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Posts tagged ‘cassoulet’

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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Pardon My Foie Gras: Between the Covers

Pardon My Foie Gras was written by the prolific cookbook author Ruth Chier Rosen, and published in 1956. You can see her astounding collection of vintage cookbooks that span decades and cuisines at her blog Food of the Fifties. She even has an app!

Though a far cry from the comprehensive volumes Julia Child penned on French cooking, this little book offers a view into 1950s America and its attitude toward French food. Child’s book Mastering the Art of French Cooking would not appear until 1961, and we all know what happened after that!

Ruth Chier Rosen wrote an entire series of these little cookbooks. Ours measures only 4 x 5 inches, and is spiral bound with plenty of lovely vintage flourishes. Clever titles with puns are common in her oeuvre. The recipes are short, direct and easy to follow.

As you might expect, we have the foie gras themed volume.  It’s all about the “choice cuisine of France,” and we want to share a few of the pages with you here.

PMFG Front Cover & Box

The spiral bound book and a clever box to protect it.

PMFG Frontispiece

Inside the front cover, a very intense Frenchman.

As you can see, Ruth was introducing the concept that eating in the French manner involved caring. There is no place for indifference in cooking or dining.

We like Ruth’s message, and it still resonates: French food need not be intimidating. Do things simply, do them well.

In the French Manner

And here is a selection of several pages and recipes worth noting.

Soups & Sauces

We begin in the beginning. Soups & sauces.

French onion soup is a classic that borders on kitsch at this point. But made at home, with your own stock, it is something wonderful. This recipe may be a bit reductionist. It does not make clear that you must really, truly brown those onions.

The other is for chestnut soup – we love French chestnuts (and we offer them). They are perfect to pair with game and poultry; this sauté with fennel is a favorite of Ariane’s at the holidays.

PMFG onion soup chestnut soup

Two soups you might like to try.

A chapter we cannot skip: the meat and vegetables. It’s nice to see such variety – tripe, veal, lamb, sweetbreads, liver – perhaps easier to find in 1956 America than we might have expected.

Meat & Veg

Let’s get to the meat, shall we?

 

Bouef Bourg

Before Julia made it a household name: Boeuf Bourguignon

paupiettes

Paupiettes de veau

You can see Ariane’s recipe for Paupiettes de Veau, and a video in which she demonstrates the preparation. The translation is “Veal Birds,” because they are also known as oiseaux sans tête, or birds without heads. 

poultry and game

Here’s where it gets interesting.

There are plenty of recipes for chicken, and what French cookbook would be complete without a good roasted chicken recipe? It is the cornerstone of a balanced diet.

Chicken Roti

The photos are all black and white, but the charming illustrations make up for it.

We cannot resist the guinea hen - or pintade, in French. In this recipe, we wonder what happens to the rest of the hen. Naturally, every scrap should be eaten and the bones cooked down for stock. Guinea hen legs are not to be missed.

Pintade

Guinea hen is commonly eaten in France.

We were intrigued by the cassoulet recipe. But this Toulouse cassoulet seems to be missing something – could it be duck? Our version is Gascon all the way, so we are biased, bien sur. And while the simplified translation of “baked beans” is accurate, it leaves out some of the caché of cassoulet. The recipe does not involve any baking in the oven, which is the stage that makes cassoulet all crunchy on the outside.

Toulouse Cassoulet

But where’s the duck?

We were excited to see the offering from the region of Gascony. And this one involved torching a duck, so that’s fun.

cassoulet de canard

There are desserts and dishes with eggs… and some handy information about wine. We just couldn’t resist this chart of vintages from 1927-1955.

vintage chart

And if you are going to drink, please be responsible and use the correct glass.

wine glasses

Make mine crystal, please.

Wine Dinner Menu

Ruth lays out a few menus using her recipes and pairing with wine.

However, there is no foie gras in Pardon My Foie Gras. The closest thing is the pâté in the Tournedos Rossini- we know that’s supposed to be foie gras. In 1956 the only foie gras in the United States was canned pâté de foie gras. And some people still think the word “pâté” is synonymous with foie gras.

As you may now, it wasn’t until Ariane started D’Artagnan in 1985 that any fresh foie gras was available in the U.S. at all. Today we sell a variety of preparations, as well as whole livers and foie gras slices.  So here’s our version of Tournedos Rossini, with a slice of fresh, seared foie gras on top.

Tournedos Rossini

truffle man

On the inside back cover, a happy truffle hunter.

Please meet Mrs. Rosen.

ruth bio

Our little volume came with a card promoting the other titles penned by Ruth and published by her husband Richard Rosen.

Also by Ruth

Look at the last title – there was urban farming in the 1950s! Sure, it’s being reinvented today on rooftops and in vacant lots in cities across America, but here it is in 1956. Ahead of her time?

More by Ruth 2

Intrigued by the first one…

If you come across any of these little books, be sure to scoop them up. They offer a charming view of cooking in the 1950s, and would make unique gifts for those friends who are cookbook collectors.

 

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!

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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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.

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.  

15 First one out of the pan

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.

Recipe_Turkey_Roulade_HomeMedium

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.

cassoulet in bowl

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.