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Posts tagged ‘recipes’

Turkey Breast Recipes

The question of whether you prefer white or dark meat is a crucial one at Thanksgiving. But how can one turkey yield enough of the preferred meat for each diner? The simple answer is to augment the whole roasted turkey with a turkey breast.  And the overwhelming majority of people prefer the pale, juicy meat of the breast (don’t look at us! We like it dark).  You can roast the breast whole, or debone it, stuff and then roast it. Here are three tempting recipes that work for Thanksgiving, but are also perfect for any meal.

Simple Roasted Turkey Breast

Here’s a basic technique for roasting a bone-in turkey breast, which is great for smaller holiday gatherings or even a sunday roast. Add your favorite herbs and spices as you wish.

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INGREDIENTS

4-6lb bone-in turkey breast
2 tablespoons duck fat, softened
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water, if needed

PREPARATION

1. With the rack in the center position, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Fit a small roasting pan with a V-shaped rack.

2. Rub softened duck fat (or olive oil) over turkey breast, and season with salt and pepper. Center turkey breast on rack, skin side up. Transfer to oven, and roast until juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer reads 160 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the breast, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. (If at any point the butter/juices in the pan start to burn, add about ½ cup water to the pan.)

3. Transfer to a platter, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Turkey Roulade with Black Truffle Butter

This simple turkey breast roulade not only makes a fabulous holiday centerpiece, it makes versatile leftovers too!

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INGREDIENTS

4-6lb bone-in turkey breast
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
3oz. container black truffle butter, softened
½ cup water, if needed

PREPARATION

1. With the rack in the center position, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Using a sharp boning knife, place knife close to bone and carefully remove breast from bone, keeping breast meat connected. Place deboned breast skin-side down on work surface. If necessary, carefully pound breast between plastic, keeping skin intact, to make even. Season with salt and pepper then spread evenly with truffle butter.

3. Fold left and right sides in toward center and roll evenly until both sides meet. Turn rolled breast so skin side is facing up and adjust shape as necessary. Using kitchen twine, tie at 2-inch intervals. Transfer to a roasting pan and season the outside with salt and pepper.

4. Transfer roasting pan to oven and cook for 30 minutes. Decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour more. (If at any point the butter/juices in the pan start to burn, add about ½ cup water to the pan.) Remove turkey from oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Turkey Breast with Mushroom Stuffing

This simple turkey breast roulade is packed with earthy flavor from mushroom duxelles and sauteed leeks. Delicious.

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INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons black truffle butter
1 medium shallot, chopped
1 pound organic chef’s mix mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons water
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small leek, cleaned, trimmed, and finely chopped
1 teaspoon sherry-wine vinegar
6-8lb organic turkey breast
½ cup unsalted butter, melted

PREPARATION

1. Heat truffle butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add 2 tablespoon water; season with salt and pepper and cook until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes more.

2. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of a food processor; pulse 2 to 3 times to coarsely chop. Set chopped mushroom mixture aside. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil to skillet and heat over high heat. Add leek and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring until leek is tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add chopped mushroom mixture to skillet and stir to combine. Remove from heat and add vinegar; stir to combine. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature before using. (This can be done up to 1 day ahead!

3. With the rack in the center position, preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

4. Using a sharp boning knife, place knife close to bone and carefully remove breast from bone, keeping breast meat connected. Place deboned breast skin-side down on work surface. If necessary, carefully pound breast between plastic, keeping skin intact, to make even. Season with salt and pepper then spread evenly with mushroom stuffing, leaving a half-inch border on all sides. Don’t mound the stuffing or the turkey will be difficult to roll. Starting at 1 end, roll the turkey like a jelly roll and tuck in any stuffing that tries to escape on the sides. Carefully turn roulade skin side up and reshape if necessary. Tie the roast firmly with kitchen twine every 2 inches to make a compact cylinder.

