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Posts tagged ‘d’artagnan recipes’

Turkey Stuffing v. Dressing

Whether a stuffing is a dressing, or vice versa, is as much about semantics as whether it is cooked inside or outside the bird. One thing that is certain, both are tasty, fragrant, comforting and satisfying; accompaniments with a balance of texture and taste that complement the bird and pay compliment to the cook. While recipes for many holiday dressings tend to build on bread, plenty call for grains like rice (wild or tame), or even cooked chestnuts as a primary foundation. A dressing also presents you with an opportunity to add a few choice ingredients that can elevate the level of your meal, or step up to an elaborately prepared gourmet bird. Several recipes take advantage of the bounty of autumn and fall harvests, and include fresh ingredients such crisp apples and pears, wild chanterelle and black trumpet mushrooms, and various truffles like the White Alba and Winter Black varieties.

If your dinner is a more formal affair, another grand way to stuff or accompany a bird is with a loose dressing, not based on or bound by starch at all, or with forcemeat such as chicken mousseline. For a full-on gourmet departure, fill your bird with a simple loose dressing of just a few choice yet intense ingredients; for example fresh Wild Boar Sausage and minced bits of turkey liver sautéed with prunes plumped in black tea, and golden raisins darkened in port – of course, with the port thrown in. For a true delicacy, consider a boned bird or turkey breast filled with a duxelles of fresh wild mushrooms or beautiful pieces of foie gras incorporated into a chicken breast mousseline.

For our take on the traditional bread stuffing, try making this Wild Boar Sausage with Apple Stuffing. The wild boar sausage has a hint of sage that is perfect for Thanksgiving, and tastes just enough like traditional pork sausage that finicky eaters will not have word of complaint.

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A D’Artagnan favorite: Wild Boar Sausage & Apple Stuffing

INGREDIENTS

1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 package of Wild Boar Sausage
4 cups stale bread cubes, or unseasoned stuffing cubes
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
1 to 2 apples peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
2 cups chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

PREPARATION

1. In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add celery and onion and cook until soft and translucent. Break up sausage meat into small chunks (about the same size as the bread cubes) and add to the pan. When the sausage is cooked through, add the apples, sage and broth (or water). Bring to a simmer.

2. Place the bread in a large mixing bowl and pour the cooked ingredients over the top. Mix thoroughly to moisten all of the bread. Test seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Bake in a covered casserole until completely heated through and starting to turn golden brown on top and around the edges.

More in the category of dressing, this recipe for Sauté of Chestnuts, Walnuts, Fennel and Onions is inspired by the cuisine of Joël Robuchon, and adapted from Patricia Wells’ book Simply French. Ariane loves to make it with our already-prepared chestnuts, black truffle butter and demi-glace, as you will see below.

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Saute of Chestnuts, Walnuts, Fennel and Onions

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups Ready-to-Use Chestnuts
20 pearl onions, blanched and peeled
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Black Truffle Butter
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 fennel bulb, cut into fine julienne, fronds reserved
4 shallots, cut lengthwise into eighths
1/2 cup walnut halves
Duck and Veal Demi-Glace, as needed
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper

PREPARATION

1. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter each in two medium sauté pans over medium-high heat. Add the onions to one and the chestnuts to the other and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and chestnuts have started to turn golden brown. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle each pan with 1 tablespoon sugar. Continue cooking the vegetables, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until evenly glazed and caramelized. Set aside.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons truffle butter in a large skillet over high heat and add shallots. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the shallots are translucent, one to two minutes. Add fennel and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring frequently, until the fennel and shallots have started to color. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.

3. Add glazed chestnuts and onions to the pan with the shallots and fennel and cook everything together for another minute or so. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and add demi-glace by the tablespoon-full if the mixture seems dry. You may not need the demi-glace. Stir in walnuts and reserved fennel fronds and serve.

If you decide to forgo stuffing altogether, and brave the ensuing riot, or cook your dressing outside of the bird in a baking dish, you can still make good use of the cavity. There is a method of stuffing intended only to add flavor to the meat. It can be as simple as placing rough chopped onions and carrots lightly sautéed with a sprig of fresh tarragon, or tart apples with the skins pierced, inside the cavity. You then remove and discard these dressings after cooking.

