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Delight Your Valentine with these Perfect Pairings

Delight Your Valentine with these Perfect Pairings
You and your Valentine make an outstanding couple. Likewise, the ingredients in the following recipes can certainly stand alone, but when brought together make for one stellar dish.  STEAK + FOIS GRAS This is a marriage made in heaven between the richness of the fois gras and the savoriness of a perfectly cooked steak. You will not be disappointed. Try Hangar for a variation on the usual filet. Tournedos Rossini from NYT Cooking SCALLOPS + BACONSometimes the obvious choice is right under your nose. This pairing has been around forever, but is so simple we usually dismiss it. The sweetness of the scallops and the smokiness of the bacon were made for each other. Bacon Wrapped Scallops from Primal Palate CHICKEN + WINEWe know what you are thinking, "chicken for a special occasion?!" But you need to trust the French. The French know love. Slow braising a succulent, free-range chicken in a good red wine and brandy transforms this dish into something seriously seductive. Coq au Vin from the Barefoot Contessa FILET + LOBSTERThis pairing is a classic, like red lipstick and a crisp white dress shirt. This is by far our most popular order every Valentine's Day. Any why not? It's straightforward and luxurious, plus a breeze to prepare. Both the filet and lobster tail can be tossed on the grill and done in a jiffy. This is low-maintenance perfection. To take this pairing to the next level, top both with a rich herbed butter.Herbed Butter Recipe from the Kitchn The Organic Butcher has everything you need to create the perfect Valentine dinner. We are happy to suggest wine pairings and have a wide selection of cheeses and chocolates.

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Our Favorite Stocking Stuffers & Gift Ideas
In addition to our meats and produce, The Organic Butcher of McLean has amazing gifts and stocking stuffers for your favorite foodies. Our staff has put together a list of their top picks for the holiday season. 1. Noble Tonic 01 Petite: Tuthilltown Bourbon Barrel Matured Maple SyrupYour favorite syrup, just mini! 2. SpicesWe carry a multitude of spices and seasoning. The possibilities are endless. 3. Falling Bark Farms Premium Raw HoneyPure, raw, and local. 4. Paleo Scavenger GranolaNo grains, no dairy, no soy, no artificial flavors, no refined sugars. 5. Bulletproof Snack BarsThe perfect after-workout protein bar. Made with pasture-raised Upgraded Collagen Protein. 6. Graham's Six Grapes Porto, Half BottleA very full-bodied, luscious wine with a seductive, rich aroma of ripe plums, cherries and dark chocolate notes. 7. ThermoWorks Thermapen and Pocket ThermometerHighly-rated and highly-accurate. 8. The Virginia Table BookEarly Mountain Vineyards and Our Local Commons has just released this new book celebrating the Commonwealth of Virginia and its emergence as a world-renowned food and wine region. 9. Beyond Bacon by Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarryBeyond Bacon pays homage to the humble hog by teaching you how to make more than a hundred recipes featuring cuts from the entire animal. 10. The Organic Butcher Reusable Shopping BagReduce waste every time you shop with our stylish shopping bags. 11. The Organic Butcher of McLean Camo CapThis subtle, new style is perfect for the outdoorsman on your holiday list. 12. The Organic Butcher of McLean Gift CardsLet your loved ones pick out their own gifts with a gift card in any denomination.  Happy Holidays!

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Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary + Ordering for Easter/Passover at The Organic Butcher
We are gearing up for the Spring Holidays at The Organic Butcher. There is still plenty of time to place your orders for lamb, ham, pork, rabbit or briskets. Order online on our new website or call us at 703-790-8300.   Popular seasonal items and recommendations are as follows: LOCAL LAMBBone-In Leg of Lamb (7-9 lbs)  - $12.99/LBBoneless Leg of Lamb (5-7 lbs) - $13.99/LBFrench Lamb Rack ( 1.5-2 lbs) - $24.99/LBLamb Shoulder Roast - $10.99/LBLamb Shank (1.5 lb avg.) - $7.99/LBBoneless Lamb Loin (@1 lb. ea.) - $29.99/LB FRESH HAMS, SMOKED HAMS AND PORKSkin-on Fresh Ham / Pork Leg  (6-24 lb.) - $6.99/lb.Nitrate-Free Semi-boneless Spiral Ham (6-8 lb.) - $9.99/lb.Nitrate-Free Boneless Berkshire Hams (6-8 lb. and 14-17 lb.) $9.99/lb.Berkshire Frenched Pork Rack - $14.99/lb.Skin-on Berkshire Pork Belly - $6.99/lb. RABBIT - $11.99/LB First Cut BRISKETS for Passover - $8.99/lb.Seder bones also available ADDITIONAL ITEMS: We will have plenty of roasts, seafood, wild game, and fresh produce for side dishes.  One of our very favorite ways to prepare leg of lamb is with copious amounts of garlic and rosemary. The following recipe is sure to be a hit on your holiday table. Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary (epicurious)Makes 8 servings Ingredients (all available at The Organic Butcher of McLean)1 (7-9 pound) leg of lamb, fat trimmed to 1/4 inch thick, and lamb tied4 garlic cloves1 tablespoon fine sea salt2 tablespoons chopped local, organic fresh rosemary1/2 teaspoon black pepper1/4 cup dry red wine or beef brothWhole grain Dijon mustard (optional) PreparationPat lamb dry and score fat by making shallow cuts all over with tip of a sharp small knife. Pound garlic to a paste with sea salt using a mortar and pestle (or mince and mash with a heavy knife) and stir together with rosemary and pepper. Put lamb in a lightly oiled roasting pan, then rub paste all over lamb. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F. (Optional: Add whole grain Dijon to the crust, and cook at 400 for 20 minutes, then reduce to 350.) Roast lamb in middle of oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted 2 inches into thickest part of meat (do not touch bone) registers 130°F, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 15 to 25 minutes (internal temperature will rise to about 140°F for medium-rare). Add wine to pan and deglaze by boiling over moderately high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, 1 minute. Season pan juices with salt and pepper and serve with lamb.  