5. Place roulade on a rack over a sheet pan. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and roast for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer registers 150 degrees F in the center. Remove turkey from oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let stand, loosely tented with foil, at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Turkey Breast Roulade with Brioche & Sausage Stuffing

This recipe is great for smaller holiday gatherings. Once you master the roulade technique, you can use any of your favorite stuffings, but we love this one which contains both salty and sweet bites.

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INGREDIENTS

7-10 lb organic turkey breast, deboned & butterflied
Coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 cups stale brioche cube
1 package duck & Armagnac sausage
12 pitted prunes, diced
1 small stalk celery, diced
½ medium carrot diced
1 two-inch section of leek, sliced thin
1 shallot
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
3 leaves fresh sage, chiffonade
4 tbs butter, melted
1 cup chicken stock

PREPARATION

1. Make your stuffing: Remove the duck & Armagnac sausage from its casing and place in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the sausage, breaking up any large chunks as it cooks. Using a slotted spoon, remove to a large bowl and set aside. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the sausage fat from the pan. Place the pan over medium heat. Add celery, carrot, shallot and leek. Cook, scraping up the crispy browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until soft and translucent. Add to the sausage.

2. While the sausage/veggie mixture is still warm, stir in the herbs. Add toasted brioche, mix to combine. Season with salt & pepper. Add melted butter and chicken stock. Using your hands, turn the mixture to combine, squeezing the bread cubes to moisten. Stir in prunes. Set aside.

3. Debone your turkey breast: using a sharp boning knife, carefully run the blade as close to the bones as possible, all around the rib cage and up to the back, to remove. It’s easiest to work on one side at a time. Be mindful to keep the breast intact. Reserve bones for stock. If the breast meat is too thick to roll, butterfly it or carefully pound with a meat mallet to flatten a bit. Keep breast skin side down, season with salt & freshly ground black pepper. Spread stuffing evenly, leaving a half-inch border on all sides. Don’t mound the stuffing or the turkey will be difficult to roll. Starting at 1 end, roll the turkey like a jelly roll and tuck in any stuffing that tries to escape on the sides. Carefully turn roulade skin side up and reshape if necessary. Tie the roast firmly with kitchen twine every 2 inches to make a compact cylinder.

4. Place roulade on a rack over a sheet pan. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and roast for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer registers 150 degrees F in the center. Remove turkey from oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let stand, loosely tented with foil, at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Happy Halloween!

halloween 2013

Yes, that is Vincent Price in the kitchen. Known as a true gourmand, a wonderful host, and an expert on wines, Price was also a world traveler. He and his wife Mary collected recipes from the chefs they met at restaurants, and together they authored quite a few cookbooks. Several can be seen below, and are now out of print and considered collectible. If you find one at a flea market, snatch it up.

vincent price cookbooks

And long before there was a channel devoted to cooking, Price made recordings of recipes, such as this one describing roast pork with prunes (“even prune haters will love this!”), and a pickled mushroom preparation. And let’s not forget the wine. In another record, Price talked about gracious entertaining, which must include wine, and thus: Wine is Elegance. Thrill as you hear him draw out the word “riesling.” And naturally, he raves about California wines long before the rest of the country caught on.

These dramatic recordings in his unmistakable voice even inspired this silly mashup on Youtube.

If you feel like seconds, check out this marvelous online exhibit dedicated to the many aspects of Vincent Price. It seems a fitting activity for Halloween.

Four Prunes Day

A message from Ariane

Today is a strange food holiday: Four Prunes Day. I believe it refers to the idea that four prunes a day will keep the doctor away. But I am happy to take the opportunity on this official holiday to share my affection for this little wrinkly fruit with you.

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Sadly, prunes seem to be the punch line to a joke in America, valued only for their fiber, not flavor. But in Gascony, where there are about 3 million plum trees, we know that prunes are special.  Prunes have been part of the gastronomic heritage of Southwest France for centuries.

Originally brought by the Greeks and Romans from China, and planted all through the Mediterranean, the plum holds a special place in the city of Agen, where the famous Prune d’Ente trees produce luscious plums that are well-suited to drying. These are the renowned pruneaux d’Agen, or Agen prunes.

