Lamb Biryani

RecipesDeveloper Clermont

Biryani is a festive dish that is aromatic and flavourful, and a very popular to serve to large groups of people. This particular recipe feeds 8-10 people, but you can easily scale up if the party gets bigger! This is a great way of feeding a lot of people with a small amount of meat, as the rice really absorbs the flavour of the meat and becomes one with everything. This satisfying dish can be made with beef stew, chicken thighs, or even goat shoulder.

Serves 8 – 10


1 onion, sliced
3 tbsp clarified butter (see note)

2.5 lbs lamb shoulder, bone in, cut into 1" cubes
5 garlic cloves, pureed with microplane
2 tbsp ginger pureed with microplane
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp chili flakes/powder
1 tbsp chopped green chilies (jalapeno works fine)
1 tbsp chopped mint
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 cups yogurt
2 limes juiced

3 black cardamom
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 piece cinnamon sticks
6 cloves

1/2 cup clarified butter

1 tsp saffron
1 cup hot milk

2 cups basmati, soaked in plenty of warm water

*Clarified butter, or ghee as it is known throughout India and surrounding countries, can either be purchased as is, or easily made at home. To make clarified butter, slowly melt a pound of butter in a small pot over a medium heat. Skim any impurities that rise to the surface, and after about 30 minutes you should be left with the clear butterfat without the milk solids. It keeps in the fridge for six months.


1. In a large sauté pan over a medium heat, cook the onions in 3 tbsp of clarified butter until slightly brown and translucent.

2. Place the lamb meat into a large bowl. Add the pureed garlic, ginger, salt, chili flakes, fresh green chillies, mint, cilantro, yogurt, lime juice, and fried onions. Stir well.

3. In a large pan on a medium heat, toast the cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and cloves until fragrant. Cool, then wrap and tie the spices in a cheesecloth or a large tea infuser ball. Add the spice pack to the lamb mixture, cover, and leave on the counter to marinate for one hour. Alternately, you can mix the spices into the lamb mixture loose, I just prefer being able to remove them before serving.

3. Soak the rice in 6 cups of cold water while the lamb marinates.

4. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

5. Melt 1/2 cup of clarified butter in a large pot over a medium heat, then add the lamb mixture. Bring it to a simmer, and cook for thirty minutes or until the lamb is tender. Meanwhile bring a pot with 2-3 quarts of water to a boil. Add one tbsp of salt. Strain the rice and add to the boiling water, and cook for five minutes before straining.

6. Heat the milk in a small pot, then add the saffron. Allow to infuse for at least five minutes.

7. When the lamb is tender, pour the mixture into casserole. Spread the half-cooked rice evenly over the meat, then drizzle the saffron milk over everything. Cover with a tight lid or tin foil, then bake in the hot oven for 30-45 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

