT buy sliced mushrooms for the same reason –– they will have lost moisture with the cutting. I halved the recipe but it is easily doubled.

Dinner menu

At his London restaurant, Dinner, all his beef dishes are served with mushroom ketchup, but when I see the pictures of the mixture I am confused because the sauce I see is thick and glossy and mushroom ketchup is the texture of soy or Worcestershire sauces. Big surprise, Heston played with the texture –– he likes to play with food. Authentic mushroom ketchup has the same texture as soy sauce –– Heston makes mushroom ketchup plus.

Taking my cue from Heston, I deployed my sauce series partner D’Artagnan’s magnificent pasture-raised boneless strip sirloin steaks as a perfect medium for my mushroom ketchup. The meat was splendid –– so tender and full of flavor. History tastes great.

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Sirloin Steak with Mushroom Ketchup for 2

2 boneless strip sirloin steaks from D’Artagnan
light salt and pepper
1 T olive oil
Heston’s Mushroom Ketchup Sauce

Salt and pepper the steak. Don’t use much salt because the ketchup is salty. Heat a cast-iron skillet till quite hot. Add olive oil to the pan and put the steaks in the pan. Brown each side. The steak will be rare at this point. Cook longer for more doneness. Let rest a few minutes before serving with the mushroom ketchup.

Heston’s Mushroom Ketchup Sauce

2 oz red wine
1 oz red wine vinegar
1 small chopped shallot
pinch of cloves and mace ( I think pepper would be good too if you are not using my recipe for the mushroom ketchup base)
1 c mushroom ketchup (use Heston’s or the recipe from The Complete Cook – recipes follow)*
2 t cornstarch dissolved in 1 1/2 T cold water
drained, marinated mushrooms (recipe follows)

Reduce by 1/2 (his recipe called for 2/3rds reduction and I thought that was too much) and strain out the shallots – you will have a little over 1/2 a cup. Add the cornstarch mixture to the hot mixture and return to a low heat for a few minutes. Stir till thickened and remove from the heat. Add the marinated mushrooms and serve with the steak. Depending on the amount of marinade the mushrooms have soaked up, you may want to toss a bit of the mushroom marinade into the ketchup to your taste – I liked the little extra sweetness that it added.

*mushroom ketchup is thin, Heston’s recipe is a thick sauce made from the ketchup

Marinated Mushrooms

5 oz red wine vinegar
1/4 c sugar
4 oz mushrooms, sliced

Heat the vinegar and sugar to melt the sugar. Pour over the mushrooms and marinate for 24 hours.

Heston’s Recipe for Mushroom Ketchup

(used as base for the sauce, from an 18th c recipe)

1 3/4 lbs mushrooms, sliced
1 1/3 oz salt

Combine the salt and the mushrooms. Enclose in fabric (old t-shirt maybe?) and twist cloth and hang over a pot for 24 hours. Squeeze tightly to extract as much liquid as possible.

Mushroom Ketchup from The Complete Cook

1 3/4 lb mushrooms, pulsed a few times in a food processor or roughly chopped immediately before using
2 oz salt in the original recipe or about 3 T (I think 2T might be better — it’s very salty)
1 oz black peppercorns
1/2 oz allspice berries
1 T brandy

Put the mushrooms and salt in a glass or ceramic bowl and blend well. Let them sit for 2 hours and then stir and cover. Leave for 2 days, stirring a few times a day.

Put into a canning jar with the spices and screw the lid on, you should have around a quart.

Put in a stockpot and bring the water to a low boil (I put a wad of foil at the bottom so the glass wouldn’t touch the metal) for 2 hours. Strain the liquid into another pan using a fine sieve pressing hard on the solids. I finished up the process with a potato ricer that got every last bit of juice out of the mushrooms, but putting them in a cloth and squeezing would work well. Reserve the mushroom pieces that remain from the pressing.

At this point Sanderson recommends reducing the ketchup by half. If you are using it for the Blumenthal ketchup skip this step as the ratio of ketchup to his wine/vinegar mix will be off. Do cool the mixture and add the brandy. Put it in a canning jar. You should have 2 cups unreduced and 1 cup reduced. It is quite salty.

