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A Saucy Conversation with Deana

“Sauces are the splendor and the glory of French cooking” ~ Julia Child

March is National Sauce Month. And so … let’s talk about sauces!!

We will glory in any sauce. Sriracha. Marinara. Fra Diavolo. Bechamel. Bourbon barbecue sauce. Tartar. Chimichurri. Mole. We believe there should be sauce on everything. But when it comes to sauces, the mother lode is in French cuisine.

To round out our Saucy Series we will post one sauce a week during National Sauce Month.  So come along for the ride!

Our saucier for this project is blogger and historic food explorer Deana Sidney, who can generally be found at her blog Lost Past Remembered.

Before we get started, we thought it was time to introduce you to Deana.

Deana

Deana Sidney

Deana, can you tell us how you got started on this food journey? What drew you to ancient recipes in the first place?

I first fell for ancient food in college when I was studying English and Italian literature –– I wanted to taste the past. Instead of learning how to cook with Joy of Cooking like a sane person, I began with Forme of Cury, a 15th century English cookbook. My earliest attempts were ghastly –– slowly but surely I got better, and so did the food. Now I love the exuberant spicing and lavishness. It takes you away to another time.

Sauce Financiere 2

Duck Breast with Sauce Financiére

How long have you been writing your blog at Lost Past Remembered?

I started the blog 4 years ago and have had the best time doing it. I have met so many incredible people; I’m working on book proposals, am getting my first article published and shot the cover of the magazine. I’ve gone to the Oxford Food Symposium for the last few years and hobnobbed with all the food history wizards –– it’s been a gas and terribly liberating. No producers/directors leaning over your shoulder telling you what you can and can’t do!

It’s an incredibly detailed account of your cooking adventures in a day when big pictures and few words seem to be the name of the game. Reading your blog is downright educational – and not just about food. So how do you research your topics?

I basically read everything I can get my hands on. Some posts are more extensively researched than others. I especially enjoy writing about houses, the lives that have been lived in them and how they ate. In a way, it combines my favorite part of production design, food history and decoration. I spend a bit of time in the summer in England and the National Trust has been kind enough to help me visit many of the great English houses. I love their stories. In the end, it’s about telling great stories with great pictures.

osterley counter

A counter in the vast kitchen at Osterley Park, a great estate in England.

Have you had many disappointments in the kitchen? It seems like you introduce a complex recipe and then breezily recommend it as “easier than it looks, I promise you!” Have you had disasters?

Disasters? Oh yes, don’t we all? In the recipes, if I say it’s easier than it looks, it really is. Mostly it’s just the time it takes that seems daunting. Most disasters for me happen when pastry is involved –– not my strong suit– or if I try to rush or lose focus. I’ve been lucky lately though. I try to go through the old recipes methodically and take my time since I often don’t have extra preparations should one fail. Luckily a recent tough crust I made was for me and not for the blog. I have no idea why it failed!

What have you learned in tackling these classic sauce recipes from the French canon?

The biggest thing? There really are just a few basic parts to almost all the great sauces — D’Artagnan’s fabulous demi-glace shows up in most of them. If you have frozen demi-glace and make up a batch of Sauce Espagnole (and keep that in your freezer in small bags) you can make many of the dark sauces in no time at all. One day’s work pays off extravagantly. The cream and egg sauces just need you to take care with the heat and stir them well (and strain if there are clotted bits!). You can have an elegant dinner in no time at all using all the fabulous D’Artagnan birds and meats with the sauces – just like a 4 star French restaurant. Many of them take no time at all –– REALLY!

Which sauce recipe was your favorite?

That is almost impossible. I love the dark richness of Financiére with truffles and Madeira, but also am fond of the cream sauces (I have a great source for cream). Adding the egg to a sauce gives such richness from Hollandaise to Allemande.

Deana Sidney Venison with Chevreuil Sauce

Sauce Chevreuil is a brown sauce made with Espagnole, seen here over venison

What do you do when you’re not cooking? Tell us a little bit about your day job.

My other job is working as a production designer for films, TV and commercials. I specialize in character-driven work and love to construct a person’s environment so the actors feel at home there. It’s great fun, as much psychology as art. I am a sucker for objects that tell stories.

How has your food experience helped in your production design career?

