Hunt Up Some Eggy Quiche This Easter

Hunt Up Some Eggy Quiche This Easter


For your Easter feasting pleasure, Chef Anne is happy to share her Quiche Lorraine recipe. It adheres to the classic format; bacon, eggs, cream, buttery pastry and lots of cheese. This example is adapted from Anne’s experience at Viva Tastings, which in turn, was inspired by Thomas Keller’s version. That’s a quiche with pedigree.

Quiche Lorraine

In addition to some pastry you will need a deep-dish 10 inch pie plate. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness and lightly press it into the pie plate, making sure to crimp the edges. Cover and let dough chill for 30 minutes in the fridge. Letting it rest will ensure that your pastry won't shrink when cooking.

Preheat your oven to 325F.

While your dough is chilling prepare the filling. It is best to use an inch or so of slab bacon, cut into ¾ inch lardons, and cooked slowly over medium-low heat so that the fat renders and the bacon turns golden. Let bacon drain on paper towels before using. One could also use left over ham (about 1 cup), cut in small pieces or thick cut rashers of bacon, crumbled into chunks or a bit of both.

Then, grate 1 - 1 1/2 cups of cheese - using an old cheddar or gruyere.

Sprinkle some cheese over the bottom of the raw pie dough and then sprinkle with the bacon or ham. Top with remaining cheese. Place pie plate on a parchment lined baking sheet (this will help guard against spills and make it easier to retrieve the hot quiche out of the oven.)

In a bowl, crack 3 eggs. While whisking, add 1 cup of whole milk and 1 cup of whipping cream. Add 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper and a good pinch of grated nutmeg. Whisk to incorporate. Pour mixture into the pie plate.

Bake for 1 hour or until quiche is puffed and golden on top.

Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

Speaking of Easter and quiche, lets talk about eggs. Our eggs come from Ontario producers that specialize in “floor birds”, that being hens which are allowed to roam free in their barns without cages and have open access to food and water. If you really want to up your egg game this Easter please have a look at our eggs from Murray’s Farm. That’s the same place that produces some of our prized heritage pork. Each dozen of Murray’s eggs is a beautiful mix of dark browns, light browns and even usually a green one. These beautiful eggs come from an equally attractive mixed flock of chickens. These birds lead an idyllic life that’s as close as you can get to just having a few chickens clucking around out in the barnyard; full outdoor access and all the pecking and bug eating Henrietta could ask for. All of which results in a glorious creamy fresh egg.

Any Paleron is a Pal of Mine

Any Paleron is a Pal of Mine

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We’ve written about paleron, a.k.a. blade steak, before. Peter has a great recipe here ( for braised Paleron in what is essentially a beef bourguignon. In that article he says that “Paleron is not the best grilling steak. Sure it will do in a pinch when you want to save a few bucks and you don’t mind eating around the tough bits.” At $9.99 a pound for paleron, I don’t mind eating around the tough bits at all. I find a well-chosen paleron, if you know what to do with it, can rival strip loin for mouth-watering tenderness and juicy delectability for around $5 a steak. The paleron is essentially an untrimmed piece of flat iron. If you look at the raw photo below you can clearly see the fascia (fancy word for gristle) that runs through the middle of the cut. That’s the main “tough bit” Peter’s talking about. Don’t eat that. What you can also see is fine-grained, nicely marbled beef. Eat that. The other great thing about paleron is that — unlike a flat iron, where the grain runs lengthwise, similar to a flank steak — the grain in the paleron runs up and down like a rib-eye, strip loin or tenderloin. That means, once you avoid the gristle, you’ve got a Lexus steak at Hyundai pricing. The cooked piece in the photo below was cut to 1 ½ inch thick and was sautéed/oven-finished to a very juicy medium/medium rare. This was achieved very simply: Remove steak from the refrigerator ½ hour before cooking. Fry in a hot oven-proof pan for four minutes. Transfer pan to 350F. oven for eight minutes. Rest steak on warm plate for 4 minutes. Then start enjoying that tender, juicy, full-flavoured paleron. And if you get some gristle caught between your teeth, use that $10 bill you saved as dental floss.

Balsamic Glazed Lamb Rack with Pistachio Mint Pesto

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.
Guinness Braised Beef Brisket

Guinness Braised Beef Brisket


There are many slow-cooking recipes that call for wine or beer to be used in the braising liquid. In this recipe I use Guinness. Its richness and sweetness pairs well with the spices and coffee in this recipe. It truly is a great choice for stews and braises but if you have your own favourite local stout, by all means go with that. Added benefit – you get to drink a couple of pints while the braise is in the oven. Wins all over!