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Vintage postcard of harvest in Agen

These particular plum trees were developed in the 13th century by Benedictine monks who crossed the existing trees with a variety the Crusaders brought home from Syria. The tree survived harsh winters, world wars and triumphed in the 21st century, when it was recognized in 2002 by the EU with the Indication Géographique Protégée.

Sorting prunes

Sorting plums in Agen

Everyone in France knows that Agen is the place for the sweetest, juiciest, plumpest prunes, and a visit there would reveal a myriad of ways to eat prunes.

Agen Prunes

Agen prunes in their natural setting

At D’Artagnan, we have incorporated prunes into several products that reflect the flavors of my area of France: Duck Terrine Mousquetaire, which is a coarse-ground pâté of duck (the livers, too), pork meat, a dash of Armagnac and studded with prunes.

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D’Artagnan Duck Terrine Mousquetaire

And our famous French Kisses, which are prunes that have been marinated in Armagnac and then stuffed with mousse of foie gras. They are the perfect amuse bouche, and are a favorite at parties. I wouldn’t be caught without them on New Year’s Eve.

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D’Artagnan French Kisses

Which reminds me of a fun story. Back in the early days of D’Artagnan, I was invited by Michel Richard to help honor Julia Child on her 80th birthday. He invited many prominent chefs and 500 guests to his Los Angeles restaurant, Citrus, for a feast. With so many meals to prepare, the mise en place (prep work) was being done all over town. I was supposed to work at the hot foie gras station. I had also brought foie gras mousse and pitted prunes soaked in Armagnac with me from New Jersey, so I could make French Kisses.

That morning the kitchen was a mess. Celebrated chefs such as Jean-Louis Palladin, Vincent Guerithault and Thomas Keller were working like maniacs to get their dishes organized. TV reporters and journalists followed them around, asking questions, trying to get a sound bite or quote. Cameras flashed.

I found a little corner to work in the hallway, and started by draining the Armagnac from the soaked prunes into Styrofoam cups, which were the only thing I could find to use. As Laurent Manrique and I piped the mousse into the drained prunes, the smell of foie gras and Armagnac filled the air. Daniel Boulud, standing nearby, got a whiff of the Armagnac-prune juice and took a judicious sip from one of the cups.

Just then the late Pierre Franey came ambling down the hall and asked Daniel what we was drinking. “Coffee,” he said with an obvious wink, and offered the cup to Franey. Without thinking, Franey knocked back a swig of fruity Armagnac, and at 10 A.M. got a true French kiss. And the best part was that the live TV cameras were in tow behind him. So after his first big gulp he tried to hide his surprise, with some difficulty. By the second gulp he got it right and kept a straight face.

Prunes soaked in Armagnac are a common item served in Gascony, and when sipped with some of Franey’s “coffee,” they make a lovely after dinner treat.

And for a truly luxurious dessert, try my father’s recipe for prune and Armagnac ice cream. Are you sensing that prunes and Armagnac were made for each other? It’s common knowledge in Gascony.

Ulterior Epicure Prune Armagnac Ice Cream

Prune and Armagnac Ice Cream, photo via flickr user Ulterior Epicure

Ages ago my father, Chef André Daguin, not only pioneered this now-famous recipe, but also was the first to use liquid nitrogen in his kitchen to make it. This was before anyone heard of molecular gastronomy, of course. Get started on this 2 weeks before you want to eat it, so the prunes can really marinate in the Armagnac.

ANDRE DAGUIN’S VANILLA ICE CREAM WITH PRUNES AND ARMAGNAC

Four to six servings –  Preparation time: 25 minutes  -  Standing time: At least 2 weeks  -  Chilling time: Several hours  -  Freezing time: Varies

16 pitted soft prunes
1 cup Armagnac
1 cup whole milk
1 long vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise, giving four quarters—or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
1/2 to 3/4 cup natural wildflower honey to taste
Pinch of salt
1 cup whipping cream

1. Two weeks or more in advance, place prunes in a large clean jar or crock. Add Armagnac to cover. Cover jar or crock and set aside in a cool place to steep.

