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Posts tagged ‘game meat’

What is Barding?

Most people agree that everything tastes better with bacon. Wrapping foods in bacon is a fad with serious staying power…and deep historical roots. The technical term for wrapping food in a layer of fat to add flavor and moisture is “barding.” Bacon is commonly used because aside from its signature fat content, the flavor is sweet, salty and smoky at the same time. Perfect for imparting flavor to a lean piece of meat.

Pigeon with bacon and myrtle and wild berries

Classic bacon-wrapped items, such as rumaki (chicken liver or water chestnuts wrapped in bacon and brushed with a sweet soy glaze), angels on horseback (oysters wrapped in bacon), devils on horseback (prunes wrapped in bacon), and bacon-wrapped filet mignon, have been around for years. Veal paupiettes are another classic version of barding.

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Think beyond these old school stand-bys and try baconizing the following:

  • Fruit: dried dates, pineapple wedges, fresh figs
  • Vegetables: bundles of asparagus, green beans or green onions, mushrooms, potato wedges, spicy peppers, cherry tomatoes, avocado wedges, slices of acorn squash
  • Seafood: shrimp, scallops, thick pieces of fish, like seabass or salmon
  • Meat: pork loin, venison tenderloin, meatloaf or meatballs, hamburger sliders
  • Poultry: whole pheasants or guinea hen, bite-sized chicken pieces, bone-in turkey breast, quail
  • Other: hard-cooked eggs, rolls or bread sticks

Once your items are wrapped in bacon, you can choose to bake, broil, grill, or sauté them. If the item you are wrapping in bacon has a short cook time (e.g., a fresh fig), you will need to par-cook the bacon before using to ensure it is fully cooked when the dish is ready to eat. Cook the bacon first in a skillet or the oven until it is half-way cooked, but still pliable. Then proceed to twist, drape or wrap it around the item of your choice, and finish it in the oven, on the grill or in the pan.

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Mix things up by using a wide variety of bacon. Hickory smoked and applewood smoked both have the traditional flavors we all recognize. For something completely different, try duck bacon wrapped around dried apricots or baby bok choy. Ventrèche, or French pancetta, isn’t technically bacon because it is not smoked, but can be used in all the same ways. It is especially good wrapped around figs and blue cheese.

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This squab recipe involves plums wrapped in bacon, which is a variation we highly  recommend. And you can watch Chef Marcus Samuelsson prepare it in our video.

Master of the Game

No this is not about a new action movie, but rather a medieval book on hunting by Gaston de Foix, also called Gaston Phoebus, because of his bright blond hair like the Greek sun god.

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left to right, Gaston of the gleaming hair, the Arms of Foix-Béarn and a statue of Gaston.

Before your eyes glaze over at the prospect of reading history, we promise you drama, danger, murder and what is possibly the very first Burning Man festival. Plus pretty pictures of animals.

Gaston (1331 – 1391) was the 11th Count of Foix (in what is southern France today) and Viscount of Béarn (southwest France, today  Basque country and Gascony- Ariane’s neighborhood). From all accounts he was an interesting guy. He reportedly had three “special delights” in his life: “arms, love and hunting.”

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Map showing Béarn with purple outline, right by the Pyrenees, and Foix with red outline.

Which brings us to the point of this post; Gaston Phoebus wrote what is arguably the most famous book on hunting ever, Livre de chasse (Book of the Hunt) in the 1380s. He was a great huntsman – perhaps the greatest of his day. It was the pursuit of his lifetime to the very end: he died from a stroke while washing his hands after a bear hunt.

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Hunting a bear.

But the book is his legacy and actually comprised of four books: On Gentle and Wild Beasts, On the Nature and Care of Dogs, On Instructions for Hunting with Dogs, and On Hunting with Traps, Snares, and Crossbow.

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A full page of Gaston’s Book of the Hunt.

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Detail of the hares.

An impressive document on natural history, describing animal behavior as well as the stages of hunting those animals, it is considered to be one of the finest manuscripts of its time. It’s a powerful cultural history that took such care with observations of the natural world that it was in use as a textbook right into the 19th century.

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And it was a bestseller right from the start (as much as things could be when entirely hand-lettered, drawn and painted). The courts of France and Burgundy considered it a work of art, and in some hands it certainly was. Shining with gold and richly colored, perhaps the finest example is from the Masters of Bedford workshop.

