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Secret Ingredient: Truffle Butter

Our Secret Ingredients series shines a light on products that make all the difference when cooking with D’Artagnan.

It is said that butter makes everything better. If it’s black truffle butter, that’s got to be correct. We spread it on bread with a slice of saucisson sec on top for a perfectly simple – and unexpectedly delicious – hors d’ouevre. Tucked under the skin of a chicken or turkey, the heavenly stuff melts and works all kinds of flavorful magic as the bird roasts. We even make a wagyu burger and slather the brioche bun with truffle butter.

Trust us, you’ll want to keep this stuff in the fridge – with backup in the freezer, where it can last forever.  You can melt it easily and drizzle on your popcorn. Or whip into mashed potatoes. Sometimes just a slice of bread with truffle butter on it is enough to put a smile on your face.

Secret ingredient truffle butter

6 Brunch Ideas We Love

Brunch, a brilliant combination of breakfast and lunch, is often the most anticipated meal of the week. This best-of-both-worlds feast is perfect for those lazy weekend days when sleeping in is a must. Brunch is usually served between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and in terms of food, anything goes. While we like a leisurely lunch at a restaurant, there is something about making your own brunch at home, and maybe in pajamas. If you are of the same mind, here are six of our favorite recipes for a satisfying brunch at home.

1. Rich and creamy shirred eggs with bacon and chives are not only delicious but ridiculously easy to prepare. Perfect for brunch!


2. This recipe for creamed mushrooms on toast will brighten up your mid-morning repast.


3. Earthy mushrooms and fragrant black truffle butter make this classic eggs en cocotte a standout!


4. Bacon and cheddar scones make the perfect companion to just about any brunch. Spread some bacon jam on top (double bacon!?!) or serve with runny eggs.


5. Nothing says comfortable Sunday morning like grits and ham. Stir in some truffle butter to make truffled grits (which is very nice as a side dish for dinner too).


6. We have to mention rillettes…spreadable duck that takes the edge off a long night. A simple brunch might consist of a charcuterie board with this intensely satisfying recipe at center.


Stewing Essentials

Stewing is a versatile and economical method of one-pot cooking which creates delicious, stick-to-your-ribs dishes of tender meat and rich sauce. Similar to braising, a stew often consists of meats and vegetables slow-cooked in flavorful liquid over a low flame. The perfect antidote to winter’s chill, stew is deeply comforting and easy to make at home.


People have been stewing for centuries. There is archaeological evidence that tribal Amazonians used spent turtle shells to stew meats 8,000 years ago. Stew was mentioned in the biblical story of Cain and Abel and in fourth century Roman cookbook, Apicius. Guillaume Tirel’s, Le Viandier de Taillevent, the famous French tome, first published in 1395, also contains stewing recipes. Stews are found today, in nearly every cuisine, from daubes and blanquettes in France to Indian curries, Mexican pozoles to khoresht in Persia, niku jaga in Japan to good, old American beef stew.

Stewing and braising are both slow, moist-cooking methods with a few minor, yet key, differences. When making stews, the meat is cut into smallish, uniform chunks whereas when braising, muscles are usually left whole. When stewing, your meats and vegetables are completely submersed in the cooking liquid but when braising, the liquid should only partially cover your ingredients.


Here are some loose guidelines and tips for a basic stew…

  1. Dredge – Dredging the hunks of meat in seasoned flour before browning will give quick color, add flavor and help thicken your final product.
  2. Sear – Searing your meat on all sides in a very hot pan in a little oil will adds a desirable, flavorful crust and creates fond (the super tasty, meaty bits that stick to the bottom of the pan). Both add an extra layer of flavor, taking your stew from bland and one dimensional to complex, rich and delicious.
  3. Add Aromatics – Chopped vegetables such as mirepoix (carrots, celery onion), garlic, herbs and spices + aromatic liquids, such as wine, beer, bouillon or stock, round out the flavor of your stew.
  4. Cover – A tight seal is essential to slow, moist-cooking. Condensation will form on the inside of the lid, dripping back into the stew, called self-basting, concentrating flavors and keeping ingredients moist and juicy.
  5. Skim – During cooking, extra fat will dissolve from the meat and rise to the surface of the stew. Using a skimming spoon or other wide shallow utensil, skim the excess oil away. Another method to removing unwanted fat is to completely chill down the stew after cooking then just spoon away the solidified grease from the top of the dish.

What to Stew
The best cuts of meat for stewing are modest, tough cuts – the muscles of the animal that tend to work harder, are more exercised and held together by strong connective tissue. Shanks and hocks, brisket, chuck, round, shoulder and trim/end pieces from various roasts/steaks (often sold as “stew meat”) all work well for stewing. To stew poultry, use dark meat pieces or whole tough birds as in France’s favorite dish of stewed rooster, Coq au Vin. The slow cooking method helps soften and tenderize the muscle fibers and breaks down connective tissue into gelatin resulting in a homey dish of meltingly tender meat with concentrated flavor. Don’t limit yourself to just stewing meats. You can also stew vegetables with fantastic results. French ratatouille is quite simply stewed eggplant, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, garlic and bell peppers. Other good vegetable candidates include celery, celery root, leeks, cabbage, fennel and almost any tough green, such as collards, kale, chards, dandelion or mustard greens.


