Holiday Tips & Advice
hank you for choosing to make D’Artagnan a part of your holiday. In our effort to always deliver the highest quality products and experience, we've compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions, along with links to seasonal recipes, articles and cooking tips to help you navigate the holidays.
A few things to keep in mind:
When ordering your ham, goose, turkey or capon, it’s best to take delivery the Wednesday or Thursday before Christmas. Because of the volume of orders this time of year, and the logistics of shipping perishable food by FedEx overnight, it’s best to have your bird or ham in the fridge well before the big day. Keep it in the coldest part of the fridge, or in a cooler packed with ice, and it will be just fine for Christmas.
See our Holiday Delivery Calendar for more information.
ABOUT OUR BIRDS
Read short descriptions of all our holiday birds here, and decide which one is best for your table.
HOLIDAY GOOSE RECIPES
Make your holiday a classic one with a roast goose at the center of the table. Try one of our goose recipes this season:
HOLIDAY HAM RECIPES
Serving a beautiful glazed ham for the holiday meal is a simple feat for the cook. Our smoked hams are fully cooked, so only need to be heated and glazed to make a spectacular center for the feast. For those of you making ham for the holidays, consider one of our signature glaze recipes:
CAPON & TURKEY COOKING BASICS
Our turkeys do not have pop-up timers in them. You can purchase one for a few dollars at a grocery store, but we prefer to use a meat thermometer. They are more precise, and you are less likely to overcook the bird when using a thermometer.
Option 1: Protect the skin by rubbing with fat (butter, duck fat). You can also sear the skin to help lock in juices by starting the bird in a 450° or 500° degrees F oven for the first 30 minutes, then reducing the oven temperature to 325° or 350° degrees F for the duration of roasting time. Conventional slow roasting is done at 325° or 350° degrees F for the entire duration. If a particular recipe calls for a specific temperature, there is usually a reason, but for searing, the hotter the better, and for general oven roasting both 325° and 350° degrees F are appropriate temperatures. Proper and frequent basting will keep the meat from drying out. Baste a big bird at least every 20 minutes, and smaller ones about every 15 minutes.
Option 2: Buttering beneath the skin (i.e. black truffle butter) is another technique, and this one actually helps the bird to self-baste. Start this bird in a preheated 500° degrees F oven, cook for 30 minutes to sear in juices, then reduce the oven temperature to 325° or 350° degrees F for the remainder of the cooking time. The butter will melt into the meat making it moist and flavorful, as well as brown and crisp the skin, leaving the delicious bits of black truffle just beneath the surface. It’s not necessary to baste this bird.
Option 3: Cloaking with butter-soaked cotton cheesecloth is a technique especially good for a heritage turkey. Fold and trim a sheet of cheesecloth to create four layers large enough to drape and cling to the contours of the entire breast. Stack the four layers together and saturate in a basting mix of melted, unsalted butter and stock or a good, dry white wine, or a basting mix of your choice, and then drape the cloth over the bird. Brush the entire bird (over the cloth as well) with the basting mix. Start this bird in a preheated 450 degrees F oven, cook for 1 hour, basting regularly, and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F for the remainder of the cooking time. As soon as you have accumulated enough juice in the pan for basting the whole bird, use it instead of the basting mix. In the last hour of cooking, take the bird out of the oven and remove the cheesecloth, and then return the bird to the oven so that it can brown while it finishes cooking. You should continue to baste about every 20 minutes.
ADDITIONAL CAPON OR TURKEY TIPS & RECIPES
CASSOULET COOKING BASICS
Serve cassoulet for the holiday, or give our recipe kit as a gift. This traditional one-pot meal of preserved duck meat, pork, sausage and beans is the very soul of traditional Gascon cooking. Cassoulet is classic comfort food that serves 12 people and creates a convivial meal, and is perfect for the holiday season.
WHOLE ROASTED PIG
Our fresh suckling pigs are ideal for entertaining a crowd, at the holidays or anytime. Be sure to select the correct size suckling or roasting pig – one that fits your cooking method: grill, oven, rotisserie or roasting box, and the size of your party. You should allow for 1 ½ pounds of pork per person.
If you don’t have a place to dig a pit or have a specialized implement like La Caja China, suckling pig can also be cooked in a high-heat oven. Just be sure you have an oven of a size that can accommodate the pig you are purchasing. Suckling pigs that weigh less than 20 pounds generally fit in the average kitchen oven. Anything larger needs a spacious grill or smoker.