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Posts tagged ‘cassoulet’

Get Deals on Duck!

We are obsessed with duck. It’s kind of our thing. And we’ve heard that you like duck as much as we do.

That’s why we’re kicking off the month of March with a giant all-things-duck sale!

This means that duck leg confit, raw moulard duck breast, whole Rohan, Muscovy or Pekin duck, smoked duck breast, duck rillettes, duck prosciutto, duck bacon, duck sausage, duck fat and even our cassoulet kit (it’s got duck in it!) are all specially priced to tempt you.

What are you waiting for?  Shop and save 15% on any duck of your choice this week at dartagnan.com.

If you need a little inspiration …

02737CT191Duck a la orange recipe

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Cassoulet is 15% Off All Week!

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“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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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.
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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.

Thanksgivukkah Comes But Once Every 79,000 Years

You’ve surely heard. It’s being touted by the media as a once-in-a-lifetime event. The convergence of the Jewish and Gregorian calendars brings us a hybrid holiday this year: Thanksgivukkah.

Hanukkah falls early this year, with the first night of the Festival of Lights on Wednesday, November 27. And Thanksgiving is later than normal on Thursday, November 28.

So Jewish families will find themselves lighting a menorah after their turkey dinner on the second night of Hanukkah. And that means …

Thanksgivukkah

It might have been called Chanksgiving, but in a frenzy of excitement surrounding this unique holiday, the most common appellation is Thanksgivukkah. Seems it’s the winning hashtag. And once the mayor of Boston said he would proclaim November 28, 2013 “Thanksgivukkah,” the name stuck.

Thanksgivukkah has inspired products like the menurkey, a menorah shaped like a turkey (a nine-year-old kid created it!), t-shirts, cards, and an all-things Thanksgivukkah website. Rabbis have been commenting on it, and Buzzfeed weighed in with a credible mash-up menu for the festival (Manischewitz-brined turkey, anyone?).

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Light your menurkey.

Even satirist Stephen Colbert has commented on the phenomenon with a sketch, and this song parody supplies an anthem for Thanksgivukkah.

We are not falling for the hype…OK, maybe just a little. Come on, it’s not going to happen for another 79,000 or so. Let’s celebrate!

That means food in our book. Our friends at Bon Appetit have been unimpressed with the weird Thanksgivukkah recipes populating the internet, and their post about the worst-ever Thanksgivukkah menu had us chuckling.

So we’re just going to recommend a few of our favorite recipes that are appropriate for the occasion.  You decide how carried away you want to get with it.

First up, cassoulet. Granted, we have a little pork in our recipe (ventrèche is salted pork belly), but this bean and meat stew bears more than a little resemblance to cholent, a slow-cooked bean and meat stew served at countless Sabbath meals over the centuries in Eastern Europe. And with all due respect to kosher laws, the pork really adds something special. Cassoulet would make a perfect centerpiece for a Thanksgivukkah meal.

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Cassoulet serves a crowd.

For a more literal interpretation, try our potato latkes topped with foie gras and apples, which we just posted on the blog here.

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Potato latkes with foie gras

The legs of duck make beautiful confit when slow cooked in their own fat, and when they are shredded…well, we think duck rillettes are one of the most satisfying meat spreads around. Slice a baguette and get a jar of cornichons. Long live the duck fat!

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Duck rillettes

And speaking of confit, garlic can be cooked in duck fat for mellow, tender cloves that are virtually spreadable. We like them in any dish calling for garlic, and love stuffing poultry with the savory tidbits.

Cloves cooked.

Cloves cooked.

Sufganiyot are doughnuts, traditionally eaten because all the oil represents the miracle of the oil that Hanukkah is based upon. We use duck fat in the dough and in the fryer when we make doughnuts. You will agree this is divine once you taste them.  

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Duck fat doughnuts.

Of course, for a smaller gathering on any night of the holiday (Hanukkah lasts eight nights…does that mean Thanksgivukkah does too?) , a de-boned turkey breast that has been slathered with black truffle butter before roasting makes a very satisfying feast.

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Turkey roulade with black truffle butter.

Perhaps our newest product offers the simplest solution. Our Jean Reno Reserve Oil is much like the oil used in the Jewish temple to light the menorah. It is pure and is made using ancient techniques. And you can use it as a finishing oil without much fuss or forceful combining of recipes. It’s a lazy, but elegant solution.