Oh my, I have used it so much on small features (on larger ones I am not allowed to play with food). When I work with food stylists, they have 20 of something to shoot. I have gotten used to making do with much fewer on the blog. Now when I do film food scenes, I use all the tricks I have discovered shooting for the blog. It really is like play. Sadly, because of the lights, I can’t use some ingredients I would if it was for real. They would coagulate and look awful after a few takes. I think canned food is indestructible!

Do you have any memorable food stories from a movie set?

Well, one that’s appropriate is the D’Artagnan dinner I did for Molly’s Theory of Relativity. It was a labor-of-love project of a favorite director of mine. We had a very low budget but getting the D’Artagnan products for the shoot made all the difference – the dinner scene took up a lot of screen time.

Deana Set 2

Set photo from Molly’s Theory of Relativity

I was in a kitchen making duck ragout ravioli, duck breast with cherry sauce and foie gras. Since the scene took all day to film, we warned the actors not to eat too much but they couldn’t help themselves. The duck was so good they kept eating! After 30 takes they were getting rather full! Even a little boy on the set, whose mother said he didn’t eat anything, LOVED duck breast and ate a lot. The only disaster was the poor foie gras. Someone had accidently moved the pan to a burner that was on low so it got overcooked.

Deana Set Photo

Set photo of a young Einstein at the table from Molly’s Theory of Relativity

I did have to use soup and canned cherries to make the sauces so they would stay pretty. We put the duck on the platter and kept replacing the portions the actors were eating.

Deana Set 5

Deana’s movie set duck breast (Molly’s Theory of Relativity)

It has been a pleasure and an inspiration to follow along while Deana worked her way through these classic French sauces. If you want to catch up on her sauce posts, she’s got a category on our blog called Saucy Series. Bon appetit!

Watch, Learn, Cook! A New Video!

The latest video in our “Back of the House with Ariane” series takes on the subject of veal. The great Barbara Lynch, a chef and restaurateur based in Boston, makes a traditional Italian dish of osso buco and Ariane takes the French path with paupiettes de veau.

Link over to the recipes for Barbara Lynch’s Spicy Veal Osso Buco with Cumin Strozzapreti and Ariane’s Paupiettes de Veau on our website.

Incidentally, you can purchase veal there as well. And if you are squeamish about eating veal, there’s no need to be. Learn more about how our farmers raise veal here.

Saucy Series VIII: Bordelaise

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.

Bordelaise Sauce

Sam Ward was one of the great entertainers of the 19th century.  He virtually invented lobbying in Washington.  He had a talent for creating great dinners with perfectly assembled guests who then made deals since they were in a great mood after great food and conversation.

Uncle Sam Ward

When I looked at one of Sam’s dinner menus, I could see what all the fuss was about –– it is everything you would imagine it to be. The menu is thoughtful and yet full of piquant touches like the Sorbet au Marasquin –– a touch of prussic acid from the cherry pits in maraschino liqueur in the sorbet to aid in digestion and cleanse the palate for the last of the dinner. His nephew, another renowned tastemaker named Ward McAllister, said Sam made sure he would never allow that lest “the fatal mistake should occur of letting two white or brown sauces follow each other in succession; or truffles appear twice in that dinner.” It was always a perfectly choreographed dance of flavors –– and conversation. Without both, the event will never be as great a success.

menu 1

What would I chose for the 4th dish from Sam’s dinner table? I think that Crêpes a la Bordelaise are the perfect choice –– a great addition to a beef dinner with steak or roast, potatoes and a vegetable. My crêpes are light and airy with a winey, mushroom-y bordelaise sauce. They could be served flat or as a beggar’s purse. I know they will delight at your dinner. I have made a white wine bordelaise before for you HERE, but this calls for the red wine version.

Bordelaise is another addition to my Sauce Series that uses both the mother sauce Espagnole and demi-glace. I have included recipes for both but it’s a breeze to order your demi-glace from D’Artagnan and store it in the freezer. I just slice off what I need and put the rest back in the freezer. Bordelaise is great for any steak. You can make it ahead and freeze it easily so you can make your meal in a snap.

Menu 3

Delmonico’s Chef Filippini Recipe from Sam Ward’s Era

Menu 2

Delmonico’s Chef Ranhoffer’s Recipe from Sam Ward’s era

If you are so disposed, you can dissolve a spoon of marrow into the mix, as was done long ago. I skipped that step and let the meatiness of the mushrooms add additional flavor and depth. It’s really pretty easy to make if you have the basics in your freezer.

