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Saucy Series IX: Cumberland

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.

Cumberland Sauce

Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne were giants of the American stage from the 1920s to 1960. They were also legendary entertainers at their home in Manhattan but mostly in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin. All of the greats of stage and screen dropped by their out-of-the-way farm for R&R. Everyone loved it. Fontanne was the perfect hostess and Lunt the master chef. After retiring from the stage, Lunt even got a Cordon Bleu degree and wrote a cookbook that was published after his death by the foundation that took over the house. It is chock full of amazing recipes, all the more so when you think that the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Lawrence Olivier, Noel Coward and Joan Crawford enjoyed them at one time or another.

Cumberland at table

I loved the book and its stories and photos but fell in love with his take on Cumberland Sauce. I LOVE Cumberland Sauce and couldn’t leave it off my Sauce Series list. It is a classic game sauce that has been around in one form or another for a hundred years. Although named after the Duke of Cumberland and thought to be thoroughly English, it has its roots in Germany. Lunt adds a touch of magic in his version with the addition of a bit of horseradish. Best I ever tasted. Although I have always associated it with venison, it would be great with any pork (chops, loin, tenderloin or even sausage or ham) or a game bird (duck to grouse and pigeon) and even would work for vegetarians because it is amazing on sweet potatoes (sans the demi-glace).

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If you like venison, run, do not walk to D’Artagnan for the best venison tenderloin ever. It’s butter tender and full of flavor –– I made it rare and loved it that way. It is also extremely lean, so best not to cook it too much. The sweet and savory combination with a bit of heat from the horseradish and cayenne is masterful and you understand why this sauce has been a favorite for generations (something like it has been used since at least the 18th century). The best part? It takes about 15 minutes to make and can be done ahead of time. That means a world-class dinner could be ready in 1/2 an hour. It’s low in fat and high in flavor, how cool is that?

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Venison Tenderloin with Cumberland Sauce (serves 3-4)

2 venison tenderloins from D’Artagnan
1 c red wine
2 t juniper berries
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1 bay leaf
1 t dry thyme
2 T butter or oil
Cumberland sauce
Steamed sweet potato (a squeeze of orange is great on them)
sautéed spinach

Combine the wine and spices and marinate the venison overnight. Remove from the fridge. Dry the meat and heat the oil in a skillet. Add the meat and sear on all sides. Cook for about 5 more minutes for rare. Tent for 5 minutes, slice and serve with Cumberland sauce and sweet potato and spinach.

Cumberland 1

Alfred Lunt’s Cumberland Sauce (serves 4)

1 t chopped shallot
1 T orange peel in fine julienne
1 T lemon peel in fine julienne
¼ c port
2 T D’Artagnan demi-glace (optional)
1/3 c currant jelly
juice of 1 orange
juice of ½ lemon
½ t dry English mustard
dash of cayenne
1 t freshly grated horseradish with 1 t sherry vinegar or 1 t prepared horseradish*

Boil shallots for 2 minutes in a little water and strain and reserve. Do the same with the lemon and orange peels. Melt the currant jelly and add the peels and shallots. Reduce till thickened and serve warm or at room temperature.

*I am kind of crazy about horseradish so I added a bit more after the sauce had cooked for extra kick.

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Our Annual Freezer SALE is Here!

For the remainder of this most wintry of months enjoy 25% off selected items from our giant warehouse freezer at dartagnan.com.

While supplies last, through Jan. 31, 2014.

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Venison Recipes

FZRVR004-1_VA1_SQOur venison is unlike the venison you may have tried in the past.  Hunted venison is the most common stuff we come across, and there is a lot of uncertainty in the wild. Stress, age and diet all play roles in the taste and texture of the meat.

The venison we sell is farmed in the vast pastures of New Zealand, which means these deer eat a controlled diet of grass, and are processed at the ideal age. They are certified by Cervena, which guarantees that the animals are raised with humane care, fed only a controlled grass diet and are processed at a certain age.  As a result, many people are surprised when they first try our venison. It is lean yet tender, and not at all gamey. It’s a perfect option for red-meat recipes when you grow tired of beef. Venison is both elegant (think the lord of the manor) and rustic (think generations of hunters).

Here are a few recipes to inspire your cooking adventures with venison.