2. When ready to make ice cream, measure out 1 cup moderately packed prunes and fill up remainder of cup with Armagnac; set aside. Use remaining prunes for garnish.

3. Scald milk with vanilla bean (but not vanilla extract); set aside. Whisk egg yolks over very low heat in medium, nonreactive saucepan until warm. Continue whisking, adding honey gradually. When all honey is added and honey has begun to dissolve, remove saucepan from heat. Do not boil. Whisk in hot milk and salt.

4. Return saucepan to low heat. Cook and stir until custard is thick enough to coat a spoon heavily, about 170 to 180 degrees on an instant-registering thermometer. Do not boil. Immediately strain mixture into a bowl. Stir in cream and vanilla extract if using.

5. Refrigerate, covered, until very cold. Then beat very vigorously with whisk or electric beaters.

6. Strain custard mixture into an ice cream freezer. Follow manufacturer`s directions for freezing. When ice cream is just beginning to set, drop in prunes one by one (while machine is still in operation) and drizzle in Armagnac. Continue freezing until ice cream is firm.

7. To serve, scoop out ice cream, top with an extra prune, and drizzle some Armagnac over it.

You can cook savory dishes with prunes, too. Roasted with meats like porklamb, rabbit, or game, prunes can offer a bit of sweetness.  A favorite little treat of mine is a prune wrapped in bacon, either duck or pig variety work just fine.

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Stuffed Pork Loin with Prunes and Porcini, recipe at dartagnan.com

Whether  coated in chocolate, stuffed with foie gras or Roquefort cheese, soaked in Armagnac, baked in pies and pastries, or simply eaten out of hand on a cheese board, the prune is a ubiquitous part of life in Agen, and a beloved fruit of Southwest France. So Happy Four Prunes Day!  I hope you will enjoy some prunes today, and if you have a little Armagnac, wash them down with that elixir. You can’t go wrong.

Garlic Confit: A Duck Fat Secret

Whip up a batch of this garlic confit to keep in the refrigerator and add to just about anything.  Ariane loves this trick,  and would tell you it’s one of her little secrets in the kitchen. The super simple, 2-ingredient recipe provides soft, fragrant cloves of garlic, perfect for potatoes, bread, pasta, or pizza. After a little bath in hot duck fat, there’s no garlic bite left, just mellow flavor that will complement many meals. Store garlic cloves in duck fat and they will last quite along while (not that we would know, the stuff seems to vanish all too quickly!).

Ingredients

2 containers duck fat
3 whole heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled

Preparation
Melt the duck fat slowly in a small sauce pot over medium-low heat. Add garlic cloves and turn heat to the lowest possible flame. Cook garlic until the cloves float and are very soft.
Pour the melted duck fat through a fine-mesh strainer to catch the whole cloves. Place the garlic into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and strain the duck fat into the jar through a layer of cheesecloth to catch any burned bits of garlic.

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Cloves of garlic simmering in duck fat.

Cloves cooked.
Checking on the progress of garlic cloves.

Cloves drained in bowl.

Cloves drained in bowl.

Regional American BBQ

Ah, America the beautiful. Mom, apple pie, baseball, purple mountains majesty. There’s much to be culturally proud of, if you’re an American, even though our dear nation is relatively a baby compared to other countries around the globe. And while many of the things we love to eat in these United States have been borrowed from other countries — particularly the hamburger (Germany) and the hot dog (also Germany), and the pizza pie (Naples, Italy) — there is one type of food that everyone will agree is uniquely American: Barbecue.3733778

While the concept of roasting meat over low heat for a long time is as old as history itself, American barbecue evolved, over the years, to become something of its own, independent character. Sure, you can get a spit-roasted lamb in Greece, barbacoa in Mexico, or a whole suckling pig in Spain. But try to get a rack of “fall-off-the-bone” beef ribs smothered in thick, tangy, spicy mustard-based BBQ sauce anywhere else in the world, and you’ll either come away empty-handed or disappointed.

