What are you serving on Easter? We have some classic, fresh spring preparations for family favorites like heritage ham, lamb, and rabbit.
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!
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.
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.
Our heritage ham is featured in the December issue of Bon Appetit magazine … and they did a beautiful job with it. Check out their video with editor Adam Rappaport extolling the virtues of the ham for a holiday party. We get a little choked up watching the video. Our ham looks so good. And it’s bringing people together, with forks and knives at the ready.
Let’s have a close-up, shall we? Just look at that gorgeous glaze and crispy skin. There’s nothing to it, as the video proves. And we have two simple recipes for the glaze. But don’t be afraid to improvise.
You can get one of these glorious 12- to 14-lb pieces of porcine heaven at dartagnan.com. Already have a plan for your Christmas meal? Well, maybe a ham would liven up your New Year’s Eve party!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
You can serve a crowd at Christmas and then use leftovers in split pea soup. Yes, please.
So yesterday, we gave you some ideas and recipes for Easter appetizers. (Mmmmm… black truffle gougeres!) Today, we’re all about classic main dishes and comforting, family-friendly sides. We broke our suggestions down into two menus that can also be mixed and matched, if you desire.
Our first menu features Lamb as the centerpiece. Our boneless lamb loin is super easy to prepare and no matter how you cook it, turns out tender and juicy. Tangy spring leeks make the perfect foil to a sweet, truffle honey vinaigrette. We paired the lamb with potatoes roasted in duck fat (our secret weapon!) and rounded out the meal with smoky maitake mushrooms and a crisp bibb lettuce salad.
Spring Salad with Peas, Radishes and Creamy Lemon Vinaigrette
Our second menu shines the light on a perennial Easter favorite, our Applewood Smoked Heritage Hams. We did the work for you – our hand-crafted hams are fully-cooked and need little adornment. We just brushed on a simple glaze made with apricot preserves, mustard and bourbon and heated through. Dried morels give decadent pommes dauphinois an earthy edge, while citrusy green beans and duck fat biscuits finish the table.
Apricot-Bourbon Glazed Applewood Smoked Heritage Ham
Green Beans with Tarragon and Citrus Butter
Duck Fat Biscuits
Come back for tomorrow’s post! It’s all about the perfect wines to pair with your Easter feast, with suggestions and tasting notes from one of America’s Top Sommeliers, Anani Lawson of per se in New York City. This is one you do not want to miss.