Crêpes Bordelaise for 4

1 recipe for crêpes
1 recipe for bordelaise
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 T butter

Sauté the mushrooms in the butter. Add the mushrooms to the bordelaise. Fold your crêpes into quarters on your plate and ladle the sauce over them or serve the sauce on the side. They can be plated separately or served on a platter.

Crêpes (makes 12)

3/4 c milk
2 eggs
1/2 c flour
1/4 t salt
butter for pan

Throw the milk, eggs, flour and salt into the blender and let it rip for a minute.

Strain the mixture through a fine sieve.

Use a stick of butter like a marker and run it all over your pan (or you can use a spoon of clarified butter if you have it). Be especially generous for the first few and use butter before each pour of batter. Swirl 2 T of batter around the pan and flip once it has set –– do not allow to brown too much. Keep warm or reheat gently when you are ready to serve.

Bordelaise

2 shallots, chopped fine
2 t oil or butter
1 c red wine
1 clove garlic, chopped
6 T demi-glace from D’Artagnan
3 T Espagnole sauce* (or add a t. of flour to the sautéed shallots with 1 t. of tomato sauce or ketchup and a little more demi-glace)
stems from 4 mushrooms
1/2 bay leaf
pinch of cloves
1 1/2 c mushrooms, sliced
1 T butter or oil

Sauté the shallots in the oil till softened somewhat.

If you are skipping the addition of Espagnole, you can add a teaspoon of flour to the shallots to give the sauce the extra body and add a t. of tomato sauce or ketchup for the right flavor.

Put the wine, garlic, shallots, demi-glace, Espagnole (if you are using it) and stems from mushrooms into a pan and reduce at medium heat until thickened.

Strain the sauce –– you should have about 1/3 cup of sauce about the texture of chocolate syrup –– a bit less if you don’t use the Espagnole. This sauce keeps well for a few days.

*Super-quick version of Espagnole Sauce

1 T butter
1 T flour
1 T bacon
1 T onion
1 T white wine
1 t ketchup
1 cup stock
2 T demi-glace from D’Artagnan

Sauté the flour in the butter till medium brown. Add the rest and cook on low for 20 minutes to 1/2 an hour — till thickened. Keep watch lest it go too far. Strain and use.

•Quick Version of Espagnole Sauce

4 T butter
4 T Flour
3 T diced carrot
3 T diced onion
3 T bacon
2 c stock
1 t thyme
piece of bay leaf
2 T white wine
1/4 c demi-glace from D’Artagnan
2 T tomato sauce

salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the flour and butter till it is a medium brown on a medium flame –– stirring all the time.

Add the vegetables, ham and bacon and stir. Slowly add the stock, wine and demi-glace. Cook over a low flame for 45 minutes and add the tomato sauce. Cook for another 10 minutes and strain, pressing hard on the solids. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Save the rest for other uses. It is an invaluable addition to sauces. Freeze it in small portions. Quickest and easiest is to put it in ice-cube trays in 1 T portions and store them in a baggy in the freezer. Then it’s a breeze to use.

Featured Recipe: Wagyu Shepherd’s Pie

Why not elevate the homey cottage pie with ground Wagyu beef and a truffle butter mashed potato crust? Equal parts comfort food and haute cuisine, this is a pie to savor. Serve with a pint of pale ale or dry stout for a bit of “pub grub” authenticity.

shepherdspie

Ingredients

4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 cups cream (or milk)
5 tablespoons D’Artagnan Black Truffle Butter
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
2 pounds D’Artagnan Kobe-Style Ground Wagyu Beef
1 large onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup peas
1/2 container D’Artagnan Veal Demi-Glace, dissolved with 1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup red wine