Preheat your oven to 200º, Spread the pepper mushroom mixture on the pan, remove the larger allspice berries and dry for 1 hour or until dried out. Put in a spice grinder and grind. Use as a wonderful mushroom flavored pepper in all your dishes.

Spring Sale!

Though it’s cold, we are determined to welcome spring.  Celebrate the season along with us, and save 15% on a selection of our favorites.

Shop this week and save.

 

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Saucy Series XII: Financiere

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Sauce Financière

Sauce Financière is a ‘fork-list’ addition to my Sauce Series –– it’s something I’ve always wanted to make. The name has always whispered the Croesusian promise of shimmering golden lucre and made me want to try anything with the name attached to it. I’m in good company making the golden connection since no less than MFK Fisher said “The word financière, for fairly obvious reasons, means richness, extravagance, a nonchalant disregard of the purse, but I sometimes suspect that I use it oftener than it warrants to denote anything Lucullan. I need only reread some Victorian cookery books to reassure myself and justify my preoccupation with the word.”

Sauce Financiere 2

There are a few things with the name. There’s a buttery-sweet goldbrick of a cake called Financiére but also a creamy Ragoût a la Financière made with sweetbreads, cockscombs and mushrooms (often nestled in pastry) in addition to that sauce I wanted to make –– a sauce redolent of truffles and madeira –– hence the financière connection.

When I started digging for historical connections to financière, I didn’t have to look far. A dinner held for Abraham Lincoln in 1861 had Vol au Vent Financière (a pastry case stuffed with that Ragoût a la Financière). A famous 1877 literary event known as “The Whittier Dinner” saw Mark Twain as the star speaker and most of the literary lions of the day attending. The menu featured “Filet of Beef, larded, Sauce Financière.”

Since this is another entry into my Sauce Series, I am making my financière sauce using some great D’Artagnan products. I’m using their Moulard duck breast as the base for the dish because it is perfect for the sauce with its meaty lusciousness.

For the sauce itself you can make the “Federal Reserve” version with sliced truffles or the “Banker’s Reserve” using truffle oil and truffle butter for that truffle magic. You can use pricey mushrooms like morels (although a good handful is only $6) or buttons.

Either way, you will love the sauce on pretty much anything from chicken to game birds to steak. It’s a keeper. I decided to combine a few recipes for the sauce from Gouffé, Francatelli and even Oscar of the Waldorf. The result was just what I wanted and it is quick to make and is not terribly rich –– just rich tasting!

If you want to go for full-out Fort Knox extravagance, you can use a few shavings of fresh white truffle in season or add a cube or 2 of foie gras to the sauce before serving

Duck Breast with Sauce Financiére

serves 2 -4

2 duck breasts, cooked and sliced (each breast gives about 8 slices)
1 recipe sauce financiére
2 – 4 pieces fried bread
herbs for garnish (sage, chervil, marjoram)

Place the sliced duck breast on the bread and spoon the mushrooms and sauce over the meat. Garnish with herbs.

Sauce financiere 1

Sauce Financiére

1cup mushrooms (morels and sliced shitakes or creminis)
2 T butter or truffle butter or olive oil
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 t pepper
salt to taste
1 t mushroom ketchup (recipe HERE) or soy sauce
1 c D’Artagnan demi-glace
1 T meat glaze (a super reduced demi-glace or stock)
1 T Espagnole sauce (the recipe is HERE) or 1 t ketchup
3 T madeira (I would use Rare Wine Co. Savannah Verdelho)
1 D’Artagnan canned truffle, or fresh truffle sliced and/or D’Artagnan white truffle oil to taste
1 or 2 tablespoons foie gras, chopped (optional)

Sauté the mushrooms in the butter till softened a bit, add the truffle slices. Add the spices and mushroom ketchup or salt.

Add the demi-glace and meat glaze and Espagnole. Reduce to a slightly syrupy consistency (you will have around 1/3 to 1/2 a cup) and add the madeira and keep warm or reheat gently. Add the truffle oil just before serving. If you are using foie gras, put it in at the end and stir it in using a gentle heat.