Recipe_Venison_Tartare_CAPT

Ingredients

1 to 1 1/2 pounds Hudson Valley Grade A duck foie gras
1 3/4 pounds venison stew meat, sinew and tendons removed, if any
2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo chile pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Smoked salt
Coarsely-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon capers, coarsely chopped
1 loaf country-style bread, sliced 1 inch thick

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Season the foie gras with salt and pepper. Place the foie gras in a small roasting pan or ovenproof sauté pan that is slightly larger than the size of the foie. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the liver has browned and the flesh is firm to the touch. Reserve the fat that has rendered from the foie gras and let the lobe cool in the refrigerator until ready for use.

2. While the lobe of foie gras is cooling, put the venison through the meat grinder on a 1/4 inch cutting die. Grind the meat into a cold bowl, then cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Once the meat is cold again, dice the cooled foie gras into 1/4 inch pieces then add to the bowl with the meat. Add remaining ingredients and mix gently. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper then mound onto cold plates to be served. Slather the slices of grilled bread with foie gras fat and grill both sides, serving 2 pieces per person with a few extra for folks who need more.

Recipe_Venison_Spoonbread_CAPT

Ingredients

1 frenched venison ribrack, cut into 4 double chops
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt
Coarsely-ground black pepper
1 pound red radishes
1/2 cup sugar
1 container veal demi-glace, diluted in 1 cup of water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 duck leg confit
4 eggs
1 pint heavy cream
8 ounces brioche, cut into small pieces

Preparation

1. For the spoonbread: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a bowl, combine duck confit, eggs, heavy cream, and brioche. Stir gently until bread is evenly saturated. Season with salt and pepper. Place in an 8×8″ baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until set.

2. For the radishes: In a medium saucepot over medium heat combine radishes, sugar, and diluted demi-glace. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the radishes are tender. Strain the radishes out and reduce the liquid until thick and syrupy. Stir in the butter. Keep warm until ready to use.

3. Season the venison on both sides with the salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan over medium high heat add the oil and sear the Cervena on both sides to get a good crust. Cook until medium rare, about 4 minutes on each side. Allow to rest on a cutting board for at least 5 minutes before plating.
Spoon some of the spoon bread on each plate, add radishes and venison chop. Drizzle with the radish reduction.

Recipe_Risotto_Con_Cervo_HomeMedium

Ingredients

2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
1/2 cup olive oil
1 onion, minced
1/2 cup minced ventrèche
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 pounds venison tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary + small sprigs to garnish, if desired
2 whole cloves
1/2 cup dry red wine, preferably Barolo
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 quarts chicken stock, reserving 6 cups for risotto
1 shallot, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preparation

1. Soak porcini in 2 cups of hot water until softened, about 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat half of the olive oil in a large casserole over medium-high heat. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the onions and all of the ventreche to the pan, and sauté until golden, about 8 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper, add the venison, and cook until all the meat liquids have evaporated, about 15 minutes.

3. Pick out porcini and chop them coarsely, reserving the liquid except for the last 2 tablespoons of gritty sediment. Add porcini to casserole, along with bay leaves, rosemary, cloves, and red wine, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, until the wine has nearly evaporated.

4. Stir in tomato paste and seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. Add chicken stock slowly, except for reserved 6 cups, and reserved mushroom liquid, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, partially covered until meat is tender, and the sauce is thickened, about 1½ hours.

5. Remove bay leaves and rosemary, adjust seasoning, and set aside. Recipe may be made several days in advance, covered, and refrigerated. Warm before continuing.

6. Heat the remaining 6 cups of chicken stock and keep warm. Heat remaining olive oil in a medium casserole over medium-high heat. Add the reserved 2 tablespoons of onion and the shallot, and sauté until golden. Stir in rice, turning to coat with oil. Pour in white wine, stir well, and add ½ cup of the hot stock, and season with about a teaspoon of salt.

7. Cook, stirring constantly, until all liquid has been absorbed. Stir in half of the venison and sauce. Continue to add hot stock in small batches, and cook until each successive batch has been absorbed, stirring constantly, until rice mixture is creamy and al dente.

8. Remove from heat, stir in butter and cheese, and season with pepper. Ladle risotto onto 6 large plates. Spoon the remaining venison and sauce over each portion, add a small sprig of rosemary, and serve.