 Preparation 

  1. Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water, add 1 tablespoon salt. Heat over medium-high flame until simmering. Cook until a fork slips in and out easily. Drain potatoes then transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until lumps are gone, about 2 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons black truffle butter, mix until blended. Turn mixer down to low speed. Add cream, salt and pepper to taste, and nutmeg. Do not over mix. Cover with foil, set aside.
  2. Heat a large Dutch-oven or other heavy pot over medium-high flame. Add ground Wagyu beef, cook, breaking up meat with a spoon or spatula until evenly browned and no longer pink. Remove meat with a spotted spoon and set aside. Drain off all but about 2 tablespoons of fat.
  3. Place pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and carrot. Cook, stirring up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add beef back to the pot. Add tomato paste, mustard and cocoa powder, stirring well to combine. Stir in peas. Add red wine and demi-glace mixture. Again, stir up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer, turn heat down to low. Maintain simmer until most liquid is evaporated and mixture reaches a thick, saucy consistency, about 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  5. Transfer meat mixture to a large baking dish. Spoon mashed potatoes over the top and evenly smooth over the meat using an off-set spatula. Use a fork to make an attractive swirled pattern on the top of the potatoes. Brush with melted truffle butter. Bake until top is golden brown, about 15 – 20 minutes.

Saucy Series, Part VII: Sauce Béarnaise

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.

Sauce Béarnaise

One of the most ostentatious parties of the 19th century was the Bradley-Martin Ball. It was noted that some the costumes cost more than a worker made in their lives (although Mrs. Martin noted that she arranged the party on short notice, so costumes would be made in New York and not Europe so as to employ out-of-work garment workers). Clergy gave sermons about the excesses causing some guests to bow out.

bradley martin not as many-MENU

The menu was elegant and had Filet de Boeuf Jardinière as one of its show-stopping dishes. It was a huge favorite during the gilded age and meant to impress. Aside from beef and vegetables, it always had a sauce Béarnaise to spoon over the delicious beef.

filet of beef jardiniereengraving copy

Ah Béarnaise sauce –– as part of my sauce series, Béarnaise is one of Escoffier’s mother sauces (that I wrote about HERE). History says the sauce was probably invented by Chef Collinet, for his restaurant Le Pavillon Henri IV (opened in 1836). Henri IV was from Béarn. It is essentially a hollandaise with shallots and tarragon that uses wine vinegar instead of lemon. It is fabulous with both beef and vegetables… if you add a bit of meat glaze to the sauce it becomes Sauce Foyot, very delicious with your beef. It’s also a breeze to make.

Although you can make the whole tenderloin, I decided that I would do little filets in the style and make cabbage cups of Béarnaise with the vegetables strewn about under the sauce. You can do an old style garnish if you wish ––cauliflower encased in gelée. It’s fun and delicious.

It doesn’t get better than this. Honestly, it can be ready in ½ an hour (if you don’t get fancy with the gelée).

19th century beef was much leaner than ours, so had to be larded. Not a problem today. I used D’Artagnan’s pasture-raised filet mignon –– a magnificent piece of meat. It has a buttery, cut-with-a-spoon texture and rich, deep flavor. Party like a plutocrat, you won’t be disappointed.

DSC_1165x

Filet Mignon a la Jardiniére

serves 4

4 D’Artagnan’s pasture-raised filet mignon (6-8 oz each)
salt and course ground pepper to taste
2 T butter (or a bit of lard or bacon fat for the flavor of the original larding)
4 T demi-glace
4 t madeira
1 c cooked peas
1 c cooked green beans
2 cooked carrots, sliced into thin sticks
1 cup cooked cauliflower (plus another cup if you want to make the gelée)
4 small cooked onions
4 – 8 leaves of cooked cabbage cut to make small cups
*cauliflower in gelée garnish (optional)

DSC_1095

After cooking them, keep the vegetables warm.

Put the butter (or lard) in a hot pan (preferably cast iron). Salt and pepper the meat. Brown on top and bottom and on the sides, if the meat is very thick. It will be rare when you are done with this. Cook a few minutes longer if you want it medium-rare. Tent and let rest for 5 minutes. Warm the demi-glace and madeira and pour over the meat.

Place the vegetables on the plate and put the cabbage leaf like a cup. Add some Béarnaise to the cup, place the cauliflower gelée and the meat.

Béarnaise Sauce

8 T butter
2 egg yolks
1 shallot, minced
pinch of nutmeg
1 – 2 t chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 c white wine vinegar (tarragon vinegar if you have it) plus 1-2 T
salt and pepper

Put the shallots in a heavy pan if you have it with 1/4 c vinegar and a pinch of pepper and reduce till nearly dry. Let cool.

