Writing and photography by Graham Duncan
Creamy, tangy beef stroganoff’s heyday may have been the mid-twentieth century but, based on what we hear across the counter, there are still lots of people cooking it in the early twenty-first century.
The really fun part of doing this recipe was being able to use an all-Sanagan’s shopping list thanks to our new selection of specialty and imported ingredients. And here’s the thing — you get what you pay for. I made this dish twice; once with bulk store paprika and supermarket sour cream and then again with our Spanish Chiquilin Bittersweet Paprika and Sheldon Creek Sour Cream. Day and night! The bulk store paprika has a one-note, chalky, charred red pepper taste. The Chiquilin has a layered, blooming flavour with an emphasis on the bitter. Its finish is long, tasting not unlike a quality Mescal (seriously). The supermarket sour cream (14% milk fat) has four different emulsifiers/ stabilizers listed as ingredients. Our Sheldon Creek sour cream (8% milk fat) has only two ingredients: whole milk and bacterial culture. It’s thicker, creamier and packs way more of a sour punch.
The stroganoff was further improved by our La Molisana Egg Nest Pasta which, like a sitcom dad, is firm yet yielding, and the piquant garnish of Viniteau Cornichons.
The following recipe is mostly lifted from Pierre Franey’s New York Times 60-Minute Gourmet (1979) cookbook which is a fantastic collection of unfussy French-American recipes and techniques. My major variation is the meat. Beef tenderloin, stroganoff’s traditional cut, is a wonderful steak but experience at the store proves many customers are looking for more affordable alternatives.
My first go at the dish featured top sirloin which emulates the gentle flavour and fine grain of tenderloin. But through the dish’s two-part cooking process, I found the sirloin got a little stiff. My second attempt utilized flat iron which was more tender but its broader, more mineral flavour was unmistakable. My wife votes for strog-sirloin-off. I vote for strog-flat iron-off. Either way — yum!
If you’re serving this over noodles, as photographed, you may want to increase the quantities of both the sour cream and the wine slightly, just to sauce things up a bit. Or serve with the noodles, rice or fried potatoes on the side. Once you’ve done all your preparation, the whole dish only takes about seven minutes to cook, so make sure you’ve got your sides timed accordingly.
1 lb beef steak cut into stir-fry-sized strips. If using flat-iron, flank etc., be sure to slice across the grain.
1 tbsp paprika
to taste salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cornichons finely diced
- Measure sour cream into a medium-sized bowl and bring to room temperature. (Approximately two hours.)
- Blend together in a bowl the beef, paprika and salt and pepper.
- Heat a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Add oil. Sauté the beef, stirring frequently. Try to ensure that all surfaces get a nice sear. This should take only two to three minutes. If your pan isn’t big enough, cook the beef in two stages. Crowding the pan will stop the beef from browning. Transfer the meat to a warm plate.
- If the pan appears dry, add a little more oil, and fry the onion, stirring, for one minute.
- Add the wine and reduce by half.
- Remove pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Blend contents of the pan into the bowl of sour cream, stirring gently to create a sauce.
- Return sauce and the beef to the frying pan over low heat, gently warm the stroganoff. Here is where you need to decide how hot you want to serve the dish. If you’re like me and have been raised on the possibly provincial idea that hot food has to be HOT, you may cause the sour cream to separate. If this happens, don’t worry, it’s still going to taste great. But if you can embrace a warm stroganoff, it’s going to be creamier.
- Serve as desired and garnish with diced cornichons.
photos and writing by Graham Duncan
Oktoberfest has a reputation for causing some post-celebration un-wellness. But in 2020, hefting steins and singing arm-in-arm has entirely different health implications and Oktoberfest had to be cancelled.
But it’s still October and there’s nothing stopping you from Getting Yer Ja Ja’s Out and celebrating all things Bavarian, at home, distantly, with masks on, with the windows open, if you all get tested, and inject some disinfectant…OH C’MON — CHEER UP! Any excuse to cook up some sausages and sauerkraut is a good one and Sanagan’s has you covered like a massive beer tent.
Kitchener-Waterloo hosts the world’s second largest Oktoberfest, so it’s not surprising that neighbouring St. Jacobs is home to some pretty great sauerkraut.
Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. St. Jacobs Foods version is naturally fermented using only salt and water and is loaded with healthy probiotics. This simple recipe translates into fresh and snappy flavours and textures.
St. Jacobs sauerkraut is perfect for braising and just demands to adorn grilled sausage on a bun. It’s the dynamics of the sauerkraut’s acidic tang commingling with pork’s luxurious fat. Please see my recipe below for simple and delicious traditional braised sauerkraut.