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Celebrate the miracle of the olive oil.

Whatever you eat, however you celebrate it, Thanksgivukkah is the rarest of holidays. Enjoy it!

Conquering Cassoulet

090102_cassoulet_hpIn recent years cassoulet has really taken off, and we couldn’t be happier. It’s downright common to see cassoulet on menus and in magazines these days….in all manner of variations. There’s even a recently-published book of essays called “The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage.”  We don’t promise cassoulet miracles, but we can help to dispel your fears about making it at home.  It’s a lot easier than you might imagine.

You can think of cassoulet as the French version of chili: A slow-cooked bean stew studded with tender meat that is best devoured by a crowd. It’s stick-to-your-ribs fare, and French towns compete for best cassoulet, much like a chili cook-off.

For more on the history of cassoulet, and some great photos, check this post.

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Ariane serving cassoulet at a cooking class.

We admit to being somewhat purist about our cassoulet, but that’s because Ariane comes from Auch, in Gascony, where a specific recipe is followed. In cassoulet country (as Southwest France might be called), different versions are made in different towns, and the true recipe is much disputed. Some will use lamb (a no-no in our rule book), or crumbs on the top (zut alors!), while others will–and this is only in America–use low fat meats in an attempt to save calories. Blasphemy!

But first there is the question of the bean. The D’Artagnan version of cassoulet requires French heirloom beans: The haricot Tarbais. This broad white bean has evolved perfectly for the needs of cassoulet. With a thin, delicate skin and sweet, milky flesh, the Tarbais bean is a perfect match for the rich duck leg confit and sausages our recipe contains. And the magic of Tarbais beans is that most of them will remain whole during cooking, but just enough will burst and those will thicken the cassoulet during its many hours in the oven. We won’t tell you that cannellini beans are forbidden, but consider that we began importing Tarbais beans because Ariane found no substitute for them in America.

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Heirloom Haricot Tarbais

We use only duck and pork meats, and nothing smoked. Duck leg confit, duck and Armagnac sausageventrèche (a French take on pancetta) and pork and garlic sausage are the meaty ingredients in our recipe, each offering a unique texture. And we never, ever use crumbs on top. With a generous amount of duck fat, cassoulet will form a natural crust of cooked beans. Ariane was taught to break the crust several times as the cassoulet cooks, to thicken the layer of crunchy beans on top.

With all these “rules” cassoulet might seem intimidating. But there’s really nothing hard about preparing a cassoulet feast. Our recipe kit provides all you need (even a French clay bowl for cooking if you like, though any sizable Dutch oven or heavy pot will do), and our easy-to-follow recipe takes the mystery out of the process.

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Our cassoulet recipe kit with clay bowl for cooking.

Plus, Ariane and her good friend, Chef Pierre Landet, made a video together to show you how simple it is to make a competitive-quality cassoulet on your first try.

Really, if you can make chili, you can make cassoulet. It’s a one-pot meal that cooks slowly in the oven, with only a little attention needed. And when it’s done, you can invite family and friends to a filling and satisfying meal. The nature of cassoulet is convivial, so get a few bottles of Madiran or Malbec and set out the chairs. Any accompaniments should be light, like a green salad and fruit for dessert.

Cassoulet JC Quote (2)

Leave it to Julia…

Craving Cassoulet?

We love sharing cassoulet — after all, it’s designed for that.  In the Southwest of France, where this hearty dish hails from, there is nothing more convivial than a cold night made warm with a group of friends and family gathered around a great big steaming pot of cassoulet. And several bottles of strong red wine, of course. We favor Madiran for a match, but any Malbec will do nicely, too.

Take 15% off all things cassoulet this week at dartagnan.com and start a tradition of your own by throwing a cassoulet party. Sale runs from October 28 through November 1, 2013.

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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.

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.

Ariane’s Class at Kings Cooking Studio

Ariane shared her secrets to making great cassoulet at Kings Cooking Studio in Short Hills, NJ on Monday night. But it was not just cassoulet!  Ariane talked about the simple techniques that are the backbone of the D’Artagnan lifestyle. Just the basic things a girl from Gascony knows how to do. She seared foie gras and served it with port and grape sauce…and spread medallion of foie gras on sliced bread… then seared duck breast and paired it with a balsamic-red wine reduction into which medallion of foie gras was stirred…and only then came the generous bowls of cassoulet.  The folks that attended the class were not left hungry, that’s for sure!  Did we mention that for dessert she offered French Kisses? At D’Artagnan, those are prunes soaked in Armagnac and then stuffed with mousse of foie gras.