Quick Tips
Refrigerating a stew overnight marries and deepens the flavors of ingredients. The chilling process also brings excess fat to the surface where it solidifies. This makes for easy skimming.

Vegetables in a slow cooked stew end up very soft at the end of cooking. If you like, you can remove excessively mushy vegetables in the last 15 minutes of cook time and puree them in a blender or food processor before adding back to the stew. The smooth puree will thicken your sauce beautifully.

Take care not to “re-cook” stews when reheating. If you need to reheat, first remove the meat and set aside, then bring the liquid to a boil, toss the meat back in briefly then remove from the heat. Allow the stew to hover around 140 degrees F until the meat is heated through. Enjoy!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Just for fun, here are some terms the French use – both for food and for love. Each term of endearment can be cooed in a receptive ear, or ordered at a restaurant.

Wishing you a sweet – and savory – Valentine’s Day!

French Terms of Endearment

5 Braise-Worthy Recipes

With 15% off all the cuts fit to braise right now, let’s look at some classic recipes for braising, shall we?

1. Rabbit. This Irish recipe by the inimitable Colman Andrews has hard cider in the braising liquid. Which is also really nice for drinking while your rabbit simmers.


2. Osso buco. We’ve got lamb, veal and venison osso buco on sale. This classic Italian recipe is for veal osso buco, but we encourage you to play with the other types.


3. Duck. You may not think of duck as a braising meat, but Daniel Boulud knows best. When it comes to duck legs, he browns then braises. That would go for rabbit or guinea hen legs, too.

Recipe_Duck_Picholine_HomeMedium CAPT

4. Beef short ribs. We love to sink our teeth into some tender short ribs. It doesn’t get better than this recipe from Aliya Leekong.


5. Lamb shanks. The Lobel Brothers know their way around a shank. These Persian-style lamb shanks are fragrant with turmeric, cinnamon and cardamom.





Praise the Braise with 15% Off!

With the winter chill there’s only one thing to do: get in the kitchen and braise! Now is the time for comfort foods like slow-cooked short ribs that fall of the bone. Simmering foreshanks of wild boar. Succulent osso buco … you get the idea.

Now through February 24 save 15% off all the cuts we like to braise, and few other items that might help in your braising efforts. Like bacon. A true braise begins with rendering some bacon fat into a pan – but you knew that. Because you’ve got to brown the meat in something, and it might as well be bacon fat.


Valentine’s Day at Home: Dessert

We are definitely known for the savory things in life.  Bacon? We’ll come running. But when there’s chocolate with bacon in it, we’re running even faster.  If you feel the same way, and want something a bit unconventional for your Valentine’s Day dessert, have a look at these recipes.

Bacon brittle is our go-to for holiday gifts. This sweet and savory combination is delightful to munch on any time, but you can serve it with vanilla ice cream for an unexpected twist on dessert.


Running with the theme, how about these duck fat caramels? Yes, this is candy for carnivores.  Silky duck fat imparts a wonderful texture and mouth feel.


Duck fat is a versatile ingredient. These biscochitos, a take on a classic from the American Southwest, have great but simple flavor. We suggest cutting them in a heart shape for the occasion.


And in the cookie department we love these oatmeal cookies. Too dull for a special meal? Oh, we beg to differ. With bacon, apples and pecans, these cookies pack a seriously delicious surprise.


And finally, our favorite of all time: truffle ice cream. Adapted from David Lebowitz, this screams Valentine’s Day dessert. Plan ahead, as this recipe takes a little time. But, oh, is it ever worth it. You are not likely to find this flavor at the grocery store. Definitely a special occasion dessert.


And if you wind up curled on the couch watching a movie together, keep the theme going with this truffle popcorn. It’s an addictive and slightly decadent way to pop your corn. Fitting for the close of a lovely evening.


Happy Valentine’s Day to you!



Valentine’s Day at Home: The Main Event

What’s for dinner on Valentine’s Day? For those who like eat in, here are a few inspirational recipes.

If you’re cooking to impress and are not intimidated by a classic dish, our Tournedos Rossini offers a trifecta of flavors: filet mignon, foie gras, black truffle. Surprisingly simple and totally decadent.

Named for the composer Rossini and created by one or another of the famous chefs of the nineteenth century. Was it Carême? Escoffier? Or Dugléré? Whoever was responsible, we thank him.

tournedos rossini1

Craving steak? Is the Rossini version is just a little outside your comfort zone?  Try this rib-eye à la Marcus Samuelsson, served with greens and root vegetable mash. It’s earthy and fitting for the time of year.