Oh, Deer! Take 20% Off All Venison

There’s no need to hunt for good game. We’ve got always-tender, never-gamey venison from New Zealand that will become your favorite red meat.

Try venison this week and save 20% when you order from dartagnan.com.

Now through January 17, 2014.

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Cassoulet is 15% Off All Week!

cassoulet in bowl

“Cassoulet, like life itself, is not so simple as it seems.”  - Paula Wolfert

But our cassoulet recipe kit makes it a whole lot simpler. It includes all the ingredients you need to make a cassoulet to serve 12 (with leftovers) and a clay bowl (cassole) for baking it.

 Duck leg confit, duck and pork sausages, ventreche, duck fat, demi-glace and the all-important Tarbais beans are the simple ingredients of this legendary dish. The magic happens when all the flavors mingle together into a thick stew that is ideal for cold winter days. Just get a few bottles of Madiran or Malbec wine and invite some friends over for dinner.

Learn more about the preparation and history of cassoulet here.  And the reason we insist on using Tarbais beans here.

Click through to shop the 15% off sale now, because the deal ends Sunday, January 12, 2014.

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Time to Plan for New Year’s Eve

Our gift to you this season is 15% off your New Year’s Eve order! Enter code: NEWYEAR14 at checkout to receive 15% off your order of $100 or more. Order by 12 PM EST on December 30 to take advantage of this savings and for delivery on December 31, 2013. SHOP NOW!

*Order cut-off times are subject to change.

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How Your Goose Gets Cooked

The tradition of a roasted goose on the holiday table goes way, way back. The people of ancient Greece and Rome may have been celebrating different festivals, but they did so with the very same bird we do. From medieval days right through to the Victorian depiction in Charles Dickens, the goose has remained the ubiquitous holiday bird in all of Europe.

Recipe_Gala_Goose_HomeMedium

The reason is the natural rhythm of its lifespan; a goose is at its fattest (think tastiest) after it feeds on late harvest grains to  bulk up for the cold months. And that falls right in step with the autumnal and winter holidays.

If you’ve decided you want to be a part of this long tradition, but have never prepared a goose before, there are a few things you should know. Of course, roasting a big bird like a turkey or a duck is much the same process. One thing you will notice is an astonishing amount of fat renders out of a goose.

There’s no reason to get nervous about your goose, just be prepared. Check out  the tips on our website here and here.

And watch Ariane talking goose in the Le Creuset Film Series below.

We have several goose recipes, including this Alsatian one which involves foie gras and chestnuts (lovely for the holidays). One of the nice things about the dark meat of a goose is how it well pairs with fruits, such as the pears in this recipe.

Ariane’s favorite version is the gala goose here, a recipe in which the goose is first poached and then roasted, which tenderizes the meat, renders out the fat and allows the skin to crisp.  Though it’s an involved process, this really is the right way to cook your goose. And you get the benefit of all that lovely fat rendered cleanly out; it’s perfect for the potatoes or other vegetables you serve alongside the main attraction.

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Saveur and The World of Duck

The December issue of Saveur magazine has a cover story about our favorite bird: duck.  Yes, it mentions us,  but that’s not why we think it’s a great piece. Our friend Hank Shaw is also quoted, which is appropriate. His new book “Duck, Duck, Goose” is our favorite book of the season. It’s got all you could possibly need to know about ducks and geese, along with some fine recipes.

You can read the entire fantastic article  on the Saveur site, after which we wager you’ll be inspired to cook some duck for dinner.

It’s really quite easy, as this Saveur video with Ariane proves. Her seared duck magret is a tradition handed down by her father, Chef Andre Daguin, who invented the preparation. Read, watch and then get in the kitchen and make duck!

saveur cover

We love these illustrations Saveur did of our products. This is a really useful breakdown of all the parts of the duck. Everything but the quack.

saveur the elements of duck

Gift Guide for the Food Lover

DArtagnan 2013_612There is likely someone you know who is completely obsessed with food. You don’t know how they can talk about food for so long and in such detail. But they do.

We exist for these folks. Variously called “foodies” (a term many dislike) or “foodists” (sounds a little more serious), these are our people. If you’ve got one of these fine folks on your Christmas list and have no idea what to give them … we’re here to help.