Serves 8-10


4-5 lbs beef brisket, preferably from the flat end

Spice Rub
½ tsp celery seed
¼ tsp coriander seed
pinch ground cinnamon
pinch ground clove
1 tbsp salt
½ tbsp ground pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, large, peeled and roughly diced
1 tbsp butter
3 carrots, peeled and roughly diced
3 stalks celery, washed and roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tsp instant coffee powder (or 1 shot of espresso)
1 can Guinness
1 L beef stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 branches parsley
4 branches thyme
1 branch rosemary
3 bay leaves
to taste salt and pepper

½ tbsp flour
½ tbsp butter
1 tbsp English mustard (or Dijon)


Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Mix the spices together for the dry rub, then apply them all over the brisket. Rub the brisket with the oil, then put it on a rack in a roasting pan. Place in the oven and cook until brown all over, about thirty minutes. When browned, remove from oven, and turn the oven down to 325°F.

Meanwhile, in a large pot over a medium heat, sweat the onions in the butter until softened. Add the celery, carrots, and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Continue sweating until fragrant and slightly caramelized. Stir in the tomato paste.

Add the instant coffee and Guinness, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the Guinness by half, then add the beef stock. Tie the herbs together in a bundle and drop into the pot. Add the brisket back to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and place in the oven. Cook for three hours, or until the brisket is fork tender.

Remove the brisket from the pot and let it rest on a plate, covered with tin foil. Strain the solids out of the sauce, then place the sauce back on a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Mix the butter and flour together, and whisk the mixture into the sauce to thicken. Whisk in the mustard, then taste for seasoning, adjusting if necessary.

Slice the brisket and serve with the sauce on the side.

All Beef Superbowl Chili

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.

Year of the Pig


2019 = Pig. Yay!

According to the Chinese astrological calendar, 2019 is the Year of the Pig. Now that’s a chronological event Sanagan’s can really get on board with. Our domestic and heritage breeds of pork, as well as wild boar will enhance any dishes you may be considering for your Chinese New Year feast.

Gwenyn Huang has only recently hung up her meat hawker apron at our Kensington store so she can dedicate more time to her studies in Literature at University of Toronto. We asked Gwenyn what pork the Huang family likes to prepare for Chinese New Year. Here, in her own literate words, Gwenyn outlines the preparation of pork belly fried in red wine dregs.

One of the many dishes we make in our family is pork belly fried in wine dregs. The wine dregs, which is the sediment left over from making Foochow red wine, is fermented and has a very strong flavour and is bright red. It dyes the pork bright red as well, which is why it's so appropriate for the new years. In China, red has always been a festive colour that symbolises fortune and prosperity.

Only a little is needed for any recipe since it's so pungent, which is good because it's hard to come by. (The real stuff is.) My family has a jar that we guard very jealously! But for special occasions as important as the New Year, possibly the biggest holiday in China, we bring it out for sure. But first, we heat a lot of oil and deep fry cubes of pork belly. Then we strain the lot and while the excess oil drips away from the pork, we heat a little bit of oil in a pan. We throw slices of ginger into the hot oil and let it crackle and then a heaping tablespoon (no skimping on New Years) of the wine dregs. We fry the wine dregs for a few seconds, carefully since it burns easily, and then toss in the pork belly. Once all the pork belly is coated and bright red, it's ready to go!

Thanks Gwenyn. When should we come over for dinner?