One of Ariane’s favorite things to do when not stuffing the bird is to put a few pieces of garlic confit in the cavity. To make garlic confit, melt enough rendered duck fat in a saucepan to generously cover your peeled cloves of garlic, and simmer gently over medium heat until the garlic becomes soft. You’ll be delighted with how delicious these little babies are, especially so without that sharp garlicky edge. Make a big batch and keep them in the refrigerator to use for everything from spreading on bread to flavoring your mashed potatoes.

Holiday Helpers are 15% OFF this Week!

This time of year it’s all about the turkey at D’Artagnan. But let’s not forget all the side dishes that are vital to the Thanksgiving feast.

Mashed potatoes, anyone? We always add black truffle butter to ours.  And who doesn’t love stuffing? You need wild boar sausage and chestnuts for that.

Duck fat and demi-glace are workhorses in the kitchen. And what holiday is complete without a little foie gras and fungi?

Be prepared for anything with our holiday helpers, all 15% off this week.

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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…

Braising Essentials

Because we are offering 15% off our favorite cuts for braising this week, we thought it was the perfect time to share some tips for this technique.

Braising is comfort cooking at its finest, and it’s surprisingly easy. And while you may be inclined to keep the dishes all to yourself, braising is a great option for entertaining. With most of the hands-on work completed before the dish even goes into the oven there is ample time to spend with guests, and as the braise cooks it warms your home with an enticing, rich perfume. A larger batch is no more work, yet leaves enough for leftovers, no sharing required. Here are some of our braising basics.

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Equipment
There is really only one piece of special equipment needed for braising – the vessel. You should always use a high-quality, non-reactive, heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid. Your pot should be deep enough to hold all of your ingredients while allowing about two inches of space at the top for evaporation and condensation, or self-basting, as we like to call it. If in doubt, always go up a size. Some specialty pots have features that enhance this moisture up/moisture down process, like a cocotte which has small spikes on the underside of the lid allowing for continuous self-basting, or a doufeu, a pot with a recessed lid to which you add ice to speed up condensation. These features are nice but often come with a hefty price tag. For basic braising, we recommend a simple Dutch oven made from enameled cast iron as it conducts and holds heat evenly and can be used to both brown the meat stovetop, then finish braising in the oven for true one-pot cooking.

The long & short of it
There are two basic types of braising: short and long. Short braising, or cuisson à l’étuvée in French, is great for vegetables, small birds and lean, tender poultry such as chicken or rabbit. It’s a fast process by which you quickly brown the ingredients in fat then add a flavorful liquid and barely simmer until just cooked through. The entire process is finished in less than an hour. Long braising or, braisage, uses similar techniques but achieves something different entirely. Tough cuts of meat such as short ribs, shoulders, shanks and briskets are browned in fat, then liquid and aromatics are added and the dish is cooked at very low temperature, staying below a simmer, for a long period of time. Cooking meat slow and low breaks down the sinewy connective tissue, first into collagen, then melting into gelatin. The cooking liquid reduces to become the accompanying rich and complex sauce.

Browning Basics
When browning meat for braising, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, never skip this step as browning the meat is an essential part of the braising process and your dish will lack flavor without it. Lean or tender cuts should be patted dry for a more intense browning effect. Fatty cuts should be dusted with flour pre-searing to develop a nice crust that will help to hold juices in. Heat your oil (duck fat works beautifully!) over high flame until quite hot then add your meat. Get the meat evenly brown and crusty on all sides. Be mindful not to crowd the pan, working in batches if necessary.

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Get Saucy!
The fork-tender meat may get top billing in braised dishes but the rich, luscious sauce is just as important. This long gentle method of cooking does most of the sauce work for you. There are some subtle tweaks you can make at the end of cooking to adjust the final product and really make your dish shine. If your sauce is thinner than you’d like, simply move some of the liquid to a small saucepan and reduce over medium-high heat. When thickened, add back into the pot. If your sauce is too thick, add some hot broth or wine and simmer. If you were over-generous with your seasoning, add a peeled potato or two during cooking. The starch will absorb a bit of the salt. Discard them before serving. Not enough flavor? Add freshly chopped herbs, citrus zest or spices at the very end of cooking and offer a bit at the table for garnish. Not enough body? At the end of cooking, shave in a small amount of bitter chocolate! It’s a professional kitchen secret that few chefs will reveal. A light hand will yield spectacular results. If your dish is too fatty, simply chill the whole pot in the refrigerator overnight. The fat will rise to the top and solidify, making it easy to discard. The extra time allows the flavors to marry and concentrate too. If you’re short on time, you can also let it rest for a half hour then skim the top with a shallow spoon.

