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Posts tagged ‘christmas ham’

Does Heritage Pork Make a Better Ham?

We can confidently say that heritage breed pork tastes better. It offers a nuanced, deeper flavor and more succulent meat than commodity pork. It tends to be darker in color – not dry and pale like the “other white meat” that is widely available. Did you know that the USDA lowered the minimum cooking temperature for pork to 145 degrees back in 2011? You may be overcooking those chops!

Pork Chops

Berkshire pork chops

Due to more diversity in farming and demand from the public, the rich, marbled fat and tasty meat of heritage pigs is certainly becoming more appreciated by connoisseurs. At D’Artagnan we celebrate the Berkshire hog and sell plenty of cuts like pork loin, racks, chops and tenderloin. We encourage you to taste it and compare to the pork you’ve had in the past.

But heritage breeds sometimes offer up the tastiest pork when they are crossed; a characteristic like large size combines with a distinct trait like fine-marbled fat to produce a meaty hind leg ideal for making ham. We take these heritage breed pork legs and smoke them with real applewood chips, not fake flavorings, and season them with maple and brown sugar and salt, to create a slightly sweet, but still savory ham.

Fully cooked, our applewood smoked heritage ham is an easy solution for a holiday dinner—all you need to do is heat and slice. But a glaze will put the finishing touch on your ham, and make the presentation a bit more dramatic. We have several recipes to choose from. Choose bone-in ham for large groups, leftovers and tableside carving.

And the very same heritage pork can be enjoyed in our boneless ham. Prepared the same way, it offers a lot of flavor in a smaller package, as well as ease of slicing.

orange_glazed_ham_recipe

Spiced orange marmalade glazed ham

And for a small gathering, or just day-to-day use, we offer a boneless petite ham that weighs in at just 1.5 to 3 pounds. It’s perfect for slicing and slathering with Dijon mustard for a juicy ham sandwich. Ham goes well with eggs (just ask Dr. Seuss!), whether in an omelet or diced for a quiche. Chopped and added to egg or potato salad, this lightly-smoked ham is a great addition. Find ways to incorporate it in your favorite dishes.

Boneless heritage ham

Boneless heritage ham

And let us see what you’re cooking. Share pictures on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – be sure to tag us @dartagnanfoods so we can see your kitchen victories!

Roasting for the Holidays

What are you roasting for Christmas this year?

It seems fitting that a holiday gathering should center on a piece of roasted meat. Thanksgiving has the turkey, but at Christmas there’s room for more culinary expression.

While technically not a roast, something we always recommend for a big party is the cassoulet. An iconic French dish of beans and cured meats, the cassoulet has come into its own the past few years. Lots of restaurants are serving it, in all kinds of variations. Our recipe kit is the classic version from Southwest France, as you would expect. This one-dish meal serves up to 12 people, making it ideal for a holiday meal.

This is the natural "crust" that is formed on a cassoulet. No crumbs required.

This is the natural “crust” that is formed on a cassoulet. No crumbs required.

The Christmas goose. Without Dickens, would we all yearn for a roasted goose on the table? When you want to invoke tradition, and do it with flare, this is the bird for you. With dark meat and incomparable flavor, a goose is ideal for a smaller crowd – say 5 to 7 people.

Roasted Goose

Roasted Goose, a la Dickens

Another well-established European tradition is the capon. Bigger than a chicken, with more robust flavor, plus a lot more breast meat, the capon is a crowd-pleaser.

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A juicy capon for Christmas.

Many families roast a turkey at Christmas, and it’s a solid choice, because it feeds many and is a little more mainstream than a goose or capon. We like ours with black truffle butter under the skin, just to keep things interesting.

D'Artagnan Food products

Black truffle butter serves to flavor and baste the turkey.

For those with a taste for red meat, there’s always Wagyu beef. This 3- or 4-rib roast is the last word in luxurious dining. There’s not much to do when it comes to roasting this epic piece of beef – just be sure not to overcook it. You want to err on the side of rare to maintain the exquisite texture and flavor.

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The Wagyu beef standing rib roast in all its glory.

No, we did not forget the holiday ham. Ours is made with heritage-breed pork and is smoked over real applewood. All you need to do it glaze it and pop it in the oven for a superb meal of impressive proportions.

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Our heritage ham all glazed and ready.

Whatever you decide to place at the center of your holiday feast, you’d better order fast for delivery before Christmas! Monday, Dec. 22 is the last chance!

Ham, Glorious Ham!

In the December issue, Bon Appétit magazine “effusively recommends” our bone-in heritage ham for your holiday dinner. Obviously, we couldn’t agree more. There is nothing so satisfying (and impressive) as a gleaming, glazed ham on the table.

Click over to the Bon Appétit site and start planning your own path to ham nirvana (step one, buy it from dartagnan.com).

Bon Appetit Dec 2013 Ham Pg1

You can serve a crowd at Christmas and then use leftovers in split pea soup. Yes, please.

Bon Appetit Dec 2013 Ham Pg2