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Posts tagged ‘charcuterie’

What is Foie Gras Terrine?

Like many other recipes, the foie gras terrine is named for the vessel in which it is cooked.  Other examples include the iconic cassoulet, named after the cassole (a tapered clay pot) it is cooked in. And the word casserole is from the French for sauce pan, in which a casserole is assembled and cooked.

Much the same, a foie gras terrine is cooked in a terrine mold, usually a porcelain one with a tightly-fitted lid. A whole, raw foie gras  is packed into a terrine mold and cooked at low temperature in a water bath with only a few ingredients: salt, pepper and Sauternes wine.  The foie gras is actually steamed in its own juices under the terrine lid.

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A classic Revol terrine.

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D’Artagnan’s signature Terrine of Foie Gras.

A tip: nestle the terrine on a folded dish towel in the pan of hot water, so the towel holds the terrine still. After the terrine is fully cooked, the excess fat (foie gras butter – freeze it for later!) is drained off and set aside. This can be poured back on top of the preparation to protect it as it rests in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days while the flavor develops. If you want to try your hand at this classic preparation of foie gras, follow Ariane’s recipe. And to see how it’s made, watch our video of Ariane and Chef Wylie Dufresne preparing foie gras terrine and torchon together.

Foie gras terrine

Foie gras terrine

Eating Foie Gras Terrine

In Gascony, the capital of foie gras in France, the terrine of foie gras is traditionally served cold, still in the terrine mold with serving spoons and a bowl of hot water. The spoons are dipped into the hot water, to cleanly slice through the rich foie gras, which is usually spread in a slice of bread. In the United States, foie gras terrine is more commonly served thinly sliced, on elegant toast points or flaky pastry shells.

A foie gras terrine can be unmolded gently onto a clean cutting board. Run warm water over the outside of the terrine dish to loosen it slightly. For slicing, use a knife that has been dipped in hot water to make clean, perfect slices every time. Remember that foie gras is delicate, so it’s best to handle it with care. Thin slices can be fanned out on a platter for serving.

Serve terrine chilled with slices of crusty peasant breast, toasted brioche, cranberry walnut loaf, and any jam or fruit compote to complement the creamy, fatty flavor. Drink a glass of Sauternes or late-harvest Jurançon, both sweet wines from the Southwest of France.

Top 6 Easter Appetizer Recipes

How about a nibble to start the Easter meal? From the simple to the sublime, there’s a little something for everyone here. Small bites, big flavors. Click through to see the recipes.

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1. Tiny quail eggs may take extra time to peel, but they are so cute – and delicious – that it’s worth the effort. Make a big batch of these Scotch eggs, because they are all too easy to eat! With wild boar sausage inside the golden crust they may also serve as a conversation starter.

french ham & pear recipes preview

2.  The combination of dry-cured ham and fruit is a perennial favorite. In this case, we used pears, and a bit of fresh ricotta; truffle butter on the crostini brings in a tasty new element. The truffle honey is optional, but we highly recommend it.  Just keep this recipe in your back pocket for parties.

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3. Speaking of truffle butter, this recipe for gougeres is going to change your game. Brunch, cocktail parties, holiday gatherings … they all benefit from the perfection of these mouthfuls of airy dough and cheese. They seem so right for the Easter meal, whether it’s a brunch or a feast.

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4. It’s Easter, so everyone expects eggs. Do the grown-up thing and devil some quail eggs and top them with bacon.  Everyone will thank you.

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5. Mushrooms and crème fraîche fill these phyllo triangles with flavor. Yes, we brushed them with truffle butter. Because we can … and so can you!

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6. One last honorable mention, also involving puff pastry, mushrooms and a hint of cream: the vol-au-vent.  This classic hors d’oeuvre makes a lovely presentation, and can be passed or served at dinner, or brunch.

7 Easter Brunch Ideas & Recipes

Are you hosting Easter brunch and looking for some fun ideas … perhaps with more bacon? We have some recipes to inspire a very tasty brunch this year, with seasonal ingredients and quite a lot of bacon.

1. Bacon and cheddar scones are perfect for brunch, paired with scrambled eggs. Also tea time, snack time, or any time.  These easy-to-make scones have crispy edges, a flaky yet tender interior, and are packed with flavor from our applewood smoked bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, and fresh chives. Try one fresh from the oven. Thank us later.