Quick Tips

When reheating, remove the meat from the thickened sauce and bring it to a low boil then toss the meat back in just to heat through.

Braised dishes freeze beautifully – make a big pot, freeze individual portions in airtight containers and enjoy on a cold, rainy day.

Braised meats also make fantastic leftovers. Try adding to tacos or burritos, shepherd’s pie, pasta, sandwiches or salads.

A Saucy Series, Part IV: Blanquette de Veau

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.

 Blanquette de Veau

When I think of the Paris of Hemingway and Picasso, I think of Blanquette de Veau. It was one of the first classic bistro dishes I had in Paris as a student.  Honestly, it was a disappointment because the veal wasn’t very good. I knew the dish had greatness in it and tried making it differently.

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As part of my sauce series, Blanquette de Veau uses one of Careme’s mother sauces.

The Allemande is chicken stock-based velouté with egg, cream and lemon (also called a Sauce Blonde or Sauce Parisienne). With a sauce this luxurious I wanted a cut of veal that would be equal to the dish.  Instead of using traditional veal shoulder or neck cuts, I went for the tenderloin for my blanquette de veau and was over-the-moon with the results. A very light cooking resulted in soft pillows of tender veal in the beautiful sauce. In this recipe, you don’t brown anything, so it has a more delicate flavor.

Served with noodles or rice it will become a favorite.

All you have to do is make a few adjustments to get the flavors missed from not cooking the veal for a long time –– I think it’s worth it.

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 Recipe: Blanquette de Veau

D’Artagnan veal tenderloin, about 2 ½ lbs., trimmed and cut into cubes and thoroughly rinsed before and after trimming *
1 pint pearl onions, peeled
2 T butter
6 c stock (veal or chicken)
Bouquet garni: 1 thyme sprig, 1 bay leaf, parsley stems, 6 peppercorns, 2 cloves garlic, sliced and 3 cloves tied in cheesecloth or loose
1 celery stalk cut into sticks
1 large carrot, peeled & cut into thick sticks
1 small leek, sliced in half in 4” pieces
1 t coarse salt
4 T butter
5 T flour
2 T vermouth
2 T Cognac
1 container veal demi-glace
3 egg yolks
½ c heavy cream
2 c sliced mushrooms (I used a combination of crimini and shitake without stems but pure white mushrooms are the classic for this)
1 T lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
minced fresh parsley
chopped yellow celery tops (optional)

Take the veal cuttings, vegetables, bouquet garni and stock and put in a large pot (a wide-mouthed enamel cast iron pan is perfect).  Heat it and simmer on medium-low for 1½ hours, skimming and checking as you go.

While you are doing this, take ½ c of the stock from the pan and 2 T butter and simmer the onions covered for 10 minutes.  When they are nearly done remove the cover and reduce the liquid till it is syrupy.  Remove and reserve the onions and the glaze.

After 1½ hours, strain the stock, pressing on the solids and then discard the vegetables and meat bits. Add the demi-glace to the stock.  You should have around 4 cups.   You can do all of this the day before so that the dish comes together quickly before the meal.

Rinse the veal cubes again and add to the stock**.  Cook for about 15 minutes over very low heat… barely a simmer.  Check it –– you want it medium rare (you will need to heat it again when you add the egg and cream, that’s when you will finish cooking the veal).

When it’s done, remove the meat and strain the broth over a fine mesh.  Reserve 3¼ cup of the stock for the velouté.  Clean out the pan and place the meat and onions with the glaze in it.  Cover (you can do this the day before too, but I think veal is best the day it is cooked –– you can do the rest of the recipe earlier in the day and heat it gently if you would like.

Melt 4 T butter slowly, then add the flour and stir it in –– let it cook for a few minutes but do not let it brown.  Slowly add the stock, whisking. Add vermouth and cognac. Cook it over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring regularly.  Add the sliced mushrooms tossed in the lemon juice and cook for another 10 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft.  This cooking is what helps give the sauce the beautiful texture… don’t rush it.

Remove 1 cup of the sauce without the mushrooms.  Whisk the egg yolks and cream together and add the reserved hot velouté.

Add this to the meat and onions and cook over a low heat, stirring gently.  Do not let it boil.  Keep the sauce below 180º or the egg will curdle (using a wide-mouthed casserole makes this easy). Just for the heck of it I checked the temperature of the veal cubes –– they seemed to be around 145º –– perfect medium.

