There are few roasts more delicious – or simple - than a smoked ham. A good smoked ham is ready for the oven—all you need are some cloves and a roasting pan. The ginger beurre blanc in this recipe is definitely an indulgence, and completely unnecessary, which makes it that much more enjoyable.
Baked Ham with Ginger Beurre Blanc
Serves 10 to 12
1 (about 10 pounds) smoked ham, skin-on and bone-in
20 whole cloves
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cans (each 355 mL) ginger ale (divided)
1 cup water
1 cup white wine
3 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
4 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves (dried is fine)
Salt and pepper
½ cup butter, cold, diced
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Using a sharp knife, score the skin of the ham in a crosshatch pattern at 2-inch intervals. Press a clove into every second X of the crosshatch. Rub the ham with the oil.
- Set the ham on the baking rack and pour 1 can of ginger ale and the water into the roasting pan. Cover the ham with aluminum foil and bake until hot all the way through, about 2 hours. A meat thermometer inserted in the ham should read 150°F.
- Remove the foil and bake until the skin is dark golden, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the rack.
- While the ham is roasting, make the beurre blanc. Pour the remaining can of ginger ale into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the wine, ginger, thyme, and bay leaves, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the liquid to 1 cup, about 5 minutes, then turn down the heat to very low. Gradually add the butter, whisking until the sauce is emulsified. Strain the beurre blanc through a fine-mesh sieve into a gravy boat.
- To serve, slice the ham and arrange it on a platter. Set the beurre blanc alongside.
Braised Lamb Shank is an excellent dish to add to your repertoire. It is a cut that needs to be slowly cooked for hours to break down the tough meat, turning it into a fork-tender supple shank that marries well with many different flavours.
In this recipe, adapted from my book Cooking Meat, the lamb shank is rubbed in a mix of warm spices before being browned and slowly bathed in stock with preserved lemons and black olives. It will brighten the corners of an otherwise dreary winter’s night.
Braised Lamb Shank with Moroccan Flavours
3 tsp harissa paste
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 tsp salt (divided)
4 lamb shanks, about 12 oz each
3 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp smoked or regular paprika
4 shallots, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rings
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 small carrots, quartered lengthwise, and cut in 2-inch lengths
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in ½-inch wedges
2 celery stalks, cut in 2-inch lengths
½ bulb fennel, cut in ½-inch wedges
20 black olives, pitted or whole
12 dried apricots
2 preserved lemon, peel only
6 bay leaves (dried are fine)
5-6 cups Chicken Stock
- In a medium bowl, mix together the harissa, oil, and 1½ tsp of the salt to form a paste. Using your hands, rub the paste all over the shanks, cover, and refrigerate for 6 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 1½ tsp salt, the pepper, cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, and paprika.
- Line the base of a Dutch oven with the shallots. Sprinkle the garlic over the top, and then place the lamb shanks on top of the shallots, crossing one on top of the other. Sprinkle half of the spice mix over the meat and shallots.
- Arrange the vegetables over the lamb. Sprinkle the vegetables with the rest of the spice mix.
- Scatter the olives, apricots, preserved lemon skin, and bay leaves around the vegetables. Pour 5 cups of the stock into the base of the Dutch oven (don’t pour it over the vegetables and meat).
- Cover the Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, bring to a simmer over medium heat, then transfer to the oven until the meat is tender, about 2 hours. After 2 hours, check the lamb. If the liquid has reduced to a sauce consistency, add another cup of stock and cook until the meat pulls away from the bone, about 1 hour.
- Remove the pot from the oven and allow it to cool for 20 minutes. Bring the dish to the table and remove the lid in front of your guests for a “wow” effect.
Paillard refers to a lean and tender protein that has been thinly sliced and gently pounded. It is usually veal or, as in this recipe, chicken breast, but could be done to any tender protein, including some types of fish.