8. Serve immediately, perhaps with naan bread and a yogurt-cucumber salad.

Grilled Lemongrass Chicken with Broken Rice

RecipesDeveloper Clermont
I’ve never been to Vietnam, but I’m going to imagine they would appreciate my blatant rip-off/emulation of one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes – Com Ga Nuong. Many Vietnamese restaurants in Toronto serve this delicious dish of marinated and grilled chicken on steamed rice, with raw and pickled vegetables on the side. Always so good, especially on a hot summer’s day; cold beer in hand. I call this a rip-off, but really, it’s more of a mix of culinary ideas. Instead of plain steamed rice, I’ve added savory Chinese sausage and green onions to the mix, giving the rice an added depth that marries well with the chicken. Although, this marinade is so good, you’ll probably want to just use it on all kinds of meat, and serve it with whatever is kicking in your pantry. Serves 4-6 Ingredients Chicken: 1 chicken, about 3.5 lbs Marinade: 3 tbsp lemongrass, finely chopped 3 tbsp garlic, finely chopped 1/4 cup fish sauce 2 tbsp sugar 1 tbsp yuzu juice (or lime juice) 1 tbsp black pepper, ground 2 tbsp canola oil Ginger Stock: 1 chicken carcass 4 green onions, cut in half 1 tbsp ginger, peeled and chopped 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped 1 tbsp salt Rice: 1.5 cups broken rice, rinsed under cold running water until the water loses its cloudiness* 1.5 cups ginger stock 4 tbsp green onion, sliced 4 pieces Chinese sausage, sliced into rounds** 2 tbsp light soy sauce 1 tbsp canola oil Method Ask your butcher to halve the chicken, removing the breast bone and carcass. Or, do it yourself: place the chicken on a cutting board, breast up and legs towards you. Using a sharp knife, slice on either side of the breast-bone. Slowly cut the breast away from the carcass bone. When you reach the joint between the leg and the breast, separate the thigh bone from the carcass. Cut the breast completely away from the back bone. Repeat on the other side. You should be left with two half-chickens – a boneless breast with leg and wing attached. Score the leg three times on each side – this will help with even cooking time. Set the chicken aside in a bowl. In a clean bowl, whisk all of the marinade ingredients together until the sugar dissolves. Don’t worry if you can’t find yuzu juice – it’s hard to get and not compulsory. Lime juice will work perfectly. Pour the marinade over the chicken, mix well, cover, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Meanwhile, make the ginger stock. Place the carcass from your chicken into a pot and fill with cold water. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1.5 hours, then remove from heat and cool. Strain and reserve the stock. Now to cook the rice. In a small pot over a medium heat, sweat the sausage in the oil for two minutes or until very fragrant. Stir in the green onion and the rinsed broken rice, and add the ginger stock and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer, give it a good stir, then lower the heat and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for twenty-five minutes, then remove from heat. Keep the lid on for an additional ten minutes, allowing the steam to finish the cooking process. While the rice is cooking, start the chicken. Preheat the grill to medium high. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on the hot grill, turning every so often until the chicken is cooked through (use an internal probe thermometer to test the doneness – it should read 180°F when plunged into the thickest part of the leg meat). You will need to watch the chicken as it cooks, as the sugar in the marinade could scorch if left unattended for too long. Remove the chicken and rest. Slice the chicken into serving pieces. Spoon the rice onto a platter and serve the chicken on top. Serve immediately with lime wedges, pickled vegetables, and a salad. Notes: *Broken rice is considered a sub-par rice that didn’t make the cut of being whole grain rice, and is therefore usually a little cheaper. I like it because it gives the dish a bit of a rustic feel. **Chinese sausage is a cured pork sausage that is traditionally steamed before consuming. It’s sold in most Asian supermarkets, but if you can’t find any, try a dried chorizo or cacciatore.


Product InfoSanagans

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.




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.

Pork Sirloin Brined in Milk

RecipesDeveloper Clermont
Pork sirloin is an interesting cut. It is the muscle that lives between the loin and the leg, right above the behind of the hog. Due to its location on the animal, it tends to be lean, but not as tender as the rest of the loin. This makes it a little tricky to work with, because it can easily dry out and seem tough if over-cooked. We cut the sirloin in a few different ways, depending on what season it is and what we think our customers would enjoy cooking. Boneless chops (called “buckeye”) are a great easy weeknight meal, but most commonly we tie the sirloin up into small roasts that can feed 2-4 people. As I mentioned, if overcooked this cut can come off as dry, but this is easily fixed with a nice brine or marinade. While most times I will brine meat with a salt-sugar-water blend, for the pork sirloin I like to use milk. The natural sweetness and acidity help add that necessary moisture to the roast, and it’s a pretty simple technique. This type of brine works very well with all cuts of pork, especially a shoulder roast. Pro-Tip: Here at Sanagan’s we have started jarring some of our most popular marinades for the barbecue season. You can slather your chicken with our jerk marinade and your beef short ribs with our teriyaki sauce. Or, as in this recipe, add a couple of spoons of our souvlaki marinade to your favorite meal. It’s a flavour boost that you will definitely want more of! Serves 2 to 4 people Ingredients: 1.5 lbs pork sirloin 2 cups milk, 2% or homogenized 1 tsp salt 1 tsp freshly ground pepper 3 tbsp Sanagan’s souvlaki marinade Method: Two days in advance of your meal, whisk together the milk, salt, pepper, and souvlaki marinade. Place the sirloin in a glass or stainless-steel bowl and cover it with the brine. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge to marinate for two days, turning the pork over a couple of times to ensure the whole thing gets covered with the brine. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Take the pork out of the brine and place the roast on a rack in a roasting pan, fat side up. Discard the brine. Put the pan in the center of the oven and cook for 1.5 hours, or until an internal thermometer stuck into the center of the roast reads 170°F. Take the roast out of the oven. Turn the broiler on high and let the oven get hot. Place the roast back in the oven and cook for an additional 5-8 minutes, or until the top of the roast is a deep golden brown. Remove and rest for ten minutes before slicing thinly and serving.