When everything is heated though taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed, serve with noodles, rice or potatoes. Sprinkle with parsley and celery tops (I love the flavor of celery tops, originally, they were what was used and the bottoms were tossed!).

The dish re-heats successfully in the microwave too.blanquette de veau 1

* Alisha at D’Artagnan said she made this dish with veal cheeks.  I read up on them and found that about 4 pounds cleaned of silverskin would give you about the right amount.  They would cook for a few hours till tender (it may be 4 or 5 hours on a slow heat). You would skip my additional step.

 ** There are those who do not like the gray scum that veal can generate.  If that bothers you, put the veal in a skillet and cover with water.  Bring to a low boil for 2 minutes and then strain and rinse the veal.   I did not do this step since I was more into the texture and the cloudy stock didn’t seem important in the velouté.

Featured Recipe: Chicken with Autumn Vegetables and Madeira

This wonderful recipe is adapted from Chef Frank Stitt’s excellent cookbook, Southern Table. The warming dish is Chef Stitt’s version of coq au vin, made with Madeira instead of red wine, served over puréed root vegetables and topped with crispy bits of country ham. We think it’s the perfect dish for rainy fall weather.

photo courtesy of Artisan Publishing

Chicken with Autumn Vegetables and Madeira
Serves 8

Ingredients

For the Autumn Vegetable Puree:

2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
1/2 medium rutabaga, peeled, trimmed and cut ino small chunks
1 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the Chicken:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 Organic Free-Range Chicken, 3 to 4 lbs, rinsed and cut into serving pieces
Salt and coarsely-ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 cup medium-dry Madeira
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
2 to 3 sprigs thyme
3 bay leaves
2 slices country ham, thin slices, cut into thin julienne strips

Glazed Root Vegetables, if desired

Preparation
1. In a large heavy sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high and sear the pieces on all sides until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a rack set over a baking sheet and set aside.

2. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the pan over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook until softened and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the Madeira and white wine, bring to a boil, and reduce by three-quarters. Add the broth, thyme, and bay leaves and bring to a simmer.

3. Place the chicken in a casserole and pour the simmering broth over it. Cover the chicken with parchment paper, then cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil and braise in the oven until tender, about 15 minutes for the breast and 45 to 55 minutes for the dark meat. Remove the pieces as they are done and transfer to a rack set over a baking sheet.

4. Strain the braising liquid into a large saucepan and set the pan over medium-high heat, half on and half off the burner so you can easily skim off the fat as it rises to the cooler side of the pan. Reduce by about half, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter bit by bit, swirling it into the sauce. Add the chicken to the pan and heat through.

5. Spoon the vegetable purée onto individual plates. Arrange the chicken next to the purée and then the glazed vegetables (if serving) alongside. Garnish with the little strips of country ham.

All About the Berkshire Pig

The Berkshire is one of the oldest identifiable breeds of pig, which dates back some 300 years to the shire of Berks in England. Legend has it that Oliver Cromwell’s army discovered the breed while in winter quarters, and a welcome find that must have been! This black-coated hog with white areas on the face, legs and tail, is known for its juicy, tender, and flavorful meat which is heavily marbled with fat.

The Berkshire breed became well-known and wide-spread in England, and was even raised by the Royal Family at Windsor Castle in the 1800s. As a gift from the Royal Family, Berkshire hogs were introduced to Japan, where they have been in high esteem ever since. The Berkshire pig is sometimes known as kurobuta, which is Japanese for black pork.

Berkshire Pork Chops with Apples & Onions by Chef Barbara Lynch

First introduced to the United States in the early 1800s, the Berkshire breed offered improvement to the general hog population when crossed with that stock. The fear that the breed would be completely diluted led breeders to start the American Berkshire Association in 1875, the first swine group and registry in the world. The founding of the ABA was met with enthusiasm by the breeders in the U.S. and in England, and it was agreed that only hogs from English herds, or hogs that could be traced back to them would be registered. The first boar to be recorded in the registry was Ace of Spades, bred by Queen Victoria herself. Today, many of our Berkshire breed pigs are descended from these original registered animals.

In 1876, the first US Berkshire Breed Publication read: “The Berkshire meat is better marbled than that of any other breed of swine. That is it has a greater proportion of lean freely intermixed with small, fine streaks of fat making the hams, loins, and shoulders sweet, tender, and juicy. This renders the whole carcass not only the more palatable to persons in general, but are unquestionably the most healthy food. Considering theses facts, the Berkshire, above all others, should be the favorite swine among United States. We ought to take all possible pains in breeding Berkshires in such a manner as to enhance this superior quality.”