I like making paillard because it allows the chicken breast to cook very quickly and evenly and eliminates much of the risk of drying out. This recipe, which pairs the paillard with a fresh salsa made with olives and capers, will have you dreaming of summer.
Chicken Paillard with Mediterranean Flavours
5 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
12 pc sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 tbsp capers (drained if in brine; rinsed if packed in salt)
8-10 black olives (such as kalamata), pitted and halved
2 tbsp red onion, finely diced
2 tbsp parsley leaves, roughly chopped
2 tbsp chives, minced
1 tsp fennel pollen (optional)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 pieces boneless and skinless chicken breast, each approximately 10 oz (275 gr)
to taste salt and pepper
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the sliced garlic and sauté until translucent. Remove from the heat and put the garlic and oil into a small mixing bowl. Add the sundried tomatoes, caper, olives, red onion, parsley, chives, fennel pollen, red wine vinegar, and 2 more tbsp of olive oil. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the paillards.
- Lay a chicken breast on a cutting board with the fatter end facing away from you. Using a sharp knife, slice the breast through the halfway mark horizontally, stopping about ½ inch away from the other side of the beast. Open the breast up like a book. Repeat with the other three breasts.
- On a separate cutting board or counter-top, spread out approximately a 12” x 12” layer of plastic wrap, wax paper, or parchment paper. Place an opened-up breast on the plastic, then lay a same-sized second sheet on top of the chicken. Using a mallet (or a heavy bottomed sauté pan), gently pound the breast until it is flattened and a uniform thickness (this is called a paillard). Take the paillard out of the layered plastic and set on a baking tray for seasoning. Repeat with the remaining breasts.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high. Season the paillards with salt and freshly ground pepper and rub 2 tbsp of olive oil over them all. When the pan is hot, lay the paillards in, two at a time. Sear for about two to three minutes per side, or until the chicken is golden on the outside and just cooked through. Transfer the cooked paillards to a warm plate while you cook the second batch.
- Once the chicken is all cooked, place each paillard in the centre of a plate. Divide the salsa between all four paillards, ensuring each gets a tbsp of the vinaigrette. Serve immediately with a salad or pan-roasted potatoes.
If you are going to make a beef roast this year, I highly recommend a prime rib roast. This “king of beef roasts” has a ton of flavour due to the marbling and ageing but is also a very tender roast. As far as beef roasts go, you really can’t go wrong. It is definitely a special occasion meal, but if there ever was a time to splurge and celebrate, it’s the holidays!
This recipe is abridged from Cooking Meat, my book of all thing meat. If you like the recipe, please check out the book! We sell it in stores and online, and it is a great reference book for anyone who loves meat and would like to know more about it.
Serves 8 to 10
1 bunch rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
1 bunch thyme, leaves picked and chopped
1 bunch sage, leaves picked and chopped
10 bay leaves, leaves sliced
⅓ cup salt (divided)
8 garlic cloves
¼ cup pepper
1 (7–8 pounds) prime rib, 3 bones, frenched
¼ cup olive oil
Red Wine Sauce
3 Tbsp butter, cold (divided)
3 Tbsp beef trim (page xx) or ground beef
3 shallots, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup red wine + ¼ cup for finishing the sauce (divided)
6 thyme sprigs
3 bay leaves
4 cups Beef Stock
Salt and pepper
- To make the seasoning salt, blitz the rosemary, thyme, sage, and bay leaves in a food processor with 2 Tbsp of the salt. Add the garlic and pulse to chop. Add the remaining salt and the pepper and pulse until well combined. The salt should have a greenish hue.
- Remove the roast from the fridge and rub it all over with oil, then the seasoning salt. Allow the roast to come to room temperature before cooking, about 1 hour for this size of roast. This step allows the meat to cook more evenly.
- Preheat the oven to 500°F and adjust the racks so the roast can fit in the oven. Have a roasting pan with an elevated roasting rack and a roll of strong butcher’s twine ready.
