Chicken Caesar Redux

Sure, you could make a regular Caesar salad and throw some grilled chicken strips on it. Or you could level up with this spin on the classic! The star of this recipe is easily the Brussels sprouts, which have the classic flavours of a Caesar salad. The marinade for the chicken breast is very versatile, and works especially well on pork, lamb, and chicken for kebabs. Any extra can be frozen in an air-tight container and saved for six months. The cutlets can be any thickness, but I like them thin so the marinade really penetrates the meat.

Serves 4

Ingredients

Marinade

4 tbsp                   salt
1 tbsp                   ground black pepper
1.5 tbsp                dried oregano
6 tbsp                   lemon juice
4 tbsp                   garlic cloves, peeled and chopped finely
2 tbsp                   hot mustard
1 cup                     olive oil
2 tsp                     paprika

1.5 to 2 lbs          chicken breast, boneless and skinless, sliced into cutlets
2 tbsp                  olive oil

Brussels Sprouts

5 cups                   Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and quartered
4 cloves                garlic, minced
To taste                salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp                   olive oil
3 tbsp                    mayonnaise
1 tbsp                    fish sauce
2 tbsp                    grated Parmagiano Reggiano, plus another 1-2 tbsp for garnishing the sprouts
1 tbsp                    red wine vinegar
3 tbsp                    sliced green onions

Method

  1. Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a bowl, whisking well. In a shallow container, place the chicken breasts and add enough marinade to cover well. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to six hours. Store the remaining marinade in the fridge (up to 7 days) or freezer (up to six months).
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  3. In a bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with the garlic and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Lay them out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and place in the oven to roast for twenty minutes, turning once at the halfway mark. When golden brown and slightly crispy, remove from oven.
  4. While the Brussels sprouts are roasting, cook the chicken cutlets. Preheat two heavy bottomed sauté pans on a medium high heat on the stovetop. Add a tbsp of olive oil to each pan and fry the cutlets, 2-3 cutlets at a time, for about 4 minutes per side, or until fully cooked. Use an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature. The cutlets are cooked at 160°F. Remove from pan and keep warm; continue cooking the remaining cutlets until they are all cooked.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise, fish sauce, 2 tbsp grated Parmigiano, red wine vinegar, and green onions. Season with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. When the Brussels sprouts are finished roasting, toss them in the bowl with the dressing while still hot.
  6. To serve, slice the chicken cutlets and arrange on a platter or individual plates. Spoon the Brussels sprouts on the side and top with more freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Springtime Grillables

Lose the Pan. Let’s have a Grill-demic!

Barbecue season is upon us and it’s one of the simple pleasures we can still indulge in. It’s a lot easier to maintain physical distancing when you’re in a big cloud of grill smoke. The only thing easier than marinating some meat and throwing it on the fire is to let Sanagan’s do the marinating for you.

We make the kitchen math so simple: Marinade X + Meat Y x grill flavour + beverage = a memorable munch.

Here’s a list of some of our most popular preparations available at our Kensington store. Supplies will vary at the Gerrard shop.

Photos: Top Row, Left to Right: Hanger Chimichurri, Cuban Bavette, Herb & Garlic Lamb, Pork Souvlaki

Second Row: Teriyaki Short Ribs, Bulgogi Pork Belly

Plate: Jerk Chicken, Honey Dijon Wings

 

Chimichurri Hanger Steak

This elegant Argentinian/Uruguayan marinade featuring red wine vinegar, garlic, shallots and parsley lets the big mineral beefy flavour of the hanger steak shine. Be sure to slice across the grain for ultimate tenderness. Our head butcher, Jerry, also recommends chimichurri as an accompanying sauce to any grilled steak. Play true to type on this one and serve it with an Argentinian Malbec.

Cuban Bavette

You might know the full-flavoured open-grained bavette steak in its classic French iteration as steak frites but we also love its interplay with our bright citric Cuban marinade. With lime, lemon and cilantro leading the way, we give the bavette a Cuban revolution. Capitalize on those citric notes with a wheat beer.

Herb and Garlic Boneless Lamb Sirloin

Parsley, thyme, rosemary, garlic, onion etc. point things in a French direction and complement the alluring flavour of our fresh young Ontario lamb. With the bone out of the equation, you can grill these butterflied lamb sirloins just like a steak. Amplify the Gallic theme with an affordable bottle of Côte du Rhône red.

Pork Souvlaki Skewers

You can do Taste of the Danforth right in your backyard or on your deck with our chunks of pork shoulder tenderized by lemon and boldly flavoured with oregano, garlic and chili flakes. In a pita or with a salad, these are so delicious. They’re not always easy to find but Greek reds made from the Agioritiko grape would pair well with the skewers, or try a craft brew IPA.

Teriyaki Short Ribs

The short rib is normally a slow cooking piece of beef you associate with mid-winter braises. But slice them cell phone thin on the butcher’s bandsaw, marinate them in an irresistible combination of soy, mirin, ginger, etc. and you’ve got a Sanagan’s all-time best seller. It only takes about 8 minutes to grill up a big batch of these. And, based upon personal experience, not much longer to eat them. Try them with a full-bodied New World Cabernet Sauvignon.

Bulgogi Pork Belly

It may be some time before we can ramble to Koreatown for a grill-fest but these are just as tasty. Enlivened by, among other things, gochujang sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil, throw these on the grill and in no time you’ve got a plate full of juicy barbecued Korean bacon. Cold lagers forever!