Our gift baskets come in three sizes and are each filled with a sampling of our favorite charcuterie. Not to mention truffle butter. These are designed with the gourmand in mind. You can order one here.

Why not go for something luxurious? Say, a lobe or terrine of foie gras, a tin of caviar, or a piece of premium meat, like our Wagyu beef. Something not on the weeknight dinner menu. Something memorable.

We like the cassoulet kit as a gift for a devoted cook, because it’s a cooking project and a legendary dish (Julia Child raved about it). It involves many steps and ingredients, so it’s an experience as well as a meal. And if you get the kit with the clay bowl, your gift recipient will have an unique addition to the kitchen arsenal. Just make sure you get invited over for the cassoulet feast.
Christmas Gifts Graphic

Our new Reserve Jean Reno Olive Oil would make a fantastic gift for a film and food fan. The actor Jean Reno grows the olives, works with the mill, and has personally selected the three varieties of oils that bear his name. They are not perishable, so are easy to wrap and bring to the party. Purchase a single bottle, or a set of all three varieties. These are new to the market, and exclusive to D’Artagnan. So there is a chance your foodie has not yet heard of them!

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We’ve also got samplers of products that will make you look like a food hero. Sausage collections, duck combo packs, piles of steaks, a bacon sampler, and more are available on our website. There’s always the most tasteful gift of all–the gift certificate.

And should you have any questions, we have a team of hardcore food fanatics in our customer service department. Give them a call.

Roast Gala Goose Recipe

Forget your fear of flabby, greasy goose! This do-ahead method produces a succulent, flavorful bird with crispy skin. After poaching, only a half-hour of high-heat roasting is needed before serving.  It’s a classic and perfect centerpiece for a Christmas meal and should serve six.

Recipe_Gala_Goose_HomeMedium

Ingredients

One 9 to 11lb goose
3 tablespoons rendered goose fat
1½ cups each coarsely chopped carrots, onions, and celery
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups dry white wine
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
Peelings from 1 green apple (optional)
6 cloves
1 large bay leaf
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, soaked, cleaned, and coarsely chopped, liquid strained and reserved
½ cup dried cherries
2 tablespoons Armagnac
1 tablespoon red currant jelly
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Remove giblets and neck from cavity, pull off any loose fat, and cut off first 2 wing joints, if still attached, and reserve. Wash goose, tie legs together, pick bird all over, and set aside.
  2. Put goose fat in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, and render about 3 tablespoons of fat. Remove and discard remaining fat (or use later). Add giblets, wing pieces, neck, and vegetables to pan. Sauté until vegetables are browned, about 7 to 8 minutes, turning frequently. Sprinkle on flour, adjust heat to medium, and continue cooking until flour is lightly browned, 6 to 7 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Pour chicken stock and white wine into a covered roasting dish large enough to hold the goose, and bring to a boil. Add goose, breast side down, pieces of browned goose, and vegetables, parsley, apple peelings, cloves, and bay leaf. Pour in enough water to cover goose by about two-thirds, and bring to a simmer. Whisk a cup of this liquid into the sauté pan, then scrape the thickened liquid back into the roasting pan.
  4. Cover pan and cook very gently, regulating heat, if necessary, to keep it just simmering.
  5. After an hour, turn goose over, being careful not to break the skin. (A pair of rubber gloves is an easy way to do this.) Poach goose a total of 2 to 3 hours, or until meat is tender when pierced with a fork. Turn off heat and finish immediately, later in the day, or the next day.
  6. Recipe may be done ahead to this point.
  7. To finish immediately, preheat oven to 450° F.
  8. Remove goose from liquid, drain, and place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast until skin is brown and crispy, about 30 minutes. Take out of oven, and allow to stand for about 5 to 20 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, skim grease from pan liquid and strain to remove pieces of goose, vegetables, and seasonings. Discard pieces of goose and seasonings. Purée vegetables in a blender or food processor, and add back to pan. Boil quickly to reduce liquid by about half.
  10. Add porcini and soaking liquid, cherries, Armagnac, and red currant jelly. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and keep warm until needed.
  11. To finish later or the next day, cover pan and set in refrigerator. When ready, remove layer of fat from liquid. Lift out goose and bring liquid to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, then reheat goose in stock for about 10 minutes while preheating oven. Proceed with recipe as above.
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