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Bacon cheddar scones

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Food for Thought: Stuffed Mushrooms

We never need an excuse to stuff mushrooms….but for National Snack Month Ariane was invited to share her recipe on Local 12 News. Watch the short video here and start stuffing!

Ariane on TV Screen Grab

And you can read the simple recipe on our website. Great for parties or snack time, these stuffed mushrooms are a staff favorite.
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Game Day Eats: Top 5 Snacks Foods for Super Sunday

What are you eating on game day? Score a major win with our recipes for every kind of game-viewing party, from snacks and bites to full-on hearty meals. And save 15% right now on both our Game Day and Charcuterie collections.

Top 5 Snacks Foods for Super Sunday

1. Super pigs in a blanket. Because our 1 lb. French-style pork and garlic sausage makes enough for everyone to enjoy a bite. Try it with Dijon mustard spread on each slice.

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2. Chorizo bites are gooey and cheesy and are studded with spicy chorizo sausage. What more could you ask for… besides seconds?

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3. Dip. What party is complete without it? Our creamy recipe gets a wallop of umami from mushrooms. And the bacon doesn’t hurt, either.

mushroom dip blog

4. If it’s umami you are after, look no further than our game sausage stuffed mushrooms.

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5. We like a sweet ending, too. But when dessert has a little bacon on top, now you’ve got our attention.  Try it yourself – these maple bacon doughnuts are a revelation.

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Stay tuned for our next post on drool-worthy sandwiches for your game day party.

New Year’s Eve Party

We think every party needs a charcuterie board on the table. With that strong beginning, you can serve all manner of tasty nibbles and host a New Year’s Eve party that everyone will talk about well into next year.

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If you take our suggestion and serve charcuterie – duck rillettes, pâté, saucisson sec – these quick pickled mushrooms will complement the rich flavors and textures nicely.

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Our chorizo croquettes are served with smoky paprika sauce and make a fabulous finger food for a New Year’s Eve party.

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Get the best puff pastry you can find for these mushroom vol-au-vents. And let the vegetarians know that you will have tasty options for them.

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New Year’s Eve calls for the fancy stuff. Our caviar pairs well with baby red potatoes and crème fraiche in this simple –  yet elegant – recipe.

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These dainty deviled quail eggs with porcini and parmesan  will be a hit. Set them in a drift of parmesan cheese and watch them vanish fast.

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And after the revelry is done, and you are looking for a fortifying New Year’s Day brunch, look to our recipes for inspiration. Because bacon helps make everything better. Your resolutions actually begin January 2.

 

Gifts for Foodies

When it comes to gifts, is there anything better than food? Not for those of us who are obsessed with all things culinary! Is there someone like that on your list? We’ve got you covered.

From gift baskets and foie gras to our signature cassoulet kit, there is something for everyone at dartagnan.com.

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Charc Week Continues: Jambon de Bayonne

Our jambon de Bayonne is made right here in the United States, and some would argue that the use of “Bayonne,” as in the AOC, is all kinds of wrong. Ariane was well aware of this when she began making the product in the early days of D’Artagnan. Of course, she could see Bayonne from her office window… Bayonne, NJ, that is. Using the same simple, centuries-old dry-curing technique that made this ham famous in France, our domestic version may break rules, but it satisfies jambon cravings.

Try it wrapped around figs, melon or pear slices. Sandwiched in a baguette with mustard. On a charcuterie board with cheese.

jambon de bayonne equation CharcWeek

 

 

Charcuterie 101

Whole books have been devoted to the subject. Techniques have been handed down through the generations, and different cultures have distinct charcuterie traditions. So what is this mysterious “charcuterie”? Pronounced shahr-kyut-uh-ree it is a French word that comes from chair “flesh” and cuit “cooked.” It refers to cooked, cured or smoked meats such as bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, rillettes, galantines, pâtés and dry-cured sausage. Charcuterie has been considered a French culinary art since at least the 15th century. The specialized store in France is also called a charcuterie and will have confits, foie gras and a selection of ready-to-eat dishes.

Charcuterie France

Germans sell their cured meats at a delicatessen, and Italians purvey salumi in a salumeria. In America many of the Italian salumi products are familiar, such as prosciutto, salami, pepperoni, sopressata and mortadella. If you’ve ever eaten antipasto you already know about charcuterie. Been to the deli and ordered a liverwurst sandwich? How about a cold cut sandwich? Both are charcuterie. Even baloney is charcuterie.