Balsamic Glazed Lamb Rack with Pistachio Mint Pesto

RecipesDeveloper Clermont
With spring quickly approaching (ok, I know it is officially spring but until I see some leaves budding, I’m reserving judgement…), lamb is the protein on a lot of people’s minds. And with Easter dinner on the agenda, many people look towards lamb as the celebratory meal. Lamb rack is a special cut, usually reserved for dinner parties with friends you want to impress. The rack is basically the “prime rib” of lamb; it has very tender meat, a lovely bit of fat, and is an all-around excellent cut. It can be cut into individual chops and grilled, or roasted whole, as in the following recipe. Serves four Ingredients 2 lamb racks, 1.5-2 lbs each, bones frenched 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 2 tbsp molasses 4 pc garlic cloves, peeled and crushed with the side of a knife 4 pc fresh rosemary branches ½ cup shelled pistachios, toasted 3 tbsp mint, leaves picked and chopped 2 tbsp Italian parsley, leaves picked, washed, and chopped 1 tsp lemon zest, minced 2 small anchovies 4 tbsp olive oil to taste salt and pepper Method In a small bowl, mix together the balsamic and molasses, then season with salt and pepper. Brush the marinade all over the loin of the lamb rack, and then place the rack in a bowl with the garlic and rosemary to marinate. Cover and refrigerate for six hours. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan over a high heat. Take one lamb rack out of the marinade, then place it in the pan, fat side down. Sear for 4 minutes, or until golden brown on one side. Turn the rack over and repeat the sear on the other side, before transferring to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Wipe the pan clean, then repeat with the second rack of lamb. Take a sheet of tin foil, and fold it around the lamb rib bones. This will prevent them from scorching while being cooked. Place the lamb racks bone side down on the baking sheet. Take the rosemary and garlic out of the marinade, then chop them finely. You’ll have to pick the leaves off the rosemary first. Add back to the marinade bowl. Mix together, then spoon the mixture over the lamb loin. Place the racks in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes, or an internal thermometer plunged into the thickest part of the lamb loin reads the desired temperature. Take out of the oven, rest for ten minutes, then remove the foil. Carve in between each bone and serve. To make the pesto, place the pistachios, parsley, mint, lemon zest, anchovies, and 2 tbsp of olive oil into a blender. Pureed the mixture until smooth, adding more olive oil if needed. Season with salt and pepper and serve on the side of the lamb rack.

What's New for Sanagan's Meat Locker

GeneralDeveloper Clermont

Everyone reading this newsletter knows that Peter Sanagan runs two butcher shops in Toronto. But, like any other reasonable, well-rounded person, he had a life before the meat business and continues to have a life in spite of it — a very busy ambitious life. Here are some excerpts from an interview I conducted with the boss regarding the latest installment in the life of Peter.

Graham: So Peter, how would you describe this new project.

Peter: laughs I think you can only describe it as a musical.

Graham: I think it’s safe to say that most people didn’t see that coming.

Peter: Oh, for sure but that’s what’s so fun, and frankly, therapeutic about it; it’s so far away from running two butcher shops.

Graham: So, is it like a traditional singing and dancing musical?

Peter: Yeah, I’m a big fan of the genre: Rodgers and Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Weber, Rent — all the greats.

Graham: Is this something you have a background in?

Peter: Well, before I got into food, I was a bit of a stage brat. As a kid I was in the touring version of the Polka Dot Door. I did a few commercials. Google I was on my way to gaining admittance to the National Theatre School when I got a summer job at Licks, and then that was that. From there it was food all the way. But now I really need something other than work and family.

Graham: What’s it about?

Peter: It’s totally based around my experiences starting up a butcher shop in the market. In a lots of ways it’s about Kensington Market and so therefore about the city itself.

Graham: Wow. So what are some of the numbers?

Peter: Right off the top of my head? Long pause I Can See Myself In That Shop Window; Cows and Pigs and Chickens and Me; Help Wanted - Apply Within; Sing-agan’s…

Graham: That sounds like fun. Are you pitching this to any producers or theatre companies?

Peter: Oh it’s early days for that but The Ontario Cattle Breeders Association is on board.

Graham: Where do you envision staging it?

Peter: Well the truth of the matter is, we’ve got so many talented performers working here at Sanagan’s, that I think I might try doing it in-house. I mean, it’s like the shop is already a stage.

Graham: Does it have a name?

Peter: Oh that was easy. April Fools.

Happy Sanniversary Gerrard!