Lard and Lean 

Lard used to be in every kitchen, used as cooking oil, in pasty, to bind meat pies, and even had industrial applications. But after World War II, in a new era of convenience and better living through science, cheaper vegetable oils were introduced and replaced lard for the most part. The lard type pigs that farmers raised to keep up with the demand were now considered useless, and instead pigs were selected and bred for lean meat. Berkshire hogs began to fall out of fashion. By the 1980s, industrial farming had become the norm, and Berkshire pigs were of no interest to such farmers, with their slower growing time and abundant fat. But the ABA never wavered, and just kept on breeding and registering the heritage hogs in small numbers. The Japanese also maintained the purity of the breed, and valued the tasty, succulent meat, placing a huge premium on kurobuta pork.

That's a lot of tasty parts!

Thanks to an increased interest in heritage breeds and traditional foods among the culinary cognoscenti, there are more farmers raising them for the market, even crossing the hardy stock with other heritage breeds. As industrial farms crowd out the small farmers, many of them are turning to heritage breeds like the Berkshire pig, and raising them in the old ways, in small scale operations.Chefs across the country will gladly pay more for quality Berkshire pork, raised naturally, on pasture, and farmers are meeting the demand.

Chef Alexander Bernard's Balsamic Glazed Berkshire Tenderloin

Farming Cooperatives 

D’Artagnan sources all heritage and Berkshire pork from a cooperative in Missouri, at the foot of the Ozark Mountains. A group of about a dozen family farmers raise Berkshire and cross breeds (referred to as simply “heritage”) on pasture, with access to individual houses, water and supplemental grain feed. Families of pigs are left together, to forage and frolic outdoors in pastureland. The cooperative is strict about banning the use of antibiotics and hormones on each farm, and about limiting the number of hogs the farms raise. They seek to add another farmer to the cooperative before they add more pigs to any one farm. They are paid a premium for their humanely-raised pork, making the small farm a profitable business, and proving that there might be a future in the old breeds after all.

RECIPE SUGGESTIONS:
Pork Chops Milanese
Coffee Rubbed Pork Chops
Braised Berkshire Pork Butt and Beluga Lentils
Bone-in Pork Butt with Green Apple and Crushed Hot Red Pepper

On the menu: Easter mains & sides!

So yesterday, we gave you some ideas and recipes for Easter appetizers. (Mmmmm… black truffle gougeres!) Today, we’re all about classic main dishes and comforting, family-friendly sides. We broke our suggestions down into two menus that can also be mixed and matched, if you desire.

Our first menu features Lamb as the centerpiece. Our boneless lamb loin is super easy to prepare and no matter how you cook it, turns out tender and juicy. Tangy spring leeks make the perfect foil to a sweet, truffle honey vinaigrette. We paired the lamb with potatoes roasted in duck fat (our secret weapon!) and rounded out the meal with smoky maitake mushrooms and a crisp bibb lettuce salad.

lamb loin with leeks, duck fat potatoes, bibb salad with radish, maitake mushrooms

Menu #1

Lamb Loin with Leeks and Truffle Honey Vinaigrette

Potatoes Crisped in Duck Fat

Pan Roasted Hen-of-the-Woods Mushrooms

Spring Salad with Peas, Radishes and Creamy Lemon Vinaigrette

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Our second menu shines the light on a perennial Easter favorite, our Applewood Smoked Heritage Hams. We did the work for you – our hand-crafted hams are fully-cooked and need little adornment. We just brushed on a simple glaze made with apricot preserves, mustard and bourbon and heated through. Dried morels give decadent pommes dauphinois an earthy edge, while citrusy green beans and duck fat biscuits finish the table.

glazed ham, duck fat biscuits, citrus tarragon green beans, yukon gold morel mushroom gratin

 Menu #2

Apricot-Bourbon Glazed Applewood Smoked Heritage Ham

Yukon Gold Potato Gratin with Morels

Green Beans with Tarragon and Citrus Butter

Duck Fat Biscuits

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Come back for tomorrow’s post! It’s all about the perfect wines to pair with your Easter feast, with suggestions and tasting notes from one of America’s Top Sommeliers, Anani Lawson of per se in New York City. This is one you do not want to miss.

