Amanda Ray (@chefaray) and I worked together at Auberge du Pommier way back in 2005, under Chef Jason Bangerter. We had a great team back then, with many of the cooks and sous chefs we worked with going on to fantastic careers. Amanda was the type of cook you immediately had respect for. She was fast, detailed, and a very good cook. Her enviable work ethic has led her to rise through the ranks of the Oliver Bonacini company to her current position as Chef de Cuisine of Le Mount Stephan Events and Hotel. (https://www.lemountstephen.com/). I am so proud to call her a good friend. Peter Sanagan Yogurt and Harissa Marinated Chicken Amanda Ray During this time, I, like so many others, have been cooking in my kitchen more than ever before…such a rarity for most chefs. I see so many friends on social media (chefs and non) cooking, enjoying (...well not always) and finding pleasure making a meal, taking the time to slow down. Food is so many things but often we cook our feelings, going to comfort foods in times of stress or anxiety. I know I went through my repertoire of my family comfort food favs. Then I moved on to travelling to other countries to feature cuisines from places I’d either been to or ones that are on my list of places to go next. That’s the only travelling I’ll be doing for some time, I think. The dish I wanted to make was a harissa & yogurt marinated chicken. I love harissa, it’s a hot chili paste that is commonly found in North African cooking, mainly Moroccan, Algerian, and Tunisian cuisines. You can purchase it in Middle Eastern stores generally. Sanagan’s sells the locally made El Tounsi brand https://www.eltounsifoods.com/ , or you can make your own version. I also love using yogurt as a marinade, the lactic acid in fermented dairy products, such as yogurt and buttermilk, react with the proteins at the molecular level. It also creates a great texture and flavourful crust; the dairy caramelizes beautifully. I don’t have a BBQ but there is something incredible about grilling meats that have been marinated with yogurt, it’s that combination of caramelized yogurt and that smoky flavour. Next up, I just need to buy a BBQ & life will be complete! For Harissa (if making it yourself) Makes approximately 1 cup Ingredients: 2 tsp coriander seeds (or 1¼ tsp of ground coriander) 1 tsp cumin seeds (or 1¼ tsp of ground cumin) 1 tsp caraway seeds (or 1¼ tsp of ground caraway) 2 tbsp paprika 1 tsp red chili flakes 3 cloves garlic, peeled 1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded To taste sea salt 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to coat the top of the harissa Method:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a small bowl, combine the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and caraway seeds. Spread the spices on a sheet tray and toast in the oven for 1 to 2 minutes; you should faintly detect the scent of the spices. Remove the tray from the oven and set aside to cool. Add the paprika and chili flakes to the spice mix.
- Using a mortar and pestle (or, alternatively, a food processor), grind the garlic cloves until they become a paste, and then add the red bell pepper. Season with salt, and then add the spices and the 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and blend well. When blended, transfer the harissa to a container and top with some additional olive oil. This will keep for 3 to 6 weeks, covered, in the refrigerator.
- In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, ginger, ground cumin, chili flakes, espelette pepper, harissa, olive oil and salt. Whisk until smooth and pour into a baking dish.
- Lay the chicken halves, skin-side up, in the yogurt mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours to marinate. (You can make the marinade the day before and marinate overnight).
- Pre-heat oven to 400°F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy clean-up. Place marinated chicken skin-side up, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Turn temperature down to 375°F.
- Roast the chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh registers between 155°F and 160°F, 35 - 40 minutes.
Salty, spicy, tangy, and over-all delicious – you’ll be delighted with these wraps! This is a spin on a recipe from Melissa Clark at Epicurious, and while I love the use of the pressure cooker, you can make this easily without one (see *note at the end of recipe). I found that the preparation lent itself beautifully to a hand-held treat. Some ingredients may be difficult to find, but if you’re able to get to an Asian grocer they will have all of these things. This is a great time to go out and support our local Asian grocers, as fear of the Coronavirus has made many people avoid them. I urge you to get out to these stores, there is so many delicious treats waiting for you! Serves 6 Ingredients 3 lbs beef blade stew 2 tsp sweet paprika 2 tsp Korean (gochugaru) chili flakes (if you can’t find this, regular chili flakes will do) 1 tbsp salt ½ tsp black pepper 1 tbsp vegetable oil 1 onion, diced 4 garlic cloves, minced or grated on a microplane 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced or grated on a microplane 1 cup lager or pilsner beer (Asian beer like Hite (Korean) or Sapporo (Japanese) is great for this) 1.5 tbsp ketchup 1.5 tbsp soy sauce ¼ cup gochujang (fermented chili paste) 1 tbsp brown sugar 2 tsp Asian fish sauce 1 tsp sesame oil Asian Pear Slaw ½ Asian pear, sliced finely into sticks (a mandolin works very well)* 1 cup napa (Chinese) cabbage, shredded ½ cup Kim Chi, chopped finely 1 small carrot, peeled and sliced finely into sticks (a mandolin works very well)* 2 inch daikon piece, peeled and sliced finely into sticks (a mandolin works very well)* 2 tbsp green onion, sliced 1 lime, juiced 1 tsp sesame oil 1 tbsp vegetable oil to taste salt and pepper To Assemble 12 leaves iceberg lettuce, rinsed and dried 1 cup short grained rice, rinsed and cooked as per package instructions 2 tbsp ssamjang (fermented bean paste) ½ cup Korean dried chili threads (optional) Method
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the stewing beef with the paprika, chili, salt and pepper. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours (and up to 8 hours).