Sauce Financiere 4

Duck Breast

2 large duck breasts from D’Artagnan* (there are smaller ones, if you use them change the cooking time)
Salt & Pepper

This is a virtually foolproof technique. Preheat the oven to 400º. Score the fat of the duck breasts with a sharp knife in a criss-cross pattern. Season the duck with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Place the duck breasts, fat side down, in the skillet to render the fat, about 6 minutes. Turn the duck breasts over and sear for 1 minute. Turn the fat side down again and place the skillet into the oven to roast for 7 minutes, until breasts are medium rare (4 minutes for the smaller breasts). Rest them for 5 minutes then slice

 

Saucy Series XI: Sauce Romaine

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Sauce Romaine

In researching for my Sauce Series, I have tried to cover all the classic mother sauces and their permutations but I also find it interesting to present some bygone relics that have fallen from grace and are forgotten.

I came across a beauty in my wonderful book Le Repertoire De La Cuisine (that I told you about HERE) called Sauce Romaine made with caramel, vinegar, reduced stock and pignoli nuts with raisins. It is a member of the sweet and sour family of sauces with ancient roots. One version was made with demi-glace and another with Espagnole (one of the mother sauces). I believe the inspiration for it may be very old. Raymonia is a medieval dish based on the Arabic Rummaniya with a sauce of pomegranate, ground almonds and sugar –– an ancient agrodolce (an Arabic-influenced Sicilian sweet and sour sauce still popular today that’s like a gastrique). Not much of a stretch to go to the raisins and pine nuts of Sauce Romaine. After a 1000-odd years, this family of sauces is still divine with grilled poultry, game birds or pork or, as luck would have it, a small boar roast from D’Artagnan. It’s also fat free, full of flavor and actually good for you with all that lovely reduced stock.

Romaine 1

Wild Boar Roast with Sauce Romaine

1 D’Artagnan small boar roast or a pork roast (about 1 1/2 pounds)
salt and pepper
1 T olive oil
2 carrots, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
Brussel sprouts, sliced (optional)
2 t chopped fresh herbs (sage or thyme would be nice)
Sauce Romaine

Preheat the oven to 375º. Toss the vegetables in some of the oil and put it in the bottom of a small heavy pan. Oil the roast and rub with salt and pepper and herbs. Put the roast on top of the vegetables and roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until the inner temperature is 140º.

It comes with a string covering which you should remove but it will spread. It is better to tie it up so the roast cooks properly (so some bits don’t get overdone).

Tent the meat and rest for 10 minutes. Place the vegetables on the platter and slice the roast. Pour any juices that have collected from the roast into the sauce and stir them in. Spoon the sauce over the roast and serve warm or room temperature.

Romaine 2

Sauce Romaine

2 T sugar
1/2 c vinegar
1 c demi-glace from D’Artagnan
2 T Sauce Espagnole (optional)
1/2 c white raisins
1/4 c pignoli nuts

Melt the sugar gently in a heavy pan. When it melts and browns remove from the heat and add the vinegar. Reduce it to a thin syrupy consistency. Add the demi-glace and raisins and reduce somewhat.

The sauce will thicken on its own as it cools – the raisins will also soak up some of the sauce so don’t go nuts reducing it. Serve it warm or at room temperature

FLASH SALE! Save up to 40% Today Only

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Sale ends tonight at 9 PM EST. Until then, shop fast and get great deals on our website.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day…even the French. We wish you hearty meals and ample drink, and may the luck of the Irish follow you all year.

St Patrick's Day

Saucy Series X: Bechamel Mornay

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Sauce Béchamel Mornay

I discovered Filet of Sole Verdi when I read a description of it that made me swoon –– sole, lobster and truffles on pasta with a creamy Mornay sauce that’s popped under the broiler to brown a bit. Escoffier invented the dish to impress the composer. With 2 great sauces in it I thought it was perfect for the sauce series.

escoffier

Escoffier

But when I looked up the original recipes for béchamel and Mornay sauce, I was shocked.

Escoffier’s original béchamel is made with veal! His white sauce is cooked with pieces of veal for two hours then strained. Remarkable. I will try doing it that way one of these days but decided that, since it was fish, I would go with the simpler, non-veal version that he used for “Lenten preparations.”