Add the egg yolks, stirring to blend and put on low heat. Add a few tablespoons of butter and stir to dissolve, removing from the heat from time to time and continue adding butter till all of it is used up. Never let it get too hot or it will separate. Just enough to melt the butter. Add the remaining vinegar to taste and salt and pepper and the chopped tarragon.

You can add a bit of the meat glaze from the beef when you have finished cooking it if you would like. Keep warm. If you need to reheat it, do it gently, it will separate if it gets too hot.

Gelée

3 cups stock
3 envelopes gelatin
2 egg whites and shells, crushed
3 T tomato, chopped
dark green top of 1 leek, chopped
1 sprigs parsley
1/3 c chopped celery leaves
a few slices of carrot
salt and pepper to taste

Put 1 cup of stock in a pot. Add 3 envelopes of gelatin to the stock and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in the rest of the solids and egg whites and shells and add the stock. Bring to a heavy boil then immediately turn down to a low simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and pour through double thickness of WET cheesecloth… DO NOT PRESS ON SOLIDS!!!! Let it drip slowly and you will have perfectly clear, golden stock. You can make it before you need it and refrigerate, just warm it to return it to a liquid state. It freezes beautifully

Put thin slices of cooked cauliflower in a dish of choice and pour the warm gelée over it. refrigerate and serve as a garnish. It is very forgiving. If you don’t like the way it looks in the gelée, just warm and start over.

Tournedos Rossini, A Legendary Recipe

The origins of this dish can be traced back to the relationship between legendary chef Marie-Antoine Carême and the composer Rossini, a known gourmand. Evidently Rossini insisted on the dish being prepared tableside so he could micromanage its creation, and when the chef objected to the interference, Rossini said, “So, turn your back.”  Whether that is true or not, this recipe bears his name, and it is as decadent, rich and satisfying today as it was when Rossini demanded it his way. Though it’s fairly easy to make, the ingredients are luxurious enough to make this a special-occasion meal. tournedos rossini1 INGREDIENTS

 PREPARATION 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter 2 large ramekins. Cover the bottom of each ramekin with potato slices, brush with softened truffle butter and add another layer of potato. Repeat until all potatoes are used. Weigh down each potato cake with a smaller ramekin, then bake in the oven until edges are crisp and the center is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Using an offset spatula, remove potato cakes to paper toweling. 2. In a small bowl, combine the demi-glace, truffle juice and chopped truffles, set aside. 3. Season filets with salt & pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat. Melt the duck fat in a large skillet over medium-high flame. Sear the filets until desired doneness, about 5 minutes each side for medium-rare. Remove to a cutting board to rest, tent with foil to keep warm. 4. Discard all fat from the skillet. While the pan is still hot, add the Madeira, scraping up all the beefy bits on the bottom. Add the demi-glace mixture, cook until reduced, then remove from heat and stir in the truffle butter. Taste for seasoning and add salt & pepper, if necessary. Keep warm. 5. Heat a small, dry skillet over high flame. When hot, sear the foie gras slices until golden brown, about 60 seconds on each side. Remove to paper toweling. 6. On each of two plates, place the potato cake in the center and top with the filet mignon then foie gras. Spoon the sauce over and around. Top with freshly shaved truffle.  

Roast Gala Goose Recipe

Forget your fear of flabby, greasy goose! This do-ahead method produces a succulent, flavorful bird with crispy skin. After poaching, only a half-hour of high-heat roasting is needed before serving.  It’s a classic and perfect centerpiece for a Christmas meal and should serve six.