- Turn your pressure cooker to the sauté setting, and add the vegetable oil. Add the beef and sear until brown all over. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside to rest.
- Add the onions to the pot and sauté until slightly soft and translucent, about five minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for another 3 minutes until very fragrant. Deglaze the pot with the beer, scraping up any good brown bits on the bottom of the pot.
- Add the meat back to the pot. Add the ketchup, soy sauce, gochujang, brown sugar, fish sauce, and sesame oil. Stir well.
- Turn the setting to high pressure, seal the cooker, and set it for one hour. After the hour is up, let it naturally release the pressure for half an hour, then manually release the rest of the steam.
- Meanwhile, make the slaw. Add all the ingredients together in a large bowl and toss, seasoning to taste. Make the rice as per the package instructions.
- To assemble the lettuce wraps, place a tablespoon or two of rice into a lettuce leaf. Smear a tsp of ssamjang on the rice, then add 2 tbsp or more of the braised beef on top. Top the beef with the slaw, and finish with a pinch of the chili threads (if using). Serve individually or on a platter.
Gemelli, the Italian word for twins, is a spiral-shaped pasta similar to a tight fusilli. It works very well with meat ragus, as the sauce gets into the narrow folds of the pasta, reinforcing the overall flavour of the noodle. Braising meat in milk is a very old technique – the acidity of the milk helps break down the protein, and the fat gives the sauce a smooth mouthfeel. You should use very fresh milk, and not let it come to a hard boil, or else you risk curdling the milk. If the milk curdles though, have no fear. It will not have an effect on the finished sauce other than looks. Serves 4 to 6 Ingredients 1 ½ lbs ground pork 1 ½ tsp salt, plus more to taste ½ tsp pepper, plus more to taste pinch ground clove pinch ground nutmeg 3 tbsp white wine 1 ½ cup chicken stock 1 ½ cup milk ½ lb oyster mushrooms, torn into strips 1 cup frozen peas 1 tbsp butter 2 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano, grated, plus more to top the pasta 1 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped 2 cups gemelli pasta (or substitute with fusilli or penne rigate) Method
- In a work bowl, mix the ground pork with the 1 ½ tsp salt, the ½ tsp pepper, the clove, the nutmeg, and the white wine. In a sauce pan over a medium heat, brown the seasoned pork, stirring constantly, for ten minutes or until the meat is slightly browned.
- Add the stock and the milk, and reduce the heat to low. Bring to a low simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by just over half. The ragu should be saucy, not soupy or completely dried out. If the liquid evaporates too much, add in a little extra stock.
- Add the mushrooms and the frozen peas to the ragu and simmer for an additional 5 minutes, or until the peas are completely defrosted. Turn the heat off and add the butter, Parmigiano Reggiano, and parsley to the pan, stirring vigorously to emulsify. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
- Bring a large pot with at least 2 quarts (liters) of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the gemelli and cook until al dente, or just cooked through. Drain and toss with the ragu.
- Serve immediately, and top with a grating of Parmagiano Reggiano, if desired.
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
- 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).