- Place the rib eye back onto the rib bones to recreate what the roast originally looked like. Using strong butcher’s twine, tie the rib bones to the meat, with knots in between each bone. Place the beef on the roasting rack.
- Place the roasting pan on the lower rack of the oven, close the oven door, and immediately turn down the heat to 300°F. Cook for about 20 minutes per pound for medium-rare, or 2 to 2½ hours for a 7-8 pound roast. To test for doneness, insert a thermometer in the thickest part of the meat. The roast is medium-rare to medium cooked when it reaches 125-130°F. Remove the roast from the pan and transfer it to a platter. Cover with aluminum foil, then a kitchen towel, and allow it to rest for about 30 minutes while you make the sauce.
- To make the sauce, first skim off any excess fat left in the roasting pan. Set the roasting pan over medium heat and deglaze with the 1 cup of wine, scraping up any cooked bits from the bottom of the roasting pan and reduce the wine by half. Melt 1 Tbsp of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the beef trim and brown it all over. Add the shallots and caramelize, stirring constantly, then add the garlic and stir. Add 1 Tbsp of the butter and the flour and stir until the flour is nut-brown. Add the thyme and bay leaves. Pour in the reduced red wine from the roasting pan and stock, and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, then simmer the sauce until it coats the back of a spoon.
- Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a separate saucepan and whisk in the remaining 1 Tbsp of cold butter and ¼ cup of wine. Pour into a gravy boat.
- To carve the roast, cut and discard the twine. Cut the rib bones into individual pieces and arrange them on a serving platter. Using a long slicing knife, slice the beef and arrange it beside the bones. Serve the gravy alongside.
A duck roast is surprisingly easy to make, and can be a real showstopper at the table. We have a few beautiful fresh ducks left from our friends at Road Trip Farms in Niagara. These are Muscovy ducks, with a decent amount of fat and a rich ruby-coloured meat.
Here is an abridged recipe from my book Cooking Meat that walks you through the duck roasting process. It is similar to the process to make a roast goose as well – another game bird that we’ll be bringing in fresh this holiday season. Either way you slice it, a carved duck or goose is a great holiday meal!
1 (about 4 pounds) Muscovy duck hen
2 clementine or mandarin oranges
2 whole rosemary sprigs
Salt and pepper
Orange and Ginger Sauce
2 shallots, chopped
2 Tbsp chopped ginger
5 strips orange peel (use a vegetable peeler)
1 star anise
½ cup mirin (or dry white wine)
Juice of 1 orange
2 cups Beef Stock
3 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp cold water
- Two hours before serving, remove the duck from the fridge. Place the duck, breast side up, on your cutting board and remove the wishbone to making carving easier. Save the wishbone for the pan sauce. Use a sharp paring knife to score the duck breast in a crosshatch pattern at ¼-inch intervals, making sure that you’re only cutting through the skin and not into the meat of the breast.
- Roll the clementines (or mandarins) on your work surface to break up the cells of the fruit inside. Using the tip of the paring knife, poke 8 to 10 holes all around the fruit. Place the clementines and rosemary sprigs inside the cavity of the bird, then truss the duck and season it liberally with salt and pepper. Place the duck on the roasting rack and set the roasting pan on the center rack of a cold oven.
- Turn on the oven to 450˚F. Roast the duck until the skin is a deep golden, about 15 minutes from when you turn the heat on. Turn down the oven to 300˚F and roast until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165˚F, about 1 hour. Remove the duck from the oven and allow it to rest, covered, for 20 minutes before carving.
- While the duck is resting, make the sauce. Drain the fat and roasting juices from the pan into a bowl and reserve. Set the roasting pan on the stovetop over medium heat and add the wishbone, shallots, and ginger, stirring well until the shallots are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the orange peel and star anise and sweat for another minute, scraping up any bits of roast that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Pour in the mirin, bring to a simmer, and reduce by half, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the orange juice and reduce by half again, about 5 minutes. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Using a tablespoon, skim the fat from the top of the reserved roasting juices and reserve it for another use. Add the roasting juices and beef stock to the saucepan, bring to a simmer, and reduce by one-quarter. Season with salt and pepper.