GeneralDeveloper Clermont

"So, I think I'm buying a butcher shop."

The summer of 2009 was a very different time in our lives, but I still remember the bar we were sitting in (each with our then-girlfriends/now-wives) when Peter told me his next move. He was moving away from restaurants and teaching at George Brown and heading into business for himself at the site of the old 'Max and Sons' butcher shop in Kensington Market. From the beginning Peter saw the opportunity to connect smaller Ontario farmers with consumers in Toronto. It was a risk then, but like the store on Gerrard St. (I'm bringing this all together here...) it pretty quickly became a fixture within the neighbourhood.

Though the move to Gerrard St. had a few parallels (smaller store, window display, more blending of front of house and butchery work), our 'new' space on Gerrard St. couldn't be more different than the original. With the experience we have running the Kensington Market stores, the opening and transition into being a two-location business has been (as far as these things go) pretty smooth. Sure, there were some construction delays and tense moments right before opening, and it's been a lot of work as we get off the ground in a new part of the city, and I probably shouldn't have ordered so much lamb for Easter last year while so few people knew we were even open...but I digress.

We want to use this anniversary as an opportunity to say thank you. Thank you to the tireless efforts of our staff (big shout outs to Cole, Scott, Sophie, Lester and Steven, all of whom were there from day one right through the first Christmas), the support of our neighbours (seriously, go check out Lazy Daisy's, Swag Sisters, The Pantry, Godspeed Brewery, Pizzeria via Mercanti, The Flying Pony, Glory Hole Doughnuts and all the other great neighbourhood shops!) and our incredible and loyal customers (both the group that has shopped with us in Kensington for years, and the group that is discovering us for the first time).

The Gerrard St. store has been a great opportunity for us in a number of ways. The greatest of these opportunities is that this store provides us the means to connect a new neighbourhood with the spectacular Ontario producers we work with. We truly believe that supporting local producers is not only better for our community as a whole, but that Ontario producers have some really kick-ass products, and that should be celebrated.

Please come down to the Gerrard St. store on Sunday, March 17th for some samples and anniversary specials. Thanks for a great first year Gerrard St!

All Beef Superbowl Chili

RecipesDeveloper Clermont
No food screams Superbowl to me like chili. Admittedly, I’m not the biggest football fan, but I love watching any sports game when there are high stakes. Speaking of stakes, I would gamble that this chili, created by Chef Anne and her team, will be your new go to recipe for game day. Hut, hut, hike y’all! Make about two liters, or enough for six healthy servings Ingredients 800 gr ground beef, preferably from the blade 2 tbsp vegetable oil 1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced 1 celery stalk, washed and finely diced ½ pc red bell pepper 2 tbsp garlic, peeled and minced 2 tbsp chili powder 1 tbsp Spanish paprika 2 tsp ground coriander 2 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp dried oregano 1/3 cup tomato paste 1/3 cup water 500 ml plum tomatoes, canned 1 tbsp chipotle, canned 1 heaping cup red kidney beans, canned, drained 1 heaping cup black beans, canned, drained 1 cup beef stock 3 tbsp fresh cilantro, leaves picked, washed, and chopped 1 tsp brown sugar 1 tbsp lime juice to taste salt and pepper Method In a large pot over a medium heat, brown the beef in 2 tbsp of vegetable oil. Once brown, drain off excess oil and set the beef aside. In the same pot, warm up 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and add the onions and sweat for five minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and sweat for two minutes, or until fragrant. Add the bell peppers and celery and continue cooking and stirring for another few minutes. Turn the heat down to low and add all of the dried spices. Stir well and cook for five minutes, or until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and water to the pot, and stir well, creating a loose paste. Simmer for ten minutes to create your chili base. Season with salt and pepper. Pass the tomatoes and the chipotle peppers through a food mill or food ricer. If you don’t have a food mill, use a food processor, but bear in mind that the tomato seeds may leave a bit of a bitter taste in your chili. Not the end of the world, but a decent reason to get a food mill. Add the tomato/chipotle mix and the cooked beef back to the pot, as well as the drained kidney beans. Add the beef stock, and stir to mix everything together. Bring the chili to a simmer on a low heat, cover, and simmer for about 2 hours, or until the beef is tender. Stir every once and a while to prevent the meat from sticking to the bottom. For the last 15 minutes or so of cooking, add the black beans and the cilantro. This will help retain the structure of the beans. Add the sugar and lime juice, and adjust seasoning. The chili should be tangy and spicy with a hint of sweetness.