The first thing that anyone should know about barbecue (or “barbeque” or “BBQ” as it’s also often known), is that it is never a verb. One does not “barbecue.” Similarly, a “barbecue” is not an event, nor is it a type of grill. The term “barbecue” means, quite simply, meat. Specifically, it is meat that has been cooked “low and slow” over charcoal or wood. Purists will never allow gas-cooked meat to be considered real “barbecue.” And “vegetarian barbecue”…well, let’s not get silly, shall we? That said, the different types of barbecue to be found in the USA are as varied as its regions and people. Although there are some outliers in Yankee states, most barbecue – and what many feel is the best to be found in America – comes from the southern states.

So, who does what kind of barbecue, and how? Exploring the regional variations is as fascinating as it is delicious. If you happen to live in Texas, the land of the long horn, you’re going to go straight for the beef brisket, sliced and served with a light brown, mustard-based sauce. Famous versions of classic Texas barbecue can be found at places such as Austin’s The Salt Lick, or Kreuz Market in Lockhart, Texas.

But not all barbecue is beef, of course. In the western parts of Kentucky, for example, they use neither beef nor pork to make their barbecue, but rather mutton, which is an older sheep. “Why not use lamb,” you might wonder? Because lamb is soft and tender and wonderful when cooked rare or medium rare. With mutton, because it’s older and has more connective tissue, you need to cook it for a long time to get those tough tissues and fatty muscle to break down, much like you would do with braised meat. In the rest of Kentucky, instead of mutton, you’ll find some wonderful sliced pork butt, from the shoulder of the pig.

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Sweet Sticky Ribs, recipe by Ray Lampe

Then, of course, is the matter of sauce, which is likely the best way to differentiate the regional barbecue styles in the US. In Memphis, Tennessee, you’re definitely going to want to tuck into some dry-rubbed pork or beef ribs, although they can be served dry or dripping with sauce. Tennesseans also like their sauce nice and smoky, whereas in Georgia, you can have your barbecue either sweet or spicy. Similarly, BBQ enthusiasts in Arkansas enjoy a kind of grab bag of different meats and sauces, although many prefer it to be spicy, as do most of those who love to dig into barbecue in Louisiana. If you happen to be in the midwest, you’re best off if you love your meat covered in lots of sauce, because that’s how you’ll get the best barbecue in places like Kansas City and St. Louis.

Vinegar is also an important factor in barbecue; sauces made from vinegar as the base are popular in North Carolina, home of the “pig pickin,” and in Mississippi, where they love their meat nice and vinegary. But perhaps the two most interesting types of BBQ sauce can be found in South Carolina, where you’ll discover a yellow sauce made from mustard, and Alabama, where, believe it or not, the barbecue sauce is white, derived from a mayonnaise base. Note, if you’re going to try to replicate this kind of sauce and have a good recipe, make sure to mop it on your barbecue only after it’s off the grill, since the mayonnaise will separate if it gets too hot, and no one wants that.

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Babyback Ribs with Coffee Barbecue Sauce, recipe by Susan Spungen

Whichever barbecue you enjoy best, always make sure you get your meat from a trusted source, and make sure to keep those coals from getting too hot. And, at the end of a long day cooking barbecue, you’ll be rewarded not only with some of the best meat found on the planet earth, but that also carries that wonderful, indispensable trademark: Made in the U.S.A.

Happy National Filet Mignon Day

Yes, that’s a thing. And August 13 is the day to celebrate the tenderest cut of beef.

Filet Mignon DaySliced from the short end of the tenderloin, this succulent little morsel of beef (filet mignon means “dainty filet” in French) is often the most expensive on restaurant menus.  This cut is commonly used in the classic recipe Steak Tartare, where the buttery texture and delicate flavor of the beef is at its best. With our simple recipes you can enjoy it at home.

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Steak Tartare recipe by Lobel Brothers can be found at dartagnan.com

Another recipe from the old guard is Tournedos Rossini, in which ample amounts of truffle shavings augment the exquisite nature of filet mignon. The slice of seared foie gras doesn’t hurt either. Marie-Antoine Carême is credited with creating this decadent dish for (and under insistent direction of) the composer Rossini, who was one of the great gastronomes in history.