Bone Broth

January is definitely a time of year when people start thinking about losing those couple of pounds they put on over the holidays, but it’s also a time of year when everyone gets sick. I have a three-year-old at home so I figure I’m going to be sick constantly for the next few years. But I try to fight it, and one of the luxuries of running a butcher shop is that I have almost constant access to a hot cup of bone broth. Bone broth is like a Snuggie for your insides. We make it on site, and sell it by the litre as well as hot, dispensed like coffee out of an urn. People go nuts for bone broth this time of year, and while we’re happy to make it for our customers, it’s quite an easy thing to create at home. Here is the version we make at the store. Makes 4 liters Ingredients 1 kg chicken carcass bones ½ kg beef knuckle bones, cut into small pieces (ask your butcher) ½ kg beef marrow bones, cut into small pieces (ask your butcher) 2 tbsp tomato paste 2 pc Spanish onion, peeled and cut into quarters 2 pc garlic bulbs, left unpeeled and cut in half width-wise 4 pc medium sized carrots, peeled and cut in half width-wise 4 pc celery stalks, washed and cut in half width-wise 2 pc parsnip, peeled and cut in half width-wise 5 tsp salt 2 tbsp whole peppercorns 6 pc bay leaves 8 branches fresh thyme Method Preheat the oven to 375°F. Ask your butcher to cut up the beef bones as small as they feel comfortable doing so. Spread the beef bones and the chicken bones out in a roasting pan and place in the oven. Roast for forty-five minutes, or until golden brown. Take the bones out of the oven and put them into a large stock pot. Add the tomato paste, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and parsnips to the same roasting tray, and stir them around to pick up some of the fat from the bones. Put into the oven and roast for another forty-five minutes, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are golden brown. Take the tray out of the oven and scrape the vegetables into the stock pot. Pour a cup of water into the roasting pan and place it over a medium heat on the stovetop. As the water comes to a simmer, use a wooden spoon to scrape all of the good bits of roasting bones and vegetables from the bottom of the pan, and add that to the stock pot. Pour 4.5 cups of COLD water over the bones and vegetables in the stock pot. If the bones aren’t completely covered with the water, add just enough to cover them. Add the salt, peppercorn, bay leaves, and thyme to the pot and place over a medium heat. Bring the broth to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low. The broth should be just bubbling, maybe a bubble or two every ten seconds. Allow the broth to simmer at this temperature for at least eight hours, carefully skimming any scummy water off the surface. After the eight hours, strain the broth through a large colander, and then again through a fine mesh strainer. This extra step just helps ensure a clearer broth. Taste the broth for seasoning, and add more salt to your liking. And now you have plenty of bone broth to keep you warm and healthy throughout the month. Added bonus, the calories in this healthy drink will help you resist those chocolates and cookies that are leftover from Christmas. Or not…