- Make a slurry by whisking the cornstarch with the cold water in a small bowl. Slowly whisk the slurry into the sauce, bring the sauce to a simmer, and allow it to thicken—that should take a few minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a gravy boat.
- To serve, carve the duck into slices and arrange them on a platter. Serve with the gravy alongside.
This long weekend, treat your family to a warm and comforting pot roast. Utilizing a tougher cut like beef blade, a pot roast warms your house, your bellies, and your souls.
A pot roast is just another name for a braised beef roast, and many different cuts can be used, as long as it is a tougher working muscle. Brisket, cross ribs, neck, shank: they are all great for slowly cooking in an aromatic liquid for a long time. This recipe, adapted from my cookbook “Cooking Meat”, is a real crowd pleaser.
Simple Beef Pot Roast
Serves 6 to 8
1 (4 pounds) blade roast
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 slices bacon, medium diced
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup chopped rutabaga
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 herb bundle (4 rosemary sprigs, 4 thyme sprigs, 3 bay leaves)
3 cups Beef or Chicken Stock
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp cold water
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Have a roasting pan with an elevated roasting rack ready.
- Season the beef liberally with salt and pepper, then rub it with the oil. Place the beef on the roasting rack and roast until golden brown all over, about 30 minutes.
- While the beef is browning, place the bacon and onions in a large ovenproof pot over medium heat, stir well, cover the pot, and let cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, and rutabaga, stir, and cover again, sweating all the vegetables until fragrant and softened, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir well, then deglaze the pot with the wine.
- Add the herb bundle to the pot and season the contents of the pot with salt and pepper. Add the browned beef and turn the oven to 300°F.
- Add the stock to the pot and bring it to a simmer over medium heat, ladling off and discarding any scum as it rises to the surface. Once it’s simmering, cover the pot and place in the oven for 1 hour.
- Lift the lid, turn the beef over, and return to the oven until fork-tender, about 1½ hours. Carefully transfer the meat to the cutting board and tent it loosely with aluminum foil to keep it warm. Discard the herb bundle.
- Strain the braising liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids. Place the liquid in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water. Slowly pour the cornstarch slurry into the braising liquid, whisking to incorporate, and simmer until thickened. If the sauce seems too thin, make a little more slurry and add it in the same way.
- To serve, slice the beef against the grain and arrange it on a serving platter. Drizzle with some of the sauce and pour the rest into a gravy boat to serve alongside.
Here’s my recipe for a simple roast chicken, adapted from my book “Cooking Meat”. It’s a soul-warming dish that works perfectly on these cooler autumn nights.
1 (3½ pounds) whole chicken
Salt and pepper
1 bulb garlic, unpeeled
2 bay leaves
½ bunch thyme
1 cup butter, at room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 450˚°F. Have a roasting pan with an elevated roasting rack ready.
- Season the chicken quite liberally with salt and pepper. Using your fingers, take a healthy pinch of salt and let it fall like snow all over the chicken. Repeat with the pepper.
- Cut the lemon in half widthwise, juice one half over the chicken, and stuff the other half into the cavity. Slice the whole bulb of garlic widthwise and put both halves into the cavity. Push the bay leaves and thyme into the cavity too.
- Using your hands, rub the butter all over the chicken, massaging it into the crevices and putting a healthy coating over the entire bird. Set the chicken breast side up on the roasting rack. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes, then, without opening the door, turn the oven down to 350°F and roast for another hour.
- Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. It should read 160˚°F to 165°F. (If not, return the chicken to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes more and check again.) Turn the oven off, keep the door closed, and leave the chicken inside for another 15 minutes. This will allow the chicken to rest and the internal temperature to rise to about 165˚°F.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and carve. Arrange the meat on a serving platter. Strain the delicious roasting juices from the pan through a fine-mesh sieve into a gravy boat and pour it over your platter of carved chicken.