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Tournedos Rossini recipe at dartagnan.com

If you can find a way to enjoy a filet mignon today, go for it. If that’s not an option, just celebrate with these photos and make a note for next August 13. It’s a great excuse for a little party.

Coffee Rubbed Pork Chops

Ray Lampe may be better known to the world as Dr. BBQ, and with good reason. He turned his outdoor cooking hobby into career, authored five books on the subject, and has been on TV many times to share his techniques. Check out his other recipes on our website, and heat up the grill.

This is a simple recipe that works on the grill or in a pan stove top, though it will lose some of the magical smoky quality. It starts with a spice rub, the foundation for all good things.  Bitter ground coffee, paprika and salt help create a charred crust for meaty, bone-in Berkshire pork chops. If you haven’t rubbed coffee on meat before, you will be amazed at the added depth of flavor. It will work on ribs, steaks, chops, you name it.

Recipe by Ray Lampe, Coffee Rubbed Pork Chops

Recipe by Ray Lampe, Coffee Rubbed Pork Chops

Ingredients

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon coffee, finely ground

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

½ teaspoon lemon pepper

6 Berkshire Pork Milanese Chops 

Preparation 

1. To make the rub, combine the salt, coffee, paprika, granulated garlic and lemon pepper in a small bowl. Mix well.

2. Season the pork chops evenly on both sides with the rub.

3. Prepare the grill for cooking over direct medium-high heat.

4. Place the chops directly on the cooking grate. Cook for 5 minutes. Flip and cook another 5 minutes for slightly pink and juicy, or to your desired degree of doneness.

5. Remove to a platter and let rest for 4 minutes.

Happy Summer Solstice

Today is June 21: the summer solstice. And it would be fair to say that we will find any excuse to gather and celebrate with food. But the summer solstice is more than just an excuse to party; it’s a party with long-standing traditions.ss

Since pagan times, the people in the Northern Hemisphere have marked the longest day of the year in all kinds of ways. Generally speaking, the solstice (actually known as midsummer, if you recall your Shakespeare) was a time for great merriment, and festivals that involved heavy drinking and eating of seasonal foods. Throw in a bonfire, a fertility ritual or two, wreaths of oak leaves, flowers and herbs, and you have yourself a fantastic holiday, pre-Christian style.

Even our modern ideas about marrying in June can be traced back to these ancient festivals, when the sun seemed to smile down and bless everything.

So while you may not dance around a maypole, spend the day at Stonehenge, the whole night at a street festival, or weave flowers into your hair, there are ways you can celebrate the longest day of the year, and the official start of summer.

In lieu of a bonfire, just fire up the grill; cook and eat  under the stars. Use fragrant fresh herbs and toss some on the grill or in the fire. The summer solstice is a time to commune with nature, so a garden party, or any al fresco dining, is right and proper.

You can eat seasonal fruits, especially those that are red, orange or yellow, to pay homage to the sun. This recipe for Seared Pekin Duck Breast with Orange-Cassis Sauce from the Bromberg Brothers would be a lovely and colorful way to pay tribute.

June is when the best honey is harvested, so honey-glazed pork chops, mead (honey wine), beer or liquor infused with honey, or honey cakes would all work at a solstice party. Even without honey, our orb-shaped Truffle Butter Gourgeres, baked until golden, are welcome at any party. Might have something to do with the truffles.

D'Artagnan Truffle Butter Gougeres

D’Artagnan Truffle Butter Gougeres

Looking for summery greens?  This Smoked Duck & Cherry Salad from Alison Attenborough has both red  fruit and a smoky flavor unrelated to a bonfire. And it doesn’t even require cooking, only chopping and whisking.

And this Bacon, Eggs & Asparagus Salad recipe, from cookbook author and cookie authority Dorie Greenspan, has both seasonal asparagus and lovely soft-boiled eggs that might just remind you of the glowing, golden sun.

Dorie Greenspan's Bacon, Eggs and Asparagus Salad

Dorie Greenspan’s Bacon, Eggs and Asparagus Salad

However you celebrate the solstice, may you have a long and joyful day.