To duck aficionados any occasion is the right one for duck steak – which is what we call the duck magret. Simply seared and dressed with a pan sauce, this recipe is a D’Artagnan classic. It’s also quick to make, which leaves more time for conversation and wine drinking.


Love birds? Try serving a whole poussin for each diner. These tasty and tender little birds are divine when simply roasted and served with beautiful Champagne grapes.


Our veal chops make for an elegant plate. Especially when pan seared and served with paprika and cream sauce. This is an adaptation of an historic recipe, and is actually an easy one, thanks to Deana Sidney.


Rack of lamb is not your ordinary fare. Make the most of it with this succulent recipe from Ariane Duarte, which involves rosemary crumbs and a hot oven. It’s a classic that serves in any season.


Now that the main course is taken care of, you just have to consider dessert.  Look to our next post for some decidedly different recipes to finish the meal.

Valentine’s Day at Home: The Apps

For many of us, cooking at home for (or with) someone we love is the ultimate way to spend Valentine’s Day. Why leave your cozy cocoon when all you need is right there? If you are a member of this romantic tribe, we have a few fun ideas for dinner à deux.

One way to make the evening special is to include luxurious ingredients. Caviar is the ultimate “special occasion” food, and it is reputed to be an aphrodisiac. Famed lover Casanova was known to enjoy it, and on the other end of the spectrum, Henry Kissinger said of it, “I’d do anything for caviar and probably did.” If you are sharing dinner with an avowed caviar fan, then by all means, pop open a tin.

Caviar Crackle 4

D’Artagnan Ossetra-sized Malossol caviar

Simple is best when it comes to caviar. Blinis topped with crème fraîche and a dollop of caviar is all you need. Or you can use a tiny red potato as the caviar delivery vehicle. Just remember to keep the caviar cold, cold, cold. Open the tin 15 to 20 minutes before serving and keep it on a bed of ice to maintain the temperature.


Baby Red Potatoes with Caviar and Crème Fraiche

Not feeling the cold thing? Try these warm melt-in-your-mouth puffs of heaven. Scented with black truffle butter. What else can we say?  These gougeres are the perfect bites for your aperitif.

D'Artagnan Truffle Butter Gougeres

D’Artagnan Truffle Butter Gougeres

Our French Kisses are the ultimate easy appetizer. Just pop them out of the container and serve. What are they? Dried plums that have been marinated in Armagnac and then stuffed with mousse of foie gras.

French Kisses

D’Artagnan’s signature French Kisses

And speaking of foie gras, an impressive and quick first course for your romantic dinner might be as easy as searing up two slices of foie gras and serving with a sauce. This recipe from Canal House is perfect. Just cut the portion down to two slices of foie gras.


Seared Foie Gras with Green Grapes

Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter for the brioche to make these truffle butter toasts with quail eggs just a little more holiday appropriate. They have to be made just prior to serving, so plan carefully.


Truffled Quail Egg Toast

That takes care of your first course. Try not to fill up on foie gras, caviar and truffle butter, because the main event is yet to come.




Top 7 Favorites for Game Day Grub

Football fans who also happen to be foodies know that the Super Bowl is a chance to eat well and to show off their kitchen skills to a whole party at the big game.

First off, we are offering 15% off a choice selection of items like ribs, sausages, ground beef (Wagyu included!) and various nibbles that require little prep. All will be welcome additions to your game-day lineup.

And when it comes to recipes, we’ve got you covered with some serious game day grub.

With a nod to New England, we love a good lobster roll. And with our hickory smoked bacon on top, these are the best. Plus they are fairly easy to eat on a couch in a crowded room.


Speaking of bacon, bring your “A” game to the chips and dip with this utterly addictive wild mushroom and bacon creamy dip. Use the best, solidly-built potato chips you can find to scoop up this heavenly stuff. Double the recipe for a big crowd.


Somebody had to say it: ribs make life complete. While these sweet-and-sticky ribs are just that, it’s worth all the wet-naps in the world to have these piled high for the party. Use our Berkshire pork baby back ribs for the recipe and know the taste of victory.


Looking for something less hands-on? Try a big pot of gumbo, made with our spicy andouille sausage. This will serve up easily; just stack some bowls and put out the spoons. Make it a day ahead for convenience.


For another one-pot meal that is sure to please, use buffalo meat in this wild take on classic chili. We like the simple things in life, done with a twist. Heirloom beans and buffalo (we adapted it to use ground meat) make this recipe an all-American dish.


And where there is chili, there should be cornbread. Watch the crumbs, fellows! Our recipe is enhanced with bacon. But of course it is.


Here’s another idea we love. Anyone can pull pork, but who is planning to pull duck leg confit? Here the real work is in making your own sauce (so worth a little effort!). The duck leg confit shreds up real easy, so making these sandwiches is a breeze.


Enjoy the Super Bowl! And just remember, the real game is in the kitchen. May the best team, er … cook, win