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How to Make Your Own Corned Beef for St. Patrick's Day

How to Make Your Own Corned Beef for St. Patrick's Day
St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner but there is still time to try your hand at making authentic corned beef for the holiday.  Corned beef is a preparation in which a cut of beef, traditionally the brisket, is cured in a brine solution along with various seasonings, and then slowly simmered until it's tender and flavorful. Although the exact beginnings of corned beef are unknown, it most likely came about when people began preserving meat through salt-curing. Corned beef remains popular in the United Kingdom and countries with British culinary traditions. Contrary to popular belief, corned beef is not considered an Irish national dish, but originates as part of St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Irish-American culture. The following is a recipe from Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing for both the spice mix and home curing. PICKLING SPICE2 tbsp black peppercorns2 tbsp mustard seeds2 tbsp coriander seeds2 tbsp hot red pepper flakes2 tbsp allspice berries1 tbsp ground mace2 small cinnamon sticks, crushed or broken into pieces2 to 4 bay leaves, crumbled2 tbsp whole cloves1 tbsp ground ginger Combine peppercorns, mustard seeds and coriander seeds in a small dry pan. Place over medium heat and stir until fragrant, being careful not to burn them; keep lid handy in case seeds pop. Crack peppercorns and seeds in mortar and pestle or with the side of a knife on cutting board. Combine with other spices, mix. Store in tightly sealed plastic or glass container. For our pre-made corned beef, we typically brine cure our brisket for 7-10 days flipping the meat every day or so.  HOME-CURED CORNED BEEF1-1/2 cups kosher salt½ cup sugar4 teaspoons pink salt or Instacure #1 (sodium nitrite), optional3 cloves garlic, minced4 tablespoons pickling spice1 4-5-pound first cut brisket1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped1 medium onion, peeled and cut in two1 celery stalk, roughly chopped. In pot large enough to hold brisket, combine 1 gallon of water with kosher salt, sugar, sodium nitrite (if using), garlic and 2 tablespoons pickling spice. Bring to a simmer, stirring until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled. Place brisket in brine, weighted with a plate to keep it submerged; cover. Refrigerate for 5 days.  Remove brisket from brine and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Add the cured brisket to a baking pan with beef broth and beer if you choose to add beer. We prefer a stout for this step!Throw a couple carrots or celery in there and braise at 350 degrees for 3 hours or until fork tender. Check halfway through to make sure you have enough liquid and add more if needed. Remove and let rest in the broth check seasoning for salt and pepper.Slice and enjoy! Keep warm until ready to serve. Meat can be refrigerated for several days in cooking liquid. Reheat in the liquid or serve chilled. Slice thinly and serve on a sandwich or with additional vegetables simmered until tender in the cooking liquid.  Sláinte mhaith!

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Duck Breast 101
Nothing impresses a loved one more than cooking a gourmet dinner for two on Valentine's Day. This year, go all out with perfectly seared and succulent duck breast. Don't let that layer of delicious fat intimidate you, it's not as complicated to cook as you might think.  We carry two varieties of duck at The Organic Butcher, the larger Moulard (pictured) that is aged for seven days on the bone and the smaller Muscovy that is thin-skinned and lower in fat. Half the battle of duck breast is to stop thinking about it as poultry and to start thinking about it like red meat. You'll want to cook duck breast like you would a filet —seared in a pan and then finished in the oven. Score the fat with a sharp knife, salt the breast, and then let it rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before cooking.   Both Muscovy and Moulard should be cooked fat side down first over medium heat. For the larger Moulard, no added fat is needed in the pan. If cooking Muscovy, you'll want to add butter or olive oil before searing. The key to cooking duck breast successfully is making sure to cook the fat layer long enough. Let it sizzle slowly until the fat is golden brown. Plan on anywhere from 6-10 minutes depending on the size off the breast. Once golden and crispy, flip the breasts over. For the smaller varieties, you may only need to cook through to desired done-ness (we recommend medium-rare to medium). For the larger Moulard, move the pan to the oven and finish on 375. As with steak, let the breasts rest for about 5 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to reincorporate. Serve the duck as is or with the following Cherry Port Sauce: 1/4 cup finely chopped shallot (about 1 large) 1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth 8 halved pitted sweet red cherries, fresh or frozen, thawed 2 tablespoons tawny Port 1 tablespoon orange blossom honey 1 tablespoon butter After searing the duck breasts, pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings from skillet. Add shallot to skillet and stir over medium heat 30 seconds. Add broth, cherries, Port, and honey. Increase heat to high and boil until sauce is reduced to glaze, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Whisk in 1 tablespoon cold butter. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the duck alongside a salad and wild rice. That's it, a no-fuss but highly impressive meal!

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