A Saucy Series, Part II: Sauce Madame

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 Madame

As part of my series on sauces, this goes to the top of the pack as an ancient ancestor of European sauces. Even ketchup owes a debt to this sauce, as does Sauce Espagnole.

This recipe for Sauce Madame is over 600 years old, and comes from the oldest cookbook in England – actually, it wasn’t even a book, it was a long scroll that a household scribe kept in the kitchen of Richard II that has come to be known as the Forme of Cury (cury comes from the French, Querie – the business of a cook –– not the spice). If you would like more of the history, visit my blog for the rest of the story.

Sauce Madame 2

Sauce Madame meets Rohan duck

The recipe is richly flavored, full of fruit and enriched with breadcrumbs and not flour, as was the style from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance. The texture is smooth and elegant. I include a recipe for the sauce without galyntyne, if you want to skip the bread addition –– it was made that way as well.

Normally made with goose, I decided to use one of D’Artagnan’s Rohan ducks and the result is delicious. You could also make the stuffing separately (in a covered casserole with a tablespoon of duck fat and 1 cup of demi-glace cooked for ½ hour to 45 minutes till fruit is tender) and use it with duck breast or legs and thighs…it would be good with chicken as well. The sauce keeps well and you can make the poudre douce and galyntyne ahead of time. I froze some of the galyntyne to use later and it worked beautifully.

Duck in Sauce Madame (original recipe, with measurements interpreted)

1 duck (a Rohan duck ) 5 ½ to 6 pounds
2 T salt
3 c cored, peeled and roughly chopped pears and quinces or tart apples (if you use quince, chop small or steam for a few minutes to soften). I only had pureed quince that I had put up this year so added ½ a cup of that and ½ an apple for texture.
2 c grapes
5 cloves peeled garlic, cut in slices
branch of sage
1 c chopped parsley
2-3 sprigs fresh hyssop or thyme (or 2 t dry)
2-3 sprigs fresh savory (or 2 t dry)
½ to ¾ c juices from duck with some of the fat –– if there’s not enough add demi-glace
¼ c galyntyne (recipe below)
½ c red wine
2 t powdered or grated galingal to your taste (available in the Thai section of your market) or use powdered ginger
3 t poudre douce (recipe below) or to your taste

Preheat oven to 375º

Rub duck with salt inside and out.

Combine fruit, garlic and herbs and stuff the duck with it. Truss up the bird so the stuffing doesn’t leak out.

Put ½ an inch of water in a roasting pan and put the duck on a rack, breast side down. Turn the bird after ½ an hour so the breast side is up. Roast about 1½ hours total for a medium bird –– you will be keeping it warm so you don’t need to cook it to death (around 150º when measured at the thigh). Check the bird regularly and turn the pan in the oven every half hour or so. You may want to put foil around the legs so they don’t burn.

When the bird is done, remove the stuffing and tent the bird.  Put the juices in a heavy saucepan with the stuffing. Stir and allow the fruit mixture to cook a bit more; the fruit may not be softened enough and will improve with a bit of a cook. Add the galantine and wine and spices. Stir to combine.

While the mixture is cooking and after the bird has rested 10 minutes, carve the bird into serving pieces and keep warm in a 200º oven while you finish the sauce. Originally these would be speared with a knife and eaten with fingers. Pour the sauce over the duck and serve.

Poudre douce:

4 t powdered ginger
1 t cinnamon
1 t grains of paradise
1 t ground nutmeg
1 t sugar

Grind together.

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Deana’s galyntyne, a medieval recipe

Galyntyne

1/4 cup toasted bread crust, ground good pinch each of galingal, ginger, cinnamon
1 t salt
½ c wine vinegar (approximately)

Combine the breadcrumbs with the spices and salt. Add enough vinegar to make a thick sauce and set aside. You can push though a strainer if you want a finer texture.