Since it’s game season, and we are having a sale on all game meat this week (save 15% – no hunting necessary!), we wanted to share a little of this beautiful book with you. If you would like to see  more, check the Morgan Library & Museum website.

Book of the Hunt Gaston Phoebus DEER

Book of the Hunt Gaston Phoebus BOAR

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What about the murder, the drama and Burning Man? Well, Gaston Phoebus had a son who, in adulthood, tried to poison his father. Then later, Phoebus accidentally stabbed and killed this only son in a fight. That’s Shakespeare-level drama.

While he had no heir, he did have four illegitimate sons. And one of them was burned alive at an unfortunate performance at a ball in Paris for King Charles VI of France. The Bal de Ardents, or Burning Man Ball, went down in history when a costume brushed against a torch and spread rather quickly, killing four dancers in the fire while the court watched. And here is where our story ends.

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Le Bal des Ardents, illuminated miniature from Jean Froissart’s Chroniques, note the dancer plunged into a wine barrel on the right, and how the musicians continue to play.

 

It’s Game Season! Save 15% This Week

Whether beast or fowl, all game is 15% off all week. Our Scottish game, flown in fresh from the hunt, our venison, raised in pristine pastureland in New Zealand, and even dainty and delicious quail are all specially priced through 10/19/14 at dartagnan.com.
HPC_WildGame15And check our website for recipes and videos. Worried about cooking wild boar? No need! Chef Marc Murphy and Ariane show you how in this video.

And our recipe page has plenty of inspirations for game feasts. Forget the thrill of the chase … this is all about the thrill of the taste.

Save on Fall Faves

We are always sad to see summer go, but there is a certain pleasure in the arrival of autumn. It means going back to the kitchen and the comfort food techniques we love: roasting, simmering and braising. It’s time to get cozy and get cooking.

So we’re kicking it off today with 15% off our favorite meats for fall. Stock up and and plan ahead for kitchen victory.  Dust off the slow cooker, and bring on the braise.

Shop and save until Sunday 9/28 – the sale ends at midnight EST.

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Oh, Deer! Take 20% Off All Venison

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

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

Now through January 17, 2014.

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All Wild Game is 20% OFF this Week!

That’s right!  This sale includes the four-legged game (venison, wild boar, buffalo, rabbit) as well as the winged varieties (pheasant, squab, quail, guinea hen). And our wild Scottish game is back in season, so there’s nothing to grouse about. Get over to dartagnan.com and get your game on.  Sale ends Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013.

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All About Venison

For many, venison is associated with a hunter friend who dispenses irregular, butcher-paper-wrapped meat parcels of uneven quality and dubious taste. So it’s not a surprise that venison’s reputation has been less than stellar until recently.

Venison grazing on a Cervena-certified farm in New Zealand.

Venison grazing on a Cervena-certified farm in New Zealand.

Over the last decade or so, venison has become more main stream. The best restaurants in the country include it on their menus, and it can be purchased at neighborhood grocery stores and local butchers as well as online. Not only is venison easier to procure, but it’s more tender and milder in taste than its wild counterpart. Retail availability also means that home cooks can pick and choose the best cuts, not just the frozen stew meat left over from Uncle Bob’s hunting trip last year.

The term venison comes from the Latin verb venari, meaning “to hunt.” It can refer to meat coming from boar, hares, and certain species of goats and antelopes, but is most commonly applied to deer meat. Deer meat is characterized by its fine grain and supple texture resulting from short, thin muscle fibers. Red (the largest type of deer), axis, fallow, and roe are the most common type of deer used for their meat. Because of its large size, red deer are preferred for ranch-raised venison.

Where Does Venison Come From?
In addition to venison hunted largely in the Fall and early Winter season, ranches or farms are now located throughout the world. Most of America’s supply currently comes from New Zealand ranches and is marketed under the appellation Cervena, a name which reaches back to historical origins, combining cervidae, the Latin word for deer, with venison.

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Cervena is a trademarked appellation that certifies that venison has been naturally pasture-raised, grass-fed with only minimal supplemental feed such as hay, and without steroids or growth hormones. Antibiotics are administered only in cases of extreme disease and are then tracked by animal and not allowed to be processed. Cervena also requires that animals be under three years of age at time of processing and that processing take place at accredited facilities. Cervena certified farms are privately-operated New Zealand farms that adhere to the strict standards required by the appellation.