The evening was filled with the conviviality that is so much a  part of life (and eating!) in Southwest France. Ariane had a great time chatting with the students and answering their questions. We hope that the evening inspired them all to make cassoulet, sear foie gras and duck magret at home!

Thanks to the team at Kings Cooking Studio–Randi, Wendy and Steve–who were a delight to work with. We would be happy to come back for another class.

For those at home, enjoy the photos.  We hope to see you at the next event!

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It’s National Bean Day!

We LOVE obscure food holidays. Surprisingly, there’s one for just about every day on the calendar. Our friends over at The Nibble put together a list and what do you know?! Today is National Bean Day – the perfect day to enjoy our versatile French Coco Tarbais Beans.

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Dried coco tarbais beans, ready to soak and cook.

The Coco Tarbais bean is one of the great exports of Southwest France, with a history as rich and wonderful as its flavor. These large white beans come from the village Tarbes and are grown within sight of the Pyrénées Mountains. Known as the best bean for the traditional cassoulet of the region,they’re also tremendous additions to summer salads, picnic foods, and season-agnostic appetizers. Plus, Tarbais beans are high in fiber and nutritional benefits as well. Richly satisfying, versatile, and not bad for you? Now that’s a tradition we can sink our spoons into.

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Young coco bean vines wind up corn stalks in Tarbes.

Tarbais beans were introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus, and they flourished in the sunlight of Southwest France, where they developed their own distinctive characteristics. They’re planted in early May alongside corn, and the two crops grow together, with the bean vines using the corn stalks as support. During the season, Tarbais beans are picked and sold fresh, but many are left to dry on the vines and are painstakingly hand harvested and sold dried. Just as true Champagne hails only from its namesake region, only beans grown and handpicked in the protected geographical French region may be called Tarbais Beans and are identified as “Label Rouge” on their packaging.

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Our Cassoulet Recipe Kit with an authentic cassoulet bowl.

Cassoulet 
It would be impossible to talk about haricot Tarbais and not discuss the traditional Gascon cassoulet. This dish has ignited passions in the Southwest of France for generations, each town claiming their version to be the one true recipe for cassoulet. Whatever the recipe (we, of course, believe ours is the best), cassoulet is bean and meat dish that cooks low and slow for hours, and feeds a crowd, often for several meals. Cassoulet tastes even better the day after it is cooked, as some kind of alchemy occurs when it is refrigerated for 24 hours and then reheated. To make a cassoulet, our French Coco Tarbais Beans - Label Rouge, of course – are the first place to start. The large, white bean has a thin skin allowing it to cook easier than other beans while still retaining its flavor and composition for the slow, mouthwatering stew. Beyond the beans, a cassoulet includes cured meats like Duck Confit; flavor-happy Duck & Armagnac SausageGarlic Sausage, and Ventrèche, or French pancetta; and a touch of Duck and Veal Demi-Glace and Duck Fat.

Where's your fork? Dig in!

We offer an easy-to-follow Cassoulet Recipe Kit, a perfect way to establish your own cassoulet tradition. Cassoulet makes a great holiday meal, and is best enjoyed with a few bottles of wine from the Southwest France (we like Madiran in particular).

Beyond the Bowl of Cassoulet
Aside from the slow-cooked Gascon stew, these versatile beans find their way into many dishes, most of which are quite simple to prepare.

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Tarbais bean soup with heritage ham.

For a spicy, easy sausage dinner, we like to grill lamb merguez sausage and serve atop wilted spinach, Tarbais beans and a light mustard dressing. For an extra kick, stir some harissa into the dressing. Try our ground buffalo chili with Tarbais beans for a unique texture and flavor. Tarbais beans pair well with pork, so our recipe for porkchops with beans and escarole is a natural fit, and will likely become a go-to meal in your kitchen. Tarbais beans make for great appetizers, too. Puree them with Black Truffle Butter, and place atop a crostini; or puree with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and parsley and serve with homemade oregano pita chips.

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Tarbais beans on crostini with herbs and parmesan.

No matter the season, stewpot, or picnic occasion, Tarbais beans are a welcome addition to any table.

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