Notes: I used about ¼ of the crust of a peasant loaf. I cut it off the bread and toasted it till medium brown (a toaster oven works well, but you can do it in the oven on a cookie sheet at 300º). Then I put it in the processor. To make it extra fine I put it in the spice grinder in batches to give it a fine texture. Then I toasted it in a skillet to get it a little browner –– don’t take your eyes off it when you are doing it. It goes from perfect to burnt quickly –– stir constantly.

Sauce Madame 3

Sauce Madame, sans bread

Sauce Madame sans Bread

Stuffing from bird
juices from duck with some of the fat (around a cup, about 2 T of that duck fat or to taste)
½ c demi-glace
½ c red wine
1 t powdered or grated galingal
2 t poudre douce

Cook the stuffing with the rest of the ingredients. Reduce till thickened somewhat and serve on the duck.

A Saucy Series, Part I: Espagnole

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.

Holy Mother of Sauces
Lots of people are a bit afraid of French sauces because they think they are too complicated and not worth the effort.  I think they are so wrong. Take a little time on a weekend to make the great base, Sauce Espagnole, and then you are good to go for so many sauces that are made from it; Bourguignonne, Champignon, Bigarade and a million others come from Espagnole, and can be used on all varieties of meat, fowl and game. I make a batch of Espagnole and freeze it in 1 cup bags so I can make a “fancy” dinner in no time, even on a weeknight. I have even come up with a shortcut to Espagnole that is a winner. If you want a more classic, long version of Espagnole Sauce with some history of “Mother Sauces,” visit my blog.

Sauce Chevreuil is a brown sauce made with Espagnole; adding port and currant jelly makes it perfect on venison, beef or even duck (try it on duck breast). It really is finger-licking good with a silky texture that will make you fall in love with it.

If you make the sauces in advance, you can do a dinner like this in no time at all…don’t forget the Stilton Mashed Potatoes, they are so good!

Deana Sidney Venison with Chevreuil Sauce

Deana Sidney’s Venison with Chevreuil Sauce and Stilton Mashed Potatoes

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
2 T tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Melt your butter and add the flour on a low to medium flame.  Stir regularly until the mixture turns a medium brown… kind of a medium caramel color.   Don’t let it get too dark.  This takes 5-10 minutes.

Add the vegetables, ham and bacon to the roux 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 on the solids.  Add salt and pepper to taste

To make a brown roux, melt your butter and add the flour on a low to medium flame.  Stir regularly until the mixture turns a medium brown… kind of a medium caramel color.  Remove from the stove and use.  Don’t let it get too dark.  This takes 5-10 minutes.

Chevreuil Sauce (an amalgam of many recipes)

1 T butter
2 T chopped shallot
2 T ham
any venison trimmings you may have (optional)
2 chopped mushrooms
bouquet garni (parsley, thyme, bay and sage tied up)
¼ c wine vinegar
1 c Espagnole
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 mashed anchovy
1 c   demi-glace or stock
3 oz port
1 T red currant jelly
pinch of cayenne

Sauté the shallot, ham, venison trimmings and mushrooms in the butter till softened.  Toss in the bouquet garni and add the vinegar.  Reduce till syrupy and add the Espagnole, stock, Worcestershire, and anchovy.  Cook for ½ an hour at low heat or till thickened. Strain, pressing on the solids and add the red currant jelly, port and cayenne.

Boneless Venison Steak for 2

2 venison steaks or tenderloin  (4 – 6 oz each serving)
salt and pepper
2 T butter
3-4 chanterelle and/or shitake mushrooms, sliced

Heat oven 400º

Heat a cast iron skillet till hot. Salt and pepper the steak. Put in the butter to melt and add the mushrooms and steak.  Sear on one side and then the other, stirring the mushrooms as you do.

Flip and put in a 400º oven for 5 minutes for rare.

Remove from oven and put the meat on a plate and tent for 5 minutes.  Take the mushrooms and add the Chevreuil Sauce to warm.  Pour over the meat and serve.

Note: if you use beef filet, the technique is the same

Stilton Mashed potatoes for 2

6 blue potatoes peeled or unpeeled
2 T butter
½ c milk
¼ cup crumbled stilton or to taste
pinch of mace
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes until tender and drain.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mash.