What To Cook When It’s Colder Than A Gravedigger’s Backside

You know those people who say they hate winter? You know the type; walking speedily and angrily through the icy streets of Toronto all bundled up in two wool sweaters, knitted scarves, long johns, enormous wool coats, and toques with those silly flaps that cover their ears. They are walking speedily because they HATE being outside as soon as the weather dips below 5˚C. Cold weather is like the Death Star to these people. As soon as you think it’s gone for good it pops right back up again. They are walking angrily because they are upset with themselves for continuously choosing to live in this climate. They know they can move somewhere else, like Vancouver, where the temperature is a little more moderate (unfortunately it rains all the time and three quarters of the population have grow-ops in their sheds – FACT), but they choose not to. It could be because their families are here, or their lovers, or their butcher – who knows. All I know is once December’s first frosty night rolls around these people are speedily and angrily walking around saying poetic things like: “arrrgh, this weather sucks” or “why do I live here again?” Well, I’m gonna tell you why you should still live here and why the cold weather DOESN’T suck. Braised meat. There are a lot of reasons to enjoy winter in the city. You can go crazy sledding down the hills at the St. Clair Reservoir (be verrrry careful though…my dad almost got himself killed going down those slopes). You can have a skate and hot cocoa at Nathan Phillips Square. You can build a kick-ass snow fort and battle little kids in Withrow Park. And you can braise meat. This is, in my opinion, the single best thing about the colder weather. Summer is great and all, with its banana hammocks and grilled sausages, but when the temperature cools off a little and the sweaters come out, I crave stews and braises. (I also crave a bourbon, a little Ella & Louis on the hi-fi, and my sweetheart wearing a Snuggie® and a smile, but that’s a story for a more adult blog.) In fact, I have a beef shoulder in the oven right now, swimming in simmering liquid flavoured with onions, carrots, celery, red wine, and beef broth. That’s how I roll when it’s raining and ten degrees out. Ain’t no thing. But it can be. I can be a pompous jack-ass sometimes, as can most people who already have the power of cooking on their side. People who know how to cook should share their knowledge with people who can’t, but not in a way that is condescending, patronizing, or elitist. This attitude will just turn people off cooking. So I’m going to turn the jack-ass knob from ten down to like, four. I hope it works because I really want everyone to enjoy a nice bit of braised meat. Everyone should have at least one braised dish under his or her belt; a dish one can dream about while looking out of one’s office window watching the rain/sleet/snow/Armageddon-Hail fall. Question: What is braising? Answer: Braising is searing, and then simmering a piece of meat in flavoured liquid until it is tender. Question: How is it different from a stew? Answer: Quite simply put, you braise a big piece of meat and you stew little bits of meat. Really, that’s about it. Question: Why do we need to differentiate the two? Answer: Well, I guess we don’t really, except it’s kind of like saying a sunflower and a daisy are the same thing. They aren’t. I love a stew. A properly made bœuf bourguignon is probably one of the most delicious things ever. But there is something a little magical about taking a big, hard, tough, rugged muscle and turning it into a luxurious, soft, fork-tender pillow of protein. You know that feeling you get when watching an old movie at Christmastime? You know what I mean – that warm, reflective, teary type of movie that reminds you about what it was like to believe in Santa? That’s how a well-made braise makes me feel. It takes a long time to make, but once you open the oven and remove the pot lid it’s like revealing a bit of heaven. It’s probably what the Nazis were expecting when they opened the Ark of the Covenant. But a good braise will only melt your face in the same way a wicked Slash solo will. In ecstasy. Common Braising Cuts: Beef: Boneless Blade (Best for pot roasts) Chuck Short Ribs Brisket Shank Oxtail (It’s not from an ox; it’s from a cow) Cheek Tongue Pork: Anything from the shoulder – Boston Butt or Picnic Ribs – Back Ribs, Side Ribs, even Spare Ribs Belly Shank Cheek Chicken: Drumsticks and Thighs Lamb: Shank Ribs Boneless Shoulder Neck One thing all of these cuts have in common is that they are the hardest working muscles on each animal’s body. Shoulders especially, as they not only have to share the load of the animal’s back with its hind quarter, but the shoulder also has a big heavy neck and fat head to carry around. A lot of work that is, so the muscles are pretty tough cookies. You can’t just go and grill these cuts, as you’ll just be chewing for decades. These cuts need Tender Loving Care. Braising in Seven Easy Steps: 1. Choose a cut of meat from the list above, season it with salt and pepper, and brown it all over in a deep-sided pot. (I like using equal parts of butter and vegetable oil to do my browning). Remove the browned meat from pot and put it aside for a second. 2. Slowly caramelize flavourful vegetables IN THE SAME POT. Flavourful vegetables can be (but don’t have to be): onion, garlic, carrot, celery, parsnip, turnip, peppers, or anything else you like that has a sweetness to it. Starchy vegetables like potatoes don’t really do much here. 3. Deglaze the pot with a bit of flavourful liquid. After you have caramelized the flavourful vegetables you will notice there are brown bits at the bottom of the pot. If you add a liquid this will come off and add to the overall flavour of your braise. Liquids I like to use are: red wine, white wine, vinegar, beer, orange juice, etc. You can use whatever you like. The point is the liquid you deglaze a pot with will add to the flavour of the whole braise, so it’s best to use a strong, flavourful liquid here. 4. Add your flavour enhancers. Fancy talk for herbs and spices. Anything goes here, from bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns (classic French) to lemongrass, ginger and star anise (a little more Asian perhaps). 5. Put your meat back in the pot, and then almost cover it with more liquid. The liquid used here is more neutral, perhaps chicken, beef, or vegetable stock. Or just water. No one will judge you if you use water. Besides, if you have a nice amount of flavourful vegetables, wine, enhancers AND meat you’re basically making a broth if you add water anyway! When braising, it is important to barely cover the meat with the liquid. This will keep the meat moist while cooking without making a big pot of soup. 6. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then put a lid on the pot and put it in an oven that has been pre-heated to 325˚F. Check it once and a while until it is fork-tender. This basically means what you think it does – if you can easily stick a fork in the meat and it gives no struggle on its way out, it’s done. Depending on the cut you choose, this can take anywhere from two to four hours. 7. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!!! Let the braised meat cool a bit in the liquid before taking it out and slicing it. If you take the meat directly out of the pot that came out of the oven, then sliced it, any moisture you worked so hard to keep in the meat will be lost in a puff of steam. Wait at least thirty minutes. Even better to wait a few hours to let the meat cool in the liquid. Gently reheat the meat and slice it before serving, and then thicken the braising liquid (maybe by puréeing the cooked vegetables in the liquid and straining the results) and have it stream over the meat like a nice sauce should. Yeeeeahhhh!!! That’s what I’m talking about!!!! Ca-Na-Da! Ca-Na-Da! I dare anyone who “hates” winter to deny themselves the most pleasurable of all winter’s pleasures. Hey, a cold day can totally suck. Anyone who has had to walk through the snowy streets with a hole in his/her boot can vouch for that. Slush is a pain, especially on the stairs down to the subway. Driving behind snow ploughs ranks pretty high on my “things I want to shoot myself in the foot before doing again” list. But just think of that delicious braise you made on Sunday–the one you just have to heat up after work that will fill your kitchen with the lovely smells kitchens are meant to smell like; the braised meat that could even defrost Mr. Freeze. Think of that braise and I promise you winter won’t feel like the worst time of year. That would totally be those two weeks in July when it’s so hot you could fry a duck egg on the hood of a Toyota Yaris.
Thanksgiving When You’re Broke and Alone