Easter Appetizers D’Artagnan Style

Still planning your Easter feast? We’re here to help!

This year, we’ve put together a sample menu of fabulous spring recipes for your Easter table. Today’s post puts the spotlight on appetizers.

First up, our Black Truffle Butter Gougeres.

Light-as-air puffs with a moist interior, these truffle-flecked gougeres will disappear fast – so make a bunch!  We adapted this tried-and-true recipe from Daniel Boulud’s cookbook, Cocktails & Amuses-Bouches for Him & Her.

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Teeny deviled quail eggs are not only delicious but a great conversation starter. Here are three crowd-pleasing variations that start with the same basic ingredients and technique then veer off in completely different directions – trust us, there’s one for every taste!

Deviled Quail Eggs with Bacon & Thyme

These little beauties have a satisfying smoky bite from the addition of our Uncured Hickory Smoked Bacon. Fresh thyme balances the richness.

Deviled Quail Eggs with Porcini & Parmesan

Don’t let their size fool you – these mini eggs are umami-bombs. Our Porcini Powder lends an earthy richness while the soft bed of microplaned parmesan gives them a stable resting spot and another layer of flavor.

Deviled Quail Eggs with D’Artagnan Caviar

A swirl of creme fraiche makes these deviled eggs silky smooth, but the real star of this dish is our exclusive Caviar D’Aquitaine.

An Easter meal just isn’t complete without some early spring vegetables. Adapted from one of our favorite Martha Stewart recipes,  this easy-to-make Asparagus Tart with Jambon de Bayonne is piled high with ribbons of tender-crisp asparagus and topped with a sprinkling of salty Gruyere. Our version has a hidden layer of Bayonne Ham that puts it over the edge. Delicious!

Are you hungry yet?!

We’re not finished! Tomorrow we’ll cover classic Easter main courses and comforting side dishes. On Friday, we’ll tie it all together with some convivial wine pairings from one of America’s top sommeliers!

Stay tuned!

恭喜发财! Happy Chinese New Year!

Today marks the first day of the year of the water dragon, one of the most revered years of the Chinese calendar. It’s sure to bring good fortune and excitement! Food (and food symbolism) will play a big part in the next few weeks of celebrations. Here are some dishes for good luck in the coming year.

Anita Lo's Pekin Duck with Hoisin and Figs

In Chinese culture, duck symbolizes luck and fidelity. Here’s a fantastic recipe from one of our favorite chefs, Anita Lo. Her Breast of Duck with Hoisin and Figs mixes classic, Chinese flavors with a whimsical presentation. Or try this recipe for Roasted Pekin Duck with Shallot Confit, Asparagus, Shitake and Lily Bulb Stir Fry by Mercer Kitchen’s Chris Beischer. Cambridge, Massachusetts chef, Jason Bond puts a smoky twist on a classic roast duck with his Holiday Hu-Kwa Duck which is cured with salt and smoked Hu-Kwa tea before being roasted and basted in it’s own juices.

Blue Ribbon Restaurant's Duck with Orange-Cassis Sauce

Fresh oranges symbolize wealth and unity. This easy recipe for Pekin Duck with Orange Cassis Sauce is warming and rich, perfect for winter. And if you ask us, you can’t go wrong with a classic Duck a l’Orange.

Eat stir-fried greens for wealth since the Cantonese word for lettuce sounds like “growing fortune.” Marcus Samuelsson’s Greens combine winter kale with sweet, baby bok choy and Asian flavors like soy sauce, mirin, ginger and lemongrass. Delicious!

Fried Dumplings also symbolize wealth with their golden color and ingot shape. For a decadent French spin, try these Deep Fried Dumplings with Foie Gras and Chicken Livers.

The golden color of fried spring rolls equals good fortune. Try our recipe for Duck Confit Spring Rolls with Cashews and Sweet Potatoes. (a double whammy of golden deliciousness!)

Red is a lucky color during Chinese New Year and red-cooked chicken is a classic “lucky” dish, symbolizing happiness and good fortune. Mark Bittman’s version of  Soy Poached Chicken is delicious and easy to make at home. Or try this sophisticated Twice Cooked Chicken with Shiitake Mushrooms, Ginger Garlic Relish and Star Anise Broth from Highlands chef, Chris Rendell.

Whichever dishes you indulge in, we wish you prosperity, good health and lots of luck in the new year! And as our Chinese friends say, 吉慶有餘! (May your happiness be without limit!)