Béchamel was named after the Marquis de Béchameil (1630 -1703), of whom Escoffier wrote “After all, if it wasn’t for his divine sauce the Marquis de Béchamel would have been forgotten long ago.” Legend has it that it was invented to sauce dried cod. It is in Varenne’s 1651 Cuisinier Francais made with a veal velouté and cream, so Escoffier’s version echoes the sauce’s velouté ancienne roots (velouté has been around a very long time).

The same was true of the Mornay sauce. Probably named after a “player in the halcyon days” of the 2nd Empire, Charles de Mornay, I never knew Escoffier put fumet into the sauce (fumet being stock-based liquid the meat or fish was poached in). It makes a sublime addition to the cheesy sauce, giving it a bit of backbone.

When you put it together with the sole and lobster and truffles and pasta, ooh la la, you can see why Verdi was pleased with it. It is extremely elegant and if you do the sauces and pasta ahead of time, it can be ready in a few minutes.

Bechamel Mornay 1

Filet of Sole Verdi

(serves 2 main course-4 appetizer)

½ to ¾ lb. filet of sole
1 c fish fumet/stock*
4 c cooked pasta (don’t go too al dente on this, you want it softish to go with the elegant texture of the dish)
1 c cream
2 small lobster tails, shells removed
1 T butter
2 c béchamel
2 c Mornay sauce
1 large D’Artagnan truffle sliced and ¼ chopped (optional)
2-3 t D’Artagnan truffle oil to taste.
Salt and pepper

Put the fish in the stock on medium heat. Add a touch of salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes per side –– they cook very quickly. Remove. Reduce the stock to 1/2 a cup. Pour any juices that have collected from the fish into the reduced fumet. If you have a lot of juices, you should reduce a little further so you only have 1/2 cup.

Warm the cream. Add the cheeses to the cream. Toss the pasta with the cream and salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 t of the truffle oil and some chopped truffle, if you are using it, and toss just before assembling the dish.

Add the fumet to the Mornay sauce and stir. Warm it. It should be thick.

Sauté the lobster tails for a few minutes. They should not be fully cooked. Chop the smaller end of the tail and add to the pasta. Slice the fatter end.

Heat the broiler. Make single skillets or a large skillet with handles that can take the broiler.

Spoon the pasta into the dish. Lay the sole over 2/3 of the dish. Pour the Mornay sauce over the sole and tuck the lobster at the edge of the Mornay sauce. Heat the pan on the stove for a few minutes at medium-low heat.

Put under the broiler on high for a few minutes. Pay attention, it goes from perfect to burned in no time. Remove and top with chopped herbs. Tuck the truffle slices in and drizzle with remaining truffle oil.

*(I always freeze bones and shrimp/lobster shells and make this when I have enough to make a quart of stock. Then freeze it flat and break it off when I need it or freeze in ½ c portions). You could use chicken stock in a pinch.

Bechamel mornay 2

Béchamel

2 c milk
1 small shallot, sliced
1 clove (optional)
3 T butter
2 T flour

Heat the milk and simmer while you melt the butter. Add the flour to the butter and stir over low heat till all bubbly. Do not let it brown. Strain the milk. Pour the hot milk slowly into the flour mixture, stirring all the while over medium heat till all the milk is used and the sauce is thickened. Add the cheeses and set aside.

bechamel mornay 3

Mornay Sauce

2 c béchamel
½ c fish reserved fumet
1 c grated Parmesan
1 c grated Gruyere

Add the fumet to the béchamel and reduce a little. Add the Parmesan and gruyere and stir till smooth.

St. Patrick’s Day SALE

They say everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day… even the French! We’re just happy to eat like the Irish (and maybe quaff a few beers) on this saint’s day.

We’d like you to do the same. This week, enjoy 10% off a selection of beefy, lamby and porky items that will help you to celebrate all things Irish this March 17. Erin go bragh!

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If you are looking for recipes, you can always check our site for inspiration. We like this Irish Stout Lamb Loin with Colcannon for a traditional meal. Of course, there’s always Corned Beef. And then, a meat pie is so satisfying  – this Wagyu Beef  Shepherd’s Pie is especially so.

If a hand pie is what you crave, try these Dingle Pies from The Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews. They are a savory, rustic staple at Ireland’s oldest festival, Puck Fair.