Recipe_Gala_Goose_HomeMedium

Ingredients

One 9 to 11lb goose
3 tablespoons rendered goose fat
1½ cups each coarsely chopped carrots, onions, and celery
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups dry white wine
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
Peelings from 1 green apple (optional)
6 cloves
1 large bay leaf
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, soaked, cleaned, and coarsely chopped, liquid strained and reserved
½ cup dried cherries
2 tablespoons Armagnac
1 tablespoon red currant jelly
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Remove giblets and neck from cavity, pull off any loose fat, and cut off first 2 wing joints, if still attached, and reserve. Wash goose, tie legs together, pick bird all over, and set aside.
  2. Put goose fat in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, and render about 3 tablespoons of fat. Remove and discard remaining fat (or use later). Add giblets, wing pieces, neck, and vegetables to pan. Sauté until vegetables are browned, about 7 to 8 minutes, turning frequently. Sprinkle on flour, adjust heat to medium, and continue cooking until flour is lightly browned, 6 to 7 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Pour chicken stock and white wine into a covered roasting dish large enough to hold the goose, and bring to a boil. Add goose, breast side down, pieces of browned goose, and vegetables, parsley, apple peelings, cloves, and bay leaf. Pour in enough water to cover goose by about two-thirds, and bring to a simmer. Whisk a cup of this liquid into the sauté pan, then scrape the thickened liquid back into the roasting pan.
  4. Cover pan and cook very gently, regulating heat, if necessary, to keep it just simmering.
  5. After an hour, turn goose over, being careful not to break the skin. (A pair of rubber gloves is an easy way to do this.) Poach goose a total of 2 to 3 hours, or until meat is tender when pierced with a fork. Turn off heat and finish immediately, later in the day, or the next day.
  6. Recipe may be done ahead to this point.
  7. To finish immediately, preheat oven to 450° F.
  8. Remove goose from liquid, drain, and place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast until skin is brown and crispy, about 30 minutes. Take out of oven, and allow to stand for about 5 to 20 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, skim grease from pan liquid and strain to remove pieces of goose, vegetables, and seasonings. Discard pieces of goose and seasonings. Purée vegetables in a blender or food processor, and add back to pan. Boil quickly to reduce liquid by about half.
  10. Add porcini and soaking liquid, cherries, Armagnac, and red currant jelly. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and keep warm until needed.
  11. To finish later or the next day, cover pan and set in refrigerator. When ready, remove layer of fat from liquid. Lift out goose and bring liquid to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, then reheat goose in stock for about 10 minutes while preheating oven. Proceed with recipe as above.

Saucy Series Part V: Sauce Robert

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.

Sauce Robert

Sauce Robert is one of the ancient sauces. Mentioned in literature and dating from at least the 15th century, it remained popular right through to the 19th century (although you can still buy bottled Sauce Robert, it is nothing like the original).

VARENNE-Portrait-nw

La Varenne

The sauce is used brilliantly in the 17th century by the legendary cook La Varenne in a dish made with pork (you can read more about the history HERE.) This is no surprise since the sweet and sour oniony mustard sauce is a perfect accompaniment to pork.

Although the original was made with the whole loin, I decided that I would use D’Artagnan’s tenderloin for this recipe since I love the texture. Also, D’Artagnan’s Berkshire Pork has such a full flavor, unlike any supermarket tenderloin you are used to. It’s great pork, and the careful way it was raised can be tasted. Since it cooks quickly, a meal fit for a king can be ready in no time. Cooking the onions slowly is the longest step.

sauce robert 3

Pork Tenderloin with Sauce Robert, serves 4

2 pork tenderloins
1 T lard or butter
1 large onion chopped
2 T butter
½ t salt and ½ t pepper*
pinch ground cloves
¾ c verjuice ** + ¼ c white wine vinegar OR ½ c white wine and ½ c white wine vinegar
2 small bunches sage leaves
½ c demi-glace
2 T grainy mustard

1. Heat the butter in a skillet and add the onions and one of the sage bunches. Cook at low heat for about ½ an hour till soft and sweet, stirring regularly.

2. Preheat oven to 425º.

3. Put the lard or butter in the heated pan, salt and pepper the tenderloins, put in the skillet and brown the meat over high heat for a minute or two on each side. Put them in the oven for 10 -15 minutes or until the internal temperature is 145º. Remove from the oven and tent while you finish the sauce.

4. Remove the sage, add the verjuice and vinegar and begin reducing over medium-low heat. Add the demi-glace and stir till you have a thick sauce. Pour any juices from the pan (after removing excess fat) and pour any accumulated juices from the plate into the sauce. Add the salt and pepper and cloves.

5. Taste for seasoning and then add the mustard. Serve with the sliced tenderloin garnished with the rest of the sage.

*originally long peppers and grains of paradise would be used…they are great so use them if you can get them.

** verjuice is vinegar-like but milder and absolutely delicious –– refrigerate after opening

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?).

Thanksgivukkah-2

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: The Duck Fat Doughnut

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.

17 Donuts on the Rack

Savory Duck Fat Doughnuts from Gourmet, August 2009

Recipe: Ian Knauer

INGREDIENTS

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

EQUIPMENTa 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.

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