A good stock is one of the most important building blocks of my kitchen. I use it for soups, for braised dishes, and for sauces. A little chicken stock goes a long way in rice or vegetable dishes, adding depth of flavour that water simply can’t match. A well seasoned broth is excellent homemade medicine when you’re feeling run down. It is made very simply, with few inexpensive ingredients, and can last for months in your freezer (assuming you keep it that long).
Here is a basic recipe for a roasted chicken stock, one of the most versatile stocks you can have in your kitchen. This recipe is adapted from my book “Cooking Meat”, where I use it in many other recipes. Like I said, it’s a building block!
Makes 5 liters
5 pounds chicken bones, preferably carcass or back bones
5 tsp salt
5 garlic cloves
4 carrots, cut in half
3 onions, cut in half widthwise
3 celery stalks, cut in half
1 leek, cut in half
6 thyme sprigs
5 bay leaves
1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the chicken bones with the salt, arrange them in a single layer in a roasting pan, and roast until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
- While the bones are roasting, heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, cut side down, and sear until they’re dark brown. Remove them from the pan and chop.
- Place the roasted bones and onions in a stockpot with the garlic, carrots, onions, celery, leeks, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Add just enough water to cover the bones and bring to a simmer, uncovered, over medium-high heat. Turn down the heat to low, use a spoon to skim off any scum that’s risen to the top of the stock, and simmer for another 2 hours.
- Remove the stock from the heat and allow to cool for 1 hour before straining through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container, like a mason jar. Refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.
We all know that the best charcuterie in Toronto is found at our stores, but perhaps you’ve been feeling a bit adventurous and would like to try your hand at being your own charcutier?
Chicken Liver Mousse is one of the easiest and tastiest “gateway drugs” into the world of charcuterie. The ingredients are easily sourced, the method is straight-forward, and the results are silky smooth deliciousness on toast. I highly recommend trying this at least once in your life, you won’t be disappointed!
Here is the abridged recipe from my book “Cooking Meat”, found in store and at all great booksellers.
Yield: Makes about four 1-cup jars
1 pound chicken livers
½ cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup cold butter, diced, plus 1 Tbsp butter for cooking
1 cup minced shallots
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp chopped thyme
1 bay leaf
½ tsp ground paprika
½ cup brandy
¼ cup rendered chicken schmaltz or duck fat (optional)
- Clean the livers by trimming them of any visible fat, green bits (which would be from the connected gall bladder), or excess membrane. Place the livers in a bowl, cover with the milk, and allow to soak for 1 hour. Discard the milk, rinse the livers well, and dry them completely using a towel. Remove as much moisture as possible so they fry well.
- Season the livers liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add half the livers to the pan and cook until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked livers to a plate to cool. Repeat with the remaining livers. Turn down the heat to medium.
- Melt 1 Tbsp of butter in the pan, then add the shallots, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and paprika and sweat until the shallots are translucent. Deglaze the pan with the brandy, scraping all the bits off the bottom of the pan, and cook until the brandy is reduced by half, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Place the chicken livers and shallot mixture in a blender and purée on high speed. Gradually add the remaining 1 cup of cold butter, stirring until fully emulsified. Season, if needed. Strain the purée through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean measuring jug.
- Have ready four sterilized 1-cup jars with lids. If using, melt the schmaltz (or duck fat) in a pot over low heat.
- Fill each jar three-quarters full with the liver mixture, then spoon 1 Tbsp of the hot fat over each mousse to prevent it from oxidizing. Tightly seal the lids and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to develop. The mousse will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
Note: if not using schmaltz or duck fat, I would apply a layer of plastic wrap to the top of the chilled and set mousse. This will help prevent oxidization.