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Posts tagged ‘holidays’

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.  

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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!

Duck Fat 50: Potato Pancakes AKA Latkes with Foie Gras

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?

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INGREDIENTS

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

PREPARATION

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.

D’Artagnan Thanksgiving Survival Guide: Day 14

Here is an easy, straightforward method good for oven roasting a perfect capon for the holidays, or anytime you want to serve this fabulous bird. The method works for birds whether or not stuffed with dressing. Truss the capon first, as it will make turning the bird easier and help prevent the skin from tearing at the joints in the process. It is also a good method for roasting other large chickens.

The Holiday Capon Part 2

 

Two Stage Roasting

Roasting begins on the lower middle oven rack in a preheated 450°F oven, then 30 minutes into the roasting the heat is reduced to 350°F for the remainder of the cooking time. This jump-starts the browning process and sears the meat, sealing in precious juices. As mentioned, you turn the bird a few times in the process, and baste every 10 or 15 minutes. Rub the capon with our pure, renderedduck fat, lightly softened before gently ‘massaging’ it into the skin. Season the capon with a good salt and freshly ground pepper before putting it in the oven, and baste with melted duck fat until the bird creates enough of its own pan juices for basting.

If you are using an x-shaped rack, you can start the bird breast down for about 15 minutes. Then turn the bird on one side for 20 minutes, then onto its other side for 20 minutes. After that, turn the bird breast up and finish roasting. You can easily coordinate this with your basting. If you use a flat rack, forget about starting breast down, and instead start roasting on one side, then turn onto the other, giving each side an extra five minutes, and finish roasting breast up.

For a 7- pound capon, this should take about 1-1/2 hours. Use a quick read meat thermometer to test the internal temperature for doneness. Transfer it Read more

D’Artagnan Thanksgiving Survival Guide: Day 13

Trussing is a means of binding a bird before cooking, to hold the wings and legs close to the body. This gives the bird a compact shape, often enhancing the symmetry in the process; and making for more even cooking, a beautiful presentation, and simplified carving. Some recipes call for turning a bird during roasting which is also much easier when trussed, and it will help prevent tearing the skin at the joints in the process. Of course, a full trussing will also help to hold in the dressing when a bird is stuffed.

Trussing Basics

 


No matter what method you choose, it is always a good idea to truss a bird – pure and simple. The only real exception would be if you plan to butterfly or spatchcock it before cooking. Untrussed legs on a whole bird may gape away from the body or even fall off, while the drumstick and wings stick up and dry out… Need we say more?

What’s Good for the Goose… 
As with many cooking techniques, there are several types and styles of trussing, some suited to particular types of fowl. Since turkeyscapons and chickens share similar physical attributes, the same types of trussing and roasting methods will do for all of them. Geese and ducks on the other hand, have a narrower body and thicker skin with an abundance of good fat, which requires different trussing and roasting altogether. Smaller birds the likes of game hens and squabs need trussing only enough to bind the legs.

First Things First 
Regardless of the technique you choose, a few things need doing beforehand. First, remove the neck and gizzards and reserve for making stock or perhaps as ingredients for your stuffing. Next, take a good look at the shape of the bird. Trussing will give you an opportunity to slightly cinch up the Read more

D’Artagnan Thanksgiving Survival Guide: Day 12

If you are considering an intimate holiday for two, or even a dinner party of six, and in a quandary about the practicality of a full on turkey versus stuffed chicken to stand-in for a celebrity bird, there is no need to fret any further, because we have the perfect solution. Forget about those two this holiday, and do something truly special and better scaled to your needs, by oven roasting a capon.

The Holiday Capon (Part 1)

 

Smaller than a Turkey – Bigger than a Basic Chicken

If you are not familiar with this hefty bird, do not think for a minute that a capon is a compromise you have to make because you are not feeding a small army. Quite the contrary, these extraordinary birds are raised exclusively to be a culinary treat of the highest order. Plump breasted with prized, white flesh wonderfully marbled with fat; capons are destined for greatness and can easily carry any holiday feast. It can be especially gratifying for the cook, as this is not a bird upstaged by any dressing or side dish. When you are lucky enough to have the pleasure of eating an oven-roasted capon, you will find the meat distinctively flavorful, lusciously rich and moist, and tender beyond belief. So much so, that this could be the start of a new tradition. At the very least, you will not want to wait another whole year before enjoying one again.

