As the chef charcutier for the entire Daniel Boulud restaurant group, Aurélien Dufour leads a team that breaks down between 4,000 and 5,000 pounds of pork every week, turning it into sausages and charcuterie for all of Boulud's New York City restaurants. Dufour, who moved to NYC from France in 2010, started crafting charcuterie for Bar Boulud; when the group opened DBGB, Dufour crafted a menu of 15 brand-new sausages (all made, he notes, within 24 hours of it hitting the diner's plate) and four new charcuterie items. "With each opening, we [established] new recipes so each restaurant had different charcuterie," Dufour says. "Right now, we have 45 different kinds of charcuterie in Manhattan."
Those 45 different charcuterie preps are all created on a rolling basis at the Boulud commissary kitchen, using 100 percent Berkshire pork sourced from Upstate New York's Lucki7. (Despite the large volume of meat the commissary goes through, Dufour, who is associated with acclaimed Parisian charcuterie-maker Gilles Verot, stresses that it only uses meat from small local farms.) Here now, Dufour plates up the iconic charcuterie board at Bar Boulud, featuring a half-dozen pâtés (including Boulud's famous pâté with black truffle and foie gras), artfully cut chunks of head cheese, and an overall style that Dufour describes as "traditional... but at the same time a little modern."
1. Pâté Grand-mère: One of Boulud's most famous charcuterie items, the pâté is made from 50 percent chicken liver and 50 percent pork jowl. "It's like a cream — when you put it on a piece of bread, it's like butter," Dufour says of the traditional recipe. "It's so smooth. It's a very strong flavor of chicken liver, but it's very good."
2. Jambon de Paris: According to Dufour, it take five days to produce one of these cooked hams, which is deboned, picked, and naturally pressed back together — no additional gelation or aspic is added. Verot's recipe creates "one of the best Jambon de Paris you can find in Paris," Dufour says.
3. Saucisson Sec: This traditional preparation adds red wine with pork and pork fat, dry-curing it for three weeks. It's also smoked before hitting the plate to create "something very rich in flavor, very strong," Dufour says.
4. Lapin à la moutarde: Bar Boulud's lapin à la moutarde (literally "rabbit with mustard") takes a traditional pâté preparation and gives it a twist by serving it as a terrine: Rabbit and blanched vegetables are mixed together with "fresh juice and a lot of mustard," Dufour says, and set with a vegetarian gelatin. Dufour notes he often uses vegetarian gelatins in terrines to avoid crossing different protein flavor profiles: "We respect the product."
5. Boeuf "Ravigote" terrine: In a nod to the classic French "Ravigote" sauce, which features herbs and capers, the beef terrine is flavored with cornichon, capers, tarragon, and oven-ripe tomatoes. "This kind of terrine is something very modern, a new version of charcuterie," Dufour says of the non-traditional flavor profile (for terrines, anyway).
6. Pâté Breton: Named for the French city, this "old-school" pâté features 100 percent pork, flavored with mushroom, bacon, and apple.
7. Fromage de tete: According to Dufour, head cheese is "the #1 most famous terrine from Gilles Verot in Paris." His team cooks the pork head overnight in its own stock, separating the skin and meat the following morning. It's cut into cubes and cooked in white wine, chives, and shallots for an hour before being further chopped and pressed into a terrine with pork juice. It's served in small cubes purely for aesthetics: Dufour notes the smaller-sized charcuterie board at Bar Boulud serves it in rectangular slices, "but for the large board, we prefer the small cube."
8. Pâté grand-père: A signature Bar Boulud preparation, this "very rich" pork pâté features fresh black truffle, fresh foie gras, port, and brandy.
9. Canard aux figues: Figs are infused in Madeira for 24 hours before they're mixed with duck breast (the "canard") and pork jowl to create this terrine, which Dufour calls a personal favorite. "It's something very sweet and salty at the same time," he says. "I prefer to eat it without bread, for sure, because it's not as strong a flavor."
10. Accompaniments: A separate tray of accompaniments features mushrooms, mustard, cornichons, bell onions, and cumin-flavored carrots. A bite of any of the meats, Dufour says, is enhanced by the pickles: "Cornichon is the number one condiment for charcuterie in France; it gives more flavor to the charcuterie."