Why Eat Venison?
Game of all types, especially venison, is low in fat, cholesterol, and calories and high in the essential nutrients niacin, phosphorus, iron, selenium, and zinc. Tender, light, and with a mild red meat taste, Cervena venison is packed with flavor (plus iron and calcium), but weighs in with only a fifth the amount of fat that beef does – making it both delicious and nutritious.According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, Cervena venison has about a fifth the amount of fat and about 100 fewer calories per 3.5 ounce serving of beef, the traditional choice for red meat.

Chef Chris Cosentino's Veniosn Tartare.

Chef Chris Cosentino’s Venison Tartare with Foie Gras.

RECIPE SUGGESTIONS:
Venison Daube à l’Armagnac
Venison Tartare with Foie Gras
Bacon-Wrapped Rack of Venison
Venison Medallions with Wild Mushroom Port Sauce

Featured Recipe: Rabbit Stew with Olives

It’s grey and a bit chilly in the Northeast, so we’re thinking stew for dinner. Here’s a warming recipe for rabbit stew from our friend, Chef Marco Canora of Hearth Restaurant in New York City. Marco’s classic Tuscan stew is just right for fall – hearty and satisfying but not too heavy. And it just so happens that natural rabbit fryers are on sale right now at dartagnan.com

Cooked stove top, this bright, rich stew will perfume your home with the heady scent of rosemary, olives and red wine.

Marco Canora’s Rabbit Stew with Nicoise Olives and Rosemary

feeds 4 generously, serve with crusty bread and hearty red wine

2 D’Artagnan Whole Natural Rabbits, cut into 10 pieces each
Coarse salt &  freshly cracked pepper
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup dry red wine
1 medium onion, peeled and minced
1 carrot, peeled and minced
2 celery stalks, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bunch rosemary sprigs, tied together
5 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup Nicoise olives, pitted if desired

Preparation
1. Season the rabbit pieces with salt and pepper. Heat enough oil to coat the bottom of a large skillet, about 3 tablespoons, over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the rabbit pieces, about 3 minutes on each side, then set aside in a bowl.

2. When all of the meat is browned, add the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up the fond (browned bits) with a wooden spoon. Allow the wine to simmer for a minute or two, then pour it over the browned rabbit and reserve.

3. Wipe out the skillet. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery. Fry, stirring frequently and adjusting the heat if necessary to prevent burning, until the vegetables soften and color, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and rosemary. Stir to coat the vegetables and cook until the paste darkens, about 5 minutes.

4. Return the rabbit and wine to the pan, lower the heat to medium, and stir to mix. Cook the rabbit, stirring occasionally, until its juices release, about 10 minutes.

5. Add enough broth to come a little less than halfway up the rabbit pieces, about 2 cups. Simmer the rabbit partially covered, turning it in the pan and basting it occasionally, until the pan is almost dry, about 15 minutes. Add more broth, about 1 cup, and continue simmering and basting the rabbit, adding a little broth whenever the pan looks dry (expect to add 1/2 cup about every 15 minutes). Stew until the rabbit is almost tender, about 1 hour.

6. Flip the rabbit pieces over and add the olives. Continue adding broth a little at a time and simmer until the rabbit is fully
tender, about 15 minutes more (if the meat pulls easily from the leg bone, the rabbit is done). Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 5 more minutes to allow the seasoning to penetrate. Serve warm in shallow bowls.

Save the Date: Game Dinner at Daniel

For more information, and to buy tickets, email Julia Murphy.

 jmurphy@danielnyc.com

Super Easy Thanksgiving Canapés!

Here’s one of our go-to recipes for impromptu holiday get-togethers and drop-in guests. Game Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms – yum! These tasty bites only require 3 ingredients and couldn’t be easier (or faster) to make.

game sausage stuffed mushroom bites

You could use any of our Game or Chicken Sausages. Here we used our Wild Boar – but Duck & Armagnac, Venison & Cherry, Rabbit Ginger or Chicken Truffle would work equally well.

plump mushroom caps stuffed with sausage and breadcrumbs

Here’s the recipe to read, download, print or share. Bon appetit!

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