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A message from Ariane …
Faire chabrot… it’s a rustic tradition from rural France that continues to this day in the Southwest, my region. It’s an expression of conviviality and continuity, of simple pleasures at the table. So what is chabrot?
It’s a fun way to finish a bowl of soup. When in Gascony, it is often garbure, an improvised soup that varies by season and from one house to the next, though usually includes cabbage and confit of duck or goose. Some people keep a permanent pot of soup bubbling, and add vegetables and meat to it each day. A good broth is a staple in the day of many rural people.
For chabrot (pronounced shab-row), just enjoy your soup and then leave a bit of the warm broth in the bowl. Naturally, you have red wine on the table, so pour in a dose of wine, I would say about half the amount of the broth, but you can do equal parts if you like.
There is no stirring and no spoon! Hold your bowl in two hands, swirl gently, and with elbows planted on the table, drink the wine and broth mixture.
This is chabrot. Considered very old school and a peculiar habit of rural people, and in some company bad manners (!), it’s a tradition that l love to share with others.
There is something about the warm broth and the wine together… and the whole table lifting bowls to their faces. It always stirs something in me. Perhaps it is the thought of a long line of ancestors who tipped their bowls through the generations. Or maybe it’s just the unique flavor of the raw wine and the broth together.
You can see how it’s done in this video I made with Ed Brown. We were in the kitchen making poule au pot and I couldn’t resist the chance to show him.
So now that you know, go ahead and faire chabrot!
The duck fat doughnut is a savory miracle. We love this recipe by the incomparable Ian Knauer from Gourmet magazine, and we continue to believe it is the best doughnut ever. But we might be biased. There is a lot of duck involved.
It’s a perfect recipe for Hanukkah, or for that rarest of holidays, Thanksgivukkah. Sufganiyot, or doughnuts, are traditionally served to commemorate the miracle of the oil at Hanukkah; when you make them with a savory filling of duck confit, they are practically a meal.
We took plenty of photos of the process, which you can enjoy in the slideshow after the recipe….which comes with our heartiest of recommendations.
Recipe: Ian Knauer
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
Scant 1/2 cup warm whole milk (105-115°F)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus additional for dusting
1 large egg
About 4 cups rendered duck fat, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 confit duck leg
2 tablespoons sour cherry or red currant preserves plus additional for serving
EQUIPMENT: a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment; a deep-fat thermometer
1. Stir together yeast and warm milk in mixer bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast.) Mix in 3/4 cup flour at low speed until combined. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled and bubbles appear on surface, about 1 hour.
2. At low speed, mix in egg, 2 Tbsp duck fat, sugar, salt, and remaining 3/4 cup flour until combined, then beat at medium speed until smooth and elastic, 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape dough into center of bowl and dust lightly with additional flour. Cover bowl with kitchen towel and let dough rise at warm room temperature until doubled, about 1 hour.
3. Discard skin and bones from duck confit, then shred meat. Stir together meat and preserves.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and lightly dust with flour. Punch down dough (it will be soft) and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into 16 equal pieces. With lightly floured hands, flatten 1 piece of dough and put a heaping tsp duck confit mixture in center. Gather dough up and around filling and pinch to enclose. Roll into a ball and transfer to baking sheet. Make 15 more balls, arranging 1 inch apart on sheet.
5. Heat 2 inches duck fat in a 2-qt heavy saucepan over medium heat to 350°F. Fry doughnuts in batches of 4, turning frequently, until puffed and golden, about 2 minutes per batch. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Return oil to 350°F between batches. Serve doughnuts hot, with additional preserves.
These golden potato pancakes are crisped in duck fat before being crowned with silky foie gras and tart apple. Delicious. And appropriate for Hanukkah. Or Thanksgivukkah. After all, the history of foie gras in Europe can be traced back to Jewish immigrants, who brought the technique of fattening ducks and geese from Egypt. Schmaltz, anyone?
2 medium Granny Smith or other tart green apples, peeled, cored, and cut crosswise in 1/8-inch slices (reserve trimmings)
2/3 cup simple syrup
1¼ cups duck and veal demi-glace
2 medium-large baking potatoes (about 1¼ pounds), peeled
1 small onion
1 small golden delicious or other sweet apple, peeled
1 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
1 egg, beaten
6 or more tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
1 duck fat
6 foie gras slices
1. Combine sliced apples with simple syrup in a bowl and soak for 8 hours or overnight.
2. Add apple trimmings to demi-glace, bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and keep warm.
3. Grate potatoes, red apple, and onion. Gently stir in parsley, egg, and flour, and season with salt and pepper. Heat enough duck fat to measure about ½ inches deep in a large heavy skillet. Form mixture into 12 pancakes. If too moist, add a little more flour. When fat is hot, about 375 degrees F, add only as many pancakes as will comfortably fit in pan without crowding, flattening them slightly. Cook until browned and crispy on both sides, turning once. Remove with a slotted spatula, blot on paper towels, and keep warm in a warm oven. Discard fat and wipe out pan.
4. Heat pan until very hot. Season foie gras with salt and pepper, and sauté until lightly browned and medium-rare inside, about 45 seconds per side.
5. On warm plates, place a potato pancake, then add an apple slice and a foie gras medallion on top. Spoon on sauce, and serve.