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
- In a large pot, bring the stock to a simmer over a low heat.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
I find that when I want to cook with maple syrup, my mind is always drawn to pork. Sugar shacks make good business in the springtime with hunks of bacon roasted with the golden syrup served with stacks of flapjacks, and it makes a great marinade for fresh pork as well. Dill is an herb I don’t commonly associate with pork, but after making this recipe I think I’ll be using it a lot more with that particular meat. A gastrique is a type of basic sweet and sour sauce, or glaze, and commonly made with sugar or honey, and some fruit-based vinegars like sherry, or apple cider like in this recipe. It goes very well with the leaner pork tenderloin, or even a nice pork sirloin. Serves 4 Ingredients 2 whole pork tenderloins, or one pork sirloin roast (1.5 lbs), trimmed of all fat and silverskin 1 tbsp salt 2 tbsp maple syrup 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped finely 1 tsp ground black pepper Gastrique ¼ cup maple syrup ½ cup apple cider vinegar to taste salt and pepper Method
- Season the pork tenderloins with the salt and place in a casserole. Mix the maple syrup, Dijon, dill, and black pepper together, then pour the marinade over the pork, massaging it into the meat. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least one, and up to 4 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Take the tenderloins out of the fridge and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Roast in the hot oven for ten minutes, then flip them and roast for an additional ten minutes or until an internal thermometer plunged into the center read 150°F. Remove and rest for ten minutes, covered.
- Meanwhile, make the gastrique. In a sauce pot on a medium heat, bring the maple syrup to a low simmer and cook for about five minutes, or until slightly caramelized. Add the vinegar and stir frequently as it cooks for another ten minutes, or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
- Slice the pork tenderloin and arrange on a platter. Drizzle with some of the gastrique, and serve the rest on the side.
Sanagan’s grade A maple syrup is produced in Guelph, Ontario by Shady Grove, the same family who raise most of our holiday turkeys. Shady Grove has 30,000 taps installed in 15 local woodlots, feeding not picturesque buckets but networks of vacuum-powered sap extraction systems. Their sugar shack (a.k.a. production facility) has the ability to process 4000 gallons of syrup per hour. They are serious about syrup and the result is top grade stuff. In contrast to this high-tech scenario I’ve had the immense good fortune, having married into maple, of seeing the process at its most pioneer-like. My wife’s family, The Purvis’s obtained their original 400 acres of farmland and bush near Brockville, Ontario, in the form of an 1812 War land grant. At some point in the 1840’s they built a stone farmhouse. This is the house my wife grew up in, shaded by massive ancient sugar maples tapped for generations to produce the family’s annual batch of maple syrup. #13 Syrup Street If you’re looking for a holistic wellness program, I can’t recommend syrup making strongly enough. Endless lungfuls of bracing fresh air in a deeply natural setting, hiking through the bush carrying heavy buckets, mounting the pick-up truck, unloading the heavy antique milk cans and filling the boiler; it’s like CrossFit at Walden Pond. Graham’s bucket list After your workout you bask in the sap spa, the makeshift boiling tent where 40 units of sap is reduced into 1 unit of syrup and you steam yourself in the clouds of sweet mist coming out of the wood-fired evaporator. While you gently steam, it’s recommended you re-fortify with constant sampling. Boiling Up So, I count myself lucky to be included in this sweet tradition. For those of you who don’t have a tapping family, you can still enjoy this elemental distillation of Canada’s natural flavour. Just include a bottle of maple syrup on your next Sanagan’s shopping list. Ted and Laurel Purvis Ted (right) started early
How do you like to spend your days off in the winter? If you’re anything like me, you’re happy to enjoy the bit of snow we are getting this year, while taking advantage of the opportunity to savour warming, hearty dishes. A couple of weekends ago in Toronto, while St. John’s got hit with a massive snowstorm we received a comparatively small, but not inconsequential, amount of snow. Knowing this snow was on its way, I was happy to have loaded up on a couple of new sausages from our resident charcutier, Scott. Ingenuity and development are two of our core values at Sanagan’s, and few people embody those as Scott does. He isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, but is constantly working on further developing his recipes and techniques in search of the best possible product. His recent improvements with emulsions and sausages has led to three new (for us) varieties: Montbeliard, Bockwurst, and Knackwurst (or saucisse d’Alsace). All three sausages may be included in the classic Alsatian dish choucroute garnie. Choucroute is a dish without a single specific recipe. Rather, it typically includes sauerkraut, sausages, and a wide variety of other meat/potato/vegetable components. For my version, I used all three of Scott’s sausages, a smoked ham hock, sauerkraut, and Cookstown Greens organic potatoes. It was as easy as it could be to make; essentially braising the ham hock in the sauerkraut with white wine and stock, adding the sausages and potatoes towards the end, shredding the meat from the hock, and serving with lots of mustard. This left me lots of time through the day to enjoy it with my boys and shovel the driveway twice.