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Spain is legendary for dry-aged aging hams from heritage breed pigs. Germany is noted for the frankfurter and Braunschweiger, among a myriad of sausages produced there. Poland offers the smoked kielbasa. And in the United States there are many that swear by the flavor of smoked and cured Virginia ham. Call it what you will, charcuterie is universal.

A Little History

Food traditions are often best understood in the context of history. With charcuterie it’s necessary to go back to the origins of Homo sapiens. Since every culture preserves meat in some form, it appears to be a foundational element of human survival. Imagine hunting, gathering and having to eat everything before it spoiled. This process would ensure a nomadic lifestyle and subsistence diet. However, if you could store food for later, you might settle down, build a shelter and put in roots. Since the origins of cooking meat are lost in our prehistoric past, it’s only conjecture that early man might have hung fresh meat near the fire to protect it, and discovered that it cured over the smoke and tasted quite good the next day.

Whenever it was that humans started to cook and cure meat, it has not stopped since. Sausage recipes date to before the golden age of ancient Greece, and traditional sausages have been made for over 2000 years in both Rome and France. The Romans set standards for raising, killing and cooking pigs, and they regulated the process. Centuries ago, Germanic tribesmen made fortunes selling salted hams made from acorn-fattened boars that were hunted in dense forests. But charcuterie really comes into its own in France during the Middle Ages.

In France, pigs were raised by virtually every household and slaughtered when the chill of autumn took hold, to fill the larders for the winter with lovely bacon, ham, potted pork and lard. To this day in the French countryside the pig slaughter and resulting day of cooking that follows is taken on as a communal ritual. And no part of the pig is wasted, from the intestines to the hooves.

Today, in the United States there is plenty of old-world style charcuterie available, both in restaurants and stores, and DIYers are rediscovering the joy of making charcuterie at home.

Edouard-Jean Dambourgez (French, 1844-1890) A Pork Butcher's Shop

Making a Charcuterie Plate

Just like a cheese board, a charcuterie platter is an ideal way to serve a party and please all palates. Arranging a charcuterie board is easy. It should have a range of items representing the various styles of preparation from cooked to dry-cured. The meats should be complemented by something acidic, like cornichons (tiny French pickles). Whole-grain mustard makes a nice accompaniment, as do olives or even black truffle butter. Allow two ounces per person, and serve with a rustic country bread, or good quality, plain crackers. A hearty red wine (but not too heavy) will make a good accompaniment, such as Côtes-du-Rhône, Gigondas or Madiran.

A charcuterie board might display:

Pâté de Campagne is a rustic, coarse pork pâté and is a staple in France
Pheasant Terrine Herbette, another coarse pâté made of pheasant, pork and fennel
In the dry-cured family Jambon de Bayonne, a thinly-sliced pork product is perfect
Saucisson sec is a dry-cured sausage, similar to salami, made of pork or sometimes wild boar
Mousse Truffée is a spreadable turkey/chicken liver mousse with black truffles
Smoked duck breast is air cured and smoked over natural wood

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Sandwich Savoir-Faire

August is National Sandwich Month!

We think a sandwich is perfect anytime, but in the summer a sandwich makes a neat solution for a quick dinner or a picnic lunch. On a hot evening who wants to cook? Opt instead for a cold sandwich with choice charcuterie and a bottle of rosé. 

Sandwich Quote

We have already laid out a little history and a plan for sandwich domination here.

You may want to just feast your eyes on a few of our favorite sandwich ideas…like this peppery saucisson sec tartine with refreshing slices of cucumber.

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This simple chicken salad sandwich, made with smoked chicken breast and chorizo, was a smash hit at an office tasting.

Chicken Chorizo Sandwich

And though we advocate the cold sandwich as a summer meal, it’s hard to resist the lure of this pulled duck sandwich.

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Or the lobster roll with bacon, which is undoubtedly the perfect summer sandwich.

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A spicy pressed chorizo sandwich with cheese and red peppers satisfies the heat seekers.

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Our smoked duck breast works well in a banh mi sandwich, that perfect melding of French and Vietnamese cuisines.

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However you enjoy sandwiches this month, reflect on how this simple and portable meal has infinite varieties, from haute to humble.

 

“America is a confirmed sandwich nation. Everywhere you go you find sandwich stands, sandwich shops, and nine out of ten people seem to stick to the sandwich-and-glass-of-milk or cup-of-coffee luncheon.” –  James Beard