A message from Ariane…
It’s not every day that you meet a movie star like Jean Reno, let alone go into business with him. But I was lucky enough to have a long dinner with the great man and our talk turned to food, to France, and to his passion: olive oil. Not only olive oil, but also the rugged little olive tree that seems to live forever, that is such a strong symbol of peace, immortality and beauty.
Over 25 years ago, Jean found a mas, a traditional farmhouse in Provence, which he purchased with an eye to moving his aged father there. Indeed, the home gave his father peace in his final years and a resting place in death, as Jean buried his father on the property. As you might imagine, he holds a deep affection for Provence and feels a great connection to the place.
Since becoming a local, he has learned a lot about the olive trees of the area, more specifically in Maussane-les-Alpilles in the heart of the Vallée des Baux-de-Provence. This region of Southern France has been famous for its olives since the early Roman Empire, and continues to rank as France’s top olive oil producer with AOC status. Olive oil may be France’s best kept secret. Very small amounts are produced in the traditional manner, and it usually stays in the region. Very little is exported.
But Jean and I thought it was time to change that. You see, he bought the farmhouse with a little property, and then added a little more, and those acres included some fine olive orchards. Like many in Les-Alpilles, Jean’s trees would produce enough olive oil for his family to enjoy. So he bought more acres of trees to make more olive oil.
He also became involved with the local moulin, or mill, that was producing his olive oil. The moulin follows traditional methods, using great granite stones to crush the olives. Working with them, he developed the blends for his olive oils, and now he’s the president of their association. He is a vocal advocate for true flavors of terroir and for the superb olive oil that flows from the moulin.
Great chefs like Joël Robuchon and Daniel Boulud knew a good thing when they tasted it, and started using his olive oils in their restaurants. But Jean had a vision to bring his olive oil to a wider audience with the help of D’Artagnan.
That’s how it began, and I am proud that after months of work, we now offer three styles of olive oil, made with olives hand harvested in Reno’s own orchard and pressed in the historic mill famous since 1924 for creating fine quality oils.
Barely a month after the U.S. launch, we are honored that restaurants like Balthazar, Mercer Kitchen, Felix, SoHo Grand and Bistro Vendome in NYC are using our oils on a regular basis. But the excitement about Jean Reno Olive Oil is not limited to Manhattan. In Chicago such luminaries as Graham Elliot, L2O, Les Nomades, Brindille, Belly Q, Acadia and Black Bull are among the many serving it. And in Boston you can taste it at The Four Seasons Hotel. New Jersey restaurants serving it include Highlawn Pavilion, Restaurant Serenade, GP Restaurant, Restaurant Avenue, and Park Ave Club. Le Diplomate in D.C., Philippe’s Wine Cellars in Lafayette, LA and Café de la Presse in San Francisco, CA are just a few of our national clients who appreciate and serve these oils.
Jean Reno olive oil is not yet found in retail stores, so if you want to try it, the best place to go is our website.
The olives you will taste in these oils are varieties exclusively grown in the region. They are: Salonenque, Grossane, Béruguette, Verdale des Bouches du Rhône and Picholine.
Another distinction of oil from Maussane-les-Alpilles is that the olives are aged and slightly fermented for a brief period before being crushed under ancient granite millstones, and then mechanically pressed in large scourtins (disks) to extract pure, unfiltered olive oil. This all comes from matters of practicality, as in the old days with limited technology, only so many olives could be picked and processed into oil each day. The ones that got pressed later were more fermented, and it became a hallmark of production in the region.
This aging process, which can last as little as one day or as long as a week, allows the water to evaporate out of the fruit and it makes the flavors more intense. The Fruite Noir, or Black Fruity, variety is a virgin olive oil, and is aged the longest, about seven days. When you taste the oil from this fruit, which is 50% Picholine olive, it’s like eating the olive itself. It tastes like liquid olive tapenade, with a unique fruity flavor that is slightly acidic with subtle aromas of cocoa, bread and roasted artichoke.
All three of Jean’s olive oils are smooth and silky with subtle aromas and terroir rarely encountered outside of France.
The Fruite Vert, or Green Fruity, is aged for one or two days only and the juice is extracted, not pressed. This changes the flavor and aroma immensely; it is fresh, barely acidic, with a peppery note, hints of green herbs, grapefruit and fresh almonds.
The Classic Blend, Extra Virgin Olive Oil offers a mix of four olives that have been aged for three days. It’s well-balanced oil with light floral notes of dried fruits and a fresh peppery aftertaste.
Each of Jean’s oils are made in limited quantities. Do not hesitate to order them soon (they make a nice gift for a food lover).
Watch our video to see what Jean has to say about his oils and get tips on how to use them.
Jean and I appeared together on BFM TV to talk about the project. If you can understand our French, you may enjoy this video in which Jean recommends drinking olive oil straight from the bottle!
And if you enter our contest on Facebook this week you could win all three varieties –autographed by Jean himself.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
If you are not yet friends with us on Facebook, you might want to head over there now. We are giving away a set of our new Jean Reno Reserve Olive Oil. And each of the three bottles is autographed by Jean Reno himself!
The distinctive flavors of his olive oils come from the terroir of the Mausanne-les-Alpilles region of Baux-de Provence, where he grows the olives for the Classic Blend, Green Fruity and Black Fruity varieties.
You could win all three bottles if you enter our giveaway! Share with your friends to increase your chances of winning. Good luck!
The contest ends November 22, 2013, so enter soon.
Thanks to all our veterans, today and every day.