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Posts tagged ‘holiday’

Favorite Side Dishes for Thanksgiving

This week we are offering 15% off holiday essentials – we think of them as the “little helpers” to ease you through this year’s holiday meal and make it extra-special. Things like black truffle butter, duck fat, demi-glace and bacon. Imported French chestnuts and porcini powder bring earthy flavor and umami to recipes like classic stuffing. Speaking of which, maybe your stuffing needs a little foie gras this year. These cubes of flash-frozen foie gras are quite handy at the holidays.

For further inspiration, here are a few of our favorite things to make for the Thanksgiving meal. Just click on the photo for the recipe.

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Countdown to Thanksgiving

With November we welcome Turkey Season!  No need to panic, we’ve got birds of all sizes and styles: organic, heritage, and wild for your Thanksgiving table.

But pre-order soon, because we will sell out! We have limited numbers of birds because we source from family farms with small flocks.

So head to dartagnan.com and bag yourself a bird. Then turn your attention to all the other details. And we know there are many.

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Pre-order turkey for the holidays NOW!

Yes, folks, it’s that time again. Thoughts turn to glistening, roasted birds and an endless array of side dishes. Guest lists and seating arrangements. New recipes and the tried-and-true family traditions.

But it all centers on the bird. Organic, heritage breed, natural and totally wild turkeys are all options at dartagnan.com. And for those who like white meat, we offer organic and natural turkey breast.

Not a fan of turkey? Other festive fare includes capon and goose.

Because we source from small farms, we  have a limited supply of birds every year. Those in the know order early before we start selling out. So head over to our site and get started. You will feel better once you know that your turkey (or goose) can be crossed off the list.

As Tee from Richmond, VA said of her D’Artagnan organic turkey last year:

“This was the best turkey I have ever cooked or eaten. The breast was very large and the turkey was so juicy! Just oven roasted. Nothing extra special in my preparation of the turkey – it’s just THAT good.”

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Happy Rosh Hashanah

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Bonne Année! Happy New Year!

Wishing you a happy new year filling with delicious adventures – both sweet and savory.

Here are some some vintage New Year’s greetings from the turn of the last century for you to enjoy. Our penchant for all things French will be obvious, but there are several interesting cards in English as well. We were delighted to find so many images of lucky pigs – yes, it turns out they are more than just tasty!  There were so many ways to express your best wishes during the golden age of the postcard.

The postcard was the text message of the early 20th century. To give you a sense of how prevalent it was, in 1907 over 577 million postcards were mailed, at a time when the US population was only 88 million. And the postal service delivered mail to homes several times a day!  Often a postcard arriving in the morning would confirm the arrival time of a train that very evening.

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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 …

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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.

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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!

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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Ariane Talks Turkey on TV

Ariane appeared on ABC 7 Eyewitness News yesterday to share her tips for making the perfect turkey this Thanksgiving.  If you missed it, you can watch the video  and get Ariane’s recipes here. For more turkey recipes, go to our website.

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Ariane preps for the cameras.

Ariane brought three different types of turkeys — wild, heritage and organic — to the studio. Each offers something different for your Thanksgiving feast. Learn more about our birds here.

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Michelle Charlesworth asks Ariane about the different turkeys available at dartagnan.com.

With a whole Thanksgiving meal (and wine!) set up in the studio, no one went hungry.

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Ariane force feeds the team. L-R Amy Freeze, Ariane, Michelle Charlesworth, Alisha from D’Artagnan and Phil Lipof.