Thanksgiving When You’re Broke and Alone

Ah Thanksgiving. I love this time of year – leaves are turning into dried ornaments, the night chill turns us into a nation of scarf-lovers, low self-esteem based on poor body image is all but forgotten under big woolly sweaters. It’s a time when leafy green salads are tossed aside to make way for slowly braised beef ribs. Grilled corn on the cob and seared sea bass with tomato salsa sound great when it’s thirty degrees out and short-shorts are in vogue, but by the time October in Ontario rolls around, that corn is now in a creamy chowder laced with bacon and that sea bass is now swimming in a bordelaise sauce with puréed potato and sautéed chanterelles. At least that’s how it goes in my house. (By the by, no matter how many times I try, I still look terrible in short-shorts. True.) Canadian Thanksgiving (also known as “real Thanksgiving”) also comes at an interesting time in the university student’s life. I never went to university, as pursuing the dream to become a chef didn’t really allow for that frivolous nonsense, but I meet quite a few students due to the shop’s proximity to the University of Toronto. They usually check out the shop, in awe of all the goodies they never saw at the A&P back home, and buy a sausage or a few slices of bacon. Some shopkeepers might see these customers as not very important but I see awesome young adults willing to “try new things” at an age when that statement is most often applied to bisexuality and hard drug use. These students may eventually become regular customers, or they may not, but they will remember the time they bought and ate something they normally wouldn’t because they’re broke. I feel a lot of people with steady jobs and an apartment forget what it was like to leave your parents’ house for the first time. You have no real spending cash, other than whatever your cruddy part-time job gives you for your hard work. You wear clothes that don’t fit properly or have holes in them and pass them off as “hip”, which we all know is not true. You are broke, and that’s okay. That will (by the grace of God) change, and with any luck you can be a tax-paying slave to the dollar in a few short years. On top of being broke, most students are as lonely as Pepé Le Pew in a cat lady’s house. You yearn for companionship, but it is SO hard when you don’t know anyone and everyone seems different from you. Except that no one is really that different. You’re all broke and alone, for now. If for no other reason, that should bring a couple of you guys together in solidarity…which could be a very good thing this time of year, because Thanksgiving can truly suck if you’re a student. Most students have been in classes for about five weeks by the time Thanksgiving rolls up. Some lucky students will use this time to go home and see their families for the first time since Labour Day, and excitedly engross the whole family with tales of new books and clubs and professors over a delightfully big turkey. Other students, especially those who aren’t from the city and have to work to pay for some of their tuition, may choose to just stay in town and wait until Christmas for the big reunion. I admire these students, because no matter how you slice it, they are grown up enough to face what could very well be a miserable weekend. But it might not be. Ok, so here’s the deal. If you are a student, all broke and alone this weekend, and you have even a little energy to try new things, this post is for you. When the rest of us are shoving our heads into the turkey-filled feedbag, you can try something a little different, yet still reminiscent of what this season is all about. You don’t need much money to cook this plate, but you do need a little patience and just one friend. That’s right: a friend. This part I can’t help you with, but I do suggest you find someone else in your situation – perhaps a dorm-mate, or a study-buddy, or that cute boy/girl who works the cash at Tim Horton’s. You can cook this for yourself, but that doesn’t defeat the “lonely” part. I leave that in your hands. Now, I’ll be doing some fancy knife work and cooking here, but you can do all of this with just one kitchen knife, a pot or two, and a baking tray. If you don’t have these things, go and get them. Because that’s part of being a grown-up. And by the way, if you are nineteen and you don’t know how to do laundry, punch yourself in the thigh. You owe it to the 35-year-old version of you to learn this stuff now. So here’s the dish. Ballotine of Chicken with Apple and Sage, Gingered Squash Mash, Roasted Potato, Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Cranberry Reduction Pretty good, eh? Maybe you SHOULD invite that boy/girl from Tim Horton’s. That’s the one good thing about not going home on a holiday weekend: no parents cramping your style with the old “open bedroom door” rule. Here we go. You’ll