Jerk Chicken

Another Sanagan’s classic. Slathered in warm Caribbean spices and a touch of Scotch Bonnet heat, these leg pieces are what grills are made for. But like many other items on this list, they also work great in the oven. Guinness or Red Stripe would maintain an Island theme or try a Chilean Shiraz/Syrah.

Honey Dijon Chicken Wings

Along with it being my burlesque name, honey dijon may make you shuffle off your Buffalo wings allegiance. Honey sweetness contrasted by mustard’s corrective zap and a touch of horse radish, even more zap, makes our chicken wings take flight. I dare you to eat just 20. A semi-dry Riesling would be perfect with these.

Bacon, Pea, and Gruyere Risotto

In the north-eastern part of Italy, close to Venice, risotto tends to be slightly wetter than in other regions. This recipe is a play on the classic Venetian Risi e Bisi, translated as “Rice and Peas”, that uses the regional rice varietal “Vialone Nano”, but regular arborio or Carnaroli also works. I use some smoky bacon and the nutty Swiss Gruyere cheese to create a stick-to-your ribs type of risotto that will leave you full, warm, and ready for the start of summer!

Serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main course

Ingredients

1 L                         chicken stock
1 tbsp                    shallot, minced
3 slices                 bacon, finely chopped
2 tbsp                   butter, divided in half
1                             bay leaf
1 cup                     vialone nano, arborio, or carnaroli rice
2 tbsp                   white wine (pinot grigio or other mildly flavoured wine)
1 cup                     frozen green peas, or fresh if possible
2 cups                   gruyere cheese, grated

Method

  1. In a large pot, bring the stock to a simmer over a low heat.
  2. In a sauce pan over a medium heat, sweat the shallots and bacon in 1 tbsp of butter. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the bacon fat has been rendered and the shallots are translucent. Add the rice and the bay leaf and stir well, cooking for another minute. Add the white wine, stir, and allow to evaporate.
  3. Add the hot stock to the rice 1 cup at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding another cup. Continue stirring while adding the stock. Test the rice for doneness after 3 cups have been added, and add a bit more stock if necessary. This will take about 20 to 30 minutes, and the rice should have a bit of a chew but be fully cooked through the grain. At the fifteen-minute mark, add the frozen peas (if using fresh peas add them at the ten-minute mark). The finished risotto should be wet, like a soupy porridge consistency.
  4. Once the rice is cooked, take the pan off the heat and vigorously stir in the gruyere and the second tablespoon of butter. Pour into a dish and serve immediately.

HIGHER FARE FROM LOWER CANADA

Tourtière is one of our best-selling items during the holidays. Quebecois in origin, the meat pie dates back to the region’s colonial settlements where it became part of the Christmas Réveillon feast. Luckily, the French-Canadians were kind enough to eventually disseminate their delicious dish across Canada and parts of New England. We sell it year round but for many people it’s still a holiday specialty.

If anyone doubts the exclusively Canadian origin of tourtière you need only to consult The Larousse Gastronomique to confirm that no such dish exists in France. It is the butter tart of main courses.

Like any good creation myth, the origins of the term tourtière are up for debate. There are two main schools of thought; the pan people and the pigeon people. The pan folk hold dear the notion that tourtière derives its name from the French ceramic tourtière dish in which you cook a pie or a tourte. Like how a casserole comes in a casserole. In the opposing camp are the pigeon people who believe, as states The Laura Secord Canadian Cookbook, that “originally this French-Canadian specialty was prepared with passenger pigeons or tourtes as they were known in French”. Regardless, we hold it as a matter of faith that our tourtières are the best in town.

When making tourtière the Sanagan’s kitchen starts with our house-made pastry which is filled with onion, bacon and ground pork simmered in milk with pepper, clove, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and thyme.

Purchased cooked, they only need to be reheated. Or take home a frozen one and finish it in the oven for a fresh-baked experience. Either way, they bring a delectable feast of culinary Canadiana to your table.

If you’re thinking of adding tourtière to your Sanagan’s shopping list for the holidays be sure to place your order soon. It’s an old-time favourite that sells out fast.

ABOVE THE SCENES WITH THE SANAGAN’S KITCHEN TEAM

As you stroll through Sanagan’s your eyes hungrily survey our prepared foods; the pies, sandwiches, soups, salads, condiments, pickles, etc. Unseen are the creators of this cornucopia, Chef de Cuisine Anne Hynes and her kitchen team who toil on the second floor of our Kensington shop, industriously stirring, simmering and baking up a storm directly above our customer’s heads.

Anne describes the kitchen squad as, “an interesting split of young people starting out in the business and career cooks who look for a change of pace out of the restaurant world. They act as mentors to the younger people“

What may not be immediately apparent to Sanagan’s customers is the truly homemade nature of
our prepared foods. The stuffing and gravy that will be pouring out of the kitchen this December is a case in point. Excepting the quantity, your grandmother would happily recognize the entire preparation. Our from-scratch ethic is also expressed in our pie crust which consists of nothing more than flour, butter, house-made lard, salt, a touch sugar and a lot of expert rolling. And the two most important things that go into our bone broth are a pot load of bones and 24 hours of slow, slow simmering.

Anne emphasizes a sense of staff ownership in all they produce. “We all work very hard on our
recipes, as it is the heart of how and why the kitchen works the way it does. That is the reason why we make such consistent food.”

It’s during the holidays that the Sanagan’s kitchen really kicks into high gear, as our Holiday Menu will attest. And Anne oversees it all. “You need to have a plan to make 200 tourtière”.

If you’re thinking of adding tourtière to your Sanagan’s shopping list for the holidays be sure to place your order soon. It’s an old-time favourite that sells out fast.