As we begin to close in on winter and the temperatures grow colder and more hostile, home cooks (and professional chefs too) increasingly turn to cold weather dishes to keep things warm and cozy in the kitchen. One way they do this is by roasting more meat! The elongated oven time makes the process a little restrictive in the hot summer months, but perfect for the long cold winter nights. While our spices go with just about everything, there are a few select options that we believe go particularly well with roasted meat spices: Herbes de Provence, Kampot Long Red Peppercorns, Smoked Long Peppercorns, Assam Peppercorns, Wild Tailed Peppercorns, Sarawak Black Peppercorns, and Kampot Red Peppercorns. We’re going to take some time to dive into each – their origin, flavor characteristics, and how they pair well with roasted meat.
Let’s start with Herbes de Provence! This dried herbal mix hails from the Provence region of southeast France. The Flavour Fields mix includes five herbs that are essential to cooking in winter – Savory, Marjoram, Rosemary, Thyme, and Oregano. Each is picked at its peak of flavor and slowly air dried – this process achieves a flavor and color that is second to none. The beauty of Herbes de Provence lies in its versatility. The mix works beautifully on duck, turkey, and other poultry, but can be just as impressive when crusted on root vegetables or even a meaty piece of monkfish. This Thanksgiving season, try branching out with your uses for this incredible seasoning – you’ll be so happy you did!
Moving on to Kampot Long Red Peppercorns! This unusual pepper comes from Cambodia - the first reference to which comes from ancient Indian textbooks of Ayurveda, where its medicinal and dietary uses are described in detail. The fruit of the pepper consists of many minuscule fruits — each about the size of a poppy seed — embedded in the surface of a flower spike that closely resembles a hazel tree catkin. The flavor is spicy and warming with hints of fall spices like clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon. The pepper finishes with notes of dried fruit. This pepper is large enough to be grated by hand on a microplane, which really makes it an ideal finishing pepper. Grate it over freshly sliced venison, duck liver pate, or even slices of seared rare tuna. Fall and Kampot Long Red Peppercorns go hand in hand!
Another option in the long peppercorn category, are our Smoked Long Peppercorns. Hailing from Guinea Ethiopa, The long pepper has been used for centuries in Mediterranean, African, Indian, and Indonesian cooking, although it has almost fallen into obscurity in the past few hundred years. The long pepper comes from a flowering vine with large catkin flowers. Within each flower are small black spikes that are the actual pepper. The taste is very similar to regular black pepper, and it is a relative of the species piper nigrum, but with a much hotter taste and an almost earthy, sweet overtone. Just like it’s red cousin Kampot, it’s best grated by hand and the end of the cooking process. Try scratching some over a French onion soup, or wood roasted mushrooms, or perhaps a slab of seared foie gras with blackberry preserves.
Similar to the long red, but slightly fruitier, is that Kampot Red Peppercorn. What you may not know, is that peppercorns can completely change flavors depending on how long you let them grow for. Our Kampot Red Peppercorn is the perfect example. At its first stage of growth, it will be fruity, floral and moderately spicy. At full growth, the peppercorn looks and tastes completely different then its earlier stage. The Kampot Long Red Peppercorn has hints of cinnamon, clove, and is pretty spicy. It pairs best with roasted meats like venison, lamb, and tender beef like filet and ribeye.
Wild Tailed Peppercorns are your go-to spice for the discerning chefs fall menu. It’s earthy vegetal flavors pair perfectly with fall game like duck, venison, and squab. The berries ripen on the vine longer than usual which preserves the peppercorn’s light red color. It’s a great choice for wild game meats like venison and squab. Similarly it goes very well with roasted meats like brisket, pork shoulder, and braised chicken thighs.
Assam Peppercorn may be one of our most unusual offerings. The blackberry shaped grains can be broken up into individual pepper granules. Each bursting with an earthy, woodsy, musty flavor. It is a subspecies of long pepper and has a unique shape reminiscent of blackberries. The spiciness of this wild pepper is subtle and needs some time to develop. It would benefit from steeping for some time in a sauce, or crushed over a slice of seared foie gras with warm blackberry compote.
Moving on to the Black Sarawak Peppercorn. Sarawak is a state in Malaysia, the largest in fact. The peppercorns are grown and processed on the island of Borneo. Black Pepper is produced from the green unripe fruit of the plant. The fruits are cooked quickly in hot water before being fried for several days during which the outer skins shrink and darken into a thin, wrinkled layer. The Sarawak variety is amongst the best in the world – with a bold flavor and hints of fruit, cocoa, and woodsy spices. We sprinkled it on a beautiful whole baby eggplant – fire roasted it – and served it with Basil Quinoa, Tzatziki and Pistachio. It would be just as at home on a lamb chop or roasted leg of lamb. This is not your everyday black peppercorn. But it IS a kitchen essential.So this winter, get roasting! Take some of that extra time and make something extraordinary. These peppercorns will guide your way to something truly memorable! Bon appetite!