obviously need some ingredients. I bought the vegetables from an organic market near my shop. Some people would think that this trip would have cost me a lot of money, but it was only $5.46 for: one smallish squash – this one is called “delicata”, but any old squash’ll do one apple a few dried cranberries an onion – even though I’m only using a quarter of it a little knob of ginger one clove of garlic two smallish Yukon gold potatoes like, twelve Brussels sprouts Then I went to a cruddy convenience store and bought some Cranberry juice. It cost waaaaay too much at $2.25 for 250ml, but whatcha gonna do? Finally I went to my store and picked up a chicken leg and two slices of bacon. That cost $3.45. Well, it would have if I didn’t own the shop. Stuff I already had at home was some breadcrumbs, grated Parmigiano, and three to five tablespoons of butter. I also had salt, pepper and fresh sage and thyme (from my garden, silly). First I butchered the chicken leg. I drew my knife along each side of the bone until I freed enough of it to slip my knife underneath the bone. Gradually I cut the bone away from the leg. I made an easy brine by mixing a quarter of the cranberry cocktail with a healthy pinch of salt and a sage leaf, then put the boneless leg in that brine and soaked it for about an hour in the fridge. In the meantime, to make the stuffing, I finely diced some onion and garlic and sweated them out with one slice of chopped up bacon and butter in a pan. I cut the seeds out of the apple and chopped it, sliced the sage, and added that to the pan once the onions were caramelized. Once the apples were starting to mush I added about 2 tablespoons of cheese and 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs and took the pan off of the heat. I mixed everything well and put it aside. For the squash, I peeled the delicata, cut it in half and seeded it. I peeled and sliced the ginger and put that in the squash where the seeds were. I added a bit of thyme and knobs of butter (about a tablespoon’s worth), and sprinkled it with salt, pepper. The oven had been preheated to 350˚F and I put the squash in on a baking sheet. After twenty minutes I flipped the squash so it could caramelize on the other side, cooked it for another ten minutes then removed it from the oven. I transferred it into a bowl and mashed it with a fork while it was still warm then set it aside. I then turned the oven up to 400˚F in anticipation of the chicken leg. To make the potatoes I peeled and quartered them, then placed them in simmering salted water for about twenty minutes, or until they just felt tender. I cooled them in a strainer before tossing them with butter. For the Brussels sprouts I cut off the nasty ends, halved them, then scored the core. I blanched them in simmering water for about seven minutes, then drained them. I sautéed onions and garlic in butter and the other slice of bacon (chopped up), and when caramelized I added the sprouts with a little salt and pepper. I cooked them until browned and set aside. To make the sauce, first I browned the bone from the chicken leg in a clean pan. That took about five minutes per side on medium heat. I poured the remaining cranberry juice into the pan with the browned chicken bone and added the dried cranberries and some thyme. I reduced it by four times so the juice was syrupy and added a knob of butter at the end to give it a little body. To make the chicken, I took the leg out of the brine and lay it flat on my cutting board, skin side down. I put the stuffing in the middle and rolled the chicken around it to make a fat cigar. I tied it up with some twine and seasoned it with salt, pepper, and butter. I put the ballotine (that’s what it is now) on the baking sheet next to the buttered potatoes and placed them in the oven (remember, now it’s at 400˚F). After about forty minutes, the chicken and potatoes should be golden and ready. I took the twine off of the chicken and sliced it into six even pieces. Now I was ready to plate. I put a dollop of squash on my plate, and used a spoon to mush it down. I scattered half of the Brussels sprouts around, and then added the potato. I put three slices of chicken on top of everything, and then finally drizzled it all with the cranberry sauce. Done. I realize I wrote this recipe using a first person narrative, but I don’t really expect you to follow this to a T. The point is to expose you to something you may not have tried before, and that can only be a good thing. This plate cost me about ten bucks to produce, and that left me a few bucks to spend on wine, which is a great thing. So even if you are broke and alone you can get full on food and drink, perhaps with a new friend. At a time of year when everyone is being thankful for what they have, let’s be thankful for what we don’t yet have. Sometimes discovering new things can be more exciting than knowing the same old hat.