The News Just Keeps Getting Better
Another beauty is that there is no elaborate recipe, complex technique, or special handling required. Fill this bird with your favorite dressing, or season the cavity with a good sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and truss it. After, you just rub it with softened, rendered duck fat, salt and pepper the skin and oven roast, similarly to roasting a large chicken. You might even want to try on some new cooking methods to go with your new bird. In the Gascon countryside, capons are the traditional Sunday Chicken cooked as Poule au pot – slowly poached in a pot of vegetables and rich stock, and stuffed with a delicious soft dressing. Here are links to two of our favorite capon recipes.

Capon Poule au Pot with Foie Gras Stuffing
Truffled Capon with Wild Mushrooms

The Well Trussed Capon
When roasting a capon for your holiday meal, truss it much the same as you would a turkey or a chicken. Remove the wishbone, and bind the bird so that its drumsticks rest nicely in place against the tip of the breastbone, with the wing tips folded back neatly beneath the shoulders. It will make for a beautiful shape, cook more evenly and be easier to carve. This is especially brilliant because capons are the perfect bird to carve at the table. Large enough to be grand, they make for an impressive entrance, yet they are small enough to manage easily. Use the links below to learn how to quick roast the perfect capon, and remove the wishbone before trussing.

D’Artagnan Thanksgiving Survival Guide: Day 11

In our third installment of Talking Turkey with Ariane, she’s sharing her favorite recipes for impressive yet easy Thanksgiving side dishes, like creamy and rich truffle mashed potatoes, Wild Boar and Apple Stuffing and Harvest Bisque Soup with Smoked Duck Breast.

D’Artagnan Thanksgiving Survival Guide: Day 10

If have the good fortune of a temperate climate, or are intrepid and adventurous enough to brave the elements, grilling can be a much more than just a novel way to prepare your holiday bird. Grilling aficionados will tell you “Where there’s smoke, there’s flavor!” and grilling one of our organic free-range turkeys or all natural turkey breasts is no exception.

Grilling Your Holiday Turkey

 

You can use the rack to roast a butterflied turkey, flattened halves or a breast; and a kettle barbeque will allow you to use a roasting pan to cook a traditionally intact bird. Add the science of seasoned brines, and a myriad of marinades, spice rubs, and BBQ sauces to the mix, and you may never throw a bird in the oven again. These wonderful preparatory techniques enhance the succulence of your bird, with a spectrum of flavor bases that run from the sublime to the wow. Remember too, one huge bonus is that grilling will also free up precious oven space.

Get to Play with Fire
There are a few considerations before grilling a big bird. For instance, it will take more than a humble pair of tongs to flip a butterflied turkey, and comparatively speaking summer steaks, plump chicken, and sausages all grill relatively quickly. Even a small turkey calls for a substantially longer Read more

D’Artagnan Thanksgiving Survival Guide: Day 9

If a grand entrance with a bird straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting is not part of your Thanksgiving ritual, you can cut cooking time substantially by butterflying the bird, and giving the roasting a juicy jump-start under the broiler. This is an especially good method if you prefer to bring platters of carved meat to the table, or are setting a buffet.

How to Roast a Butterflied Turkey

 


Searing for Juicy Goodness
This method of roasting uses the high broiler heat to sear and brown the skin, sealing in the meat’s juices. You start by laying out the butterflied bird, skin side down in a shallow roasting pan, basting it generously with melted, rendered duck fat, and then position the bird so the meat is 7 or 8 inches from the preheated element.

Broiling uses intense heat, so if your oven has only one broiler setting that temperature is likely a whopping 550°F. If you can thermostatically control your broiler, set the temperature between 350°F and 400°F. You want a slower searing than is usually gotten by broiling, say about 16 to 18 minutes or so on the first side, so adjust the broiler heat accordingly. In either case, watch the bird carefully, and baste frequently during this process.

Once the meat has browned nicely, take it out of the oven to season with a good salt, and turn the Read more

Holiday Workhorse: Black Truffle Butter

Black… truffle… butter. The words alone have the power to induce salivation. And while black truffle butter is a year-round kitchen staple, it’s versatility is especially appreciated during the holidays. From passed hors d’oeuvres to plated appetizers and all the way through the main event – truffle butter plays an essential role in our Thanksgiving feast. In this holiday video, Ariane demonstrates how to slide disks of the earthy, creamy concoction under the skin of a turkey before roasting for an out-of-this-world delicious bird.