Ah, but upon what sausage, you may ask, shall the sauerkraut lay? Here’s a trio of tubes that will offer a lot of bun fun and will never sour your ‘kraut. And regardless of what wiener’s your winner, be sure to spread some Sanagan’s mustard on that sausage.
Sikorski Vienna Wieners
Made by the London-based, family-owned deli meat producers, these pork and veal wieners are like deluxe hot dogs. When you bite them, the casing snaps, yielding up the tender meaty goodness within. Grillable, boilable, steamable fryable, irresistible.
Sikorski Debrecyna Sausage
These naturally smoked prepared sausages are customer favourites for evocations of Eastern Europe and offer up a little more heft than their Viennese counterparts when it comes to pairing with sauerkraut. As with the Vienna wieners, when you’re cooking these, all that’s required is to heat them through.
Made in-house with our fresh family-farmed pork and natural casings, these German-style sausages are seasoned with a veritable spice box including coriander, clove, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon and marjoram. It all adds up to a balanced classic and, for me, was the best match with the sauerkraut. Like all of our raw house-made sausages, grill these with a gentle heat so as to not split the natural casings.
Serves 4 as a side dish
3 small yellow onions, peeled and sliced
500 gm sauerkraut
1 tart apple, peeled and grated
1tbsp caraway seeds
1 bay leaf
to taste ground pepper
1 cup chicken stock
As required beer or white wine
- Preheat over to 325°F
- (Optional) rinse the sauerkraut with water and drain, squeezing the water out of the sauerkraut. The more rinses, the milder the taste.
- Melt butter in a large over-proof frying pan. The pan will later require a lid.
- Add onions and fry at medium-low heat until translucent.
- Blend sauerkraut into the onions and and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
- Add caraway, bay leaf and pepper.
- Add the stock and enough wine and/or beer to almost cover the sauerkraut
- Simmer for 1/2 hour on the stovetop, stirring occasionally.
- Cover the pan and cook in the oven for another 1/2 hour.
- At this point the sauerkraut should have absorbed almost all the liquid. If there remains an excess of liquid in the pan, this can be quickly cooked off at medium-high heat on the stovetop, stirring constantly.
- Serve the sauerkraut with your favourite sausages! Prost!
As the sunny and hot days wind down, and people start moving indoors to do their cooking, it is wise to remember that grilling still produces some of the tastiest meals imaginable. And really, unless it’s minus 10 outside you can still get the grill fired up for steaks, chops, or in this case, a semi-boneless half chicken. I use a technique here where I weigh the chicken down while cooking with the skin side down. The result is a slightly charred and crispy bird that is moist and flavourful. Serve with some roasted vegetables and a refreshing salad.
¾ tbsp harissa paste
½ tbsp ground cumin
½ tbsp ground coriander
½ tbsp ground fennel
½ tbsp lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, minced finely
½ tbsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil to blend
1 whole chicken, split in half, spine, rib bones, and thigh bone removed
to serve lemon wedges and olive oil
- In a work bowl, mix all of the ingredients (other than the chicken) together. Spread the marinade over the two halves of chicken and place in a dish, cover, and refrigerate for 8 hours, or up to two days.
- Preheat your grill on a medium high heat. If using charcoal, set the coals in the center of the grill so the heat distributes evenly.
- Place the chickens skin side down in the center of the grill. Cover with a sheet or two of aluminum foil, then place a baking sheet or roasting pan on top. Fill up a couple of pots of water to use as weights and sit them on top of the baking sheet. Cook for 45-60 minutes, or until an internal thermometer plunged into the thick area of the drum read 165°F.
- Remove the weights, baking sheet, and aluminum foil. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, skin side up. Slice the meat into 1” slices and place on a platter. Serve with lemon wedges and an extra drizzle of olive oil.
This classic Hungarian dish will warm your body and soul as the days get shorter and the evenings get chillier. You can make it as spicy or as mild as you want, depending on the type of paprika you use (since I’m feeding a child, I use a mild paprika). No matter which type you use, try to get the freshest paprika available. That means that if you're staring at the jar that you may have bought when you graduated university, it may be time for a new jar. Unless you’re a recent graduate, in that case congratulations! Make this dish part of your adult repertoire – you’ll want to make it a few times throughout the year, believe me! Serve with simple buttered egg noodles, as is tradition in Hungary.
3 bell peppers
3 plum tomatoes
1 whole chicken, backbone removed, cut into ten even pieces
to taste salt and pepper
3 tbsp butter, divided
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 bacon slices, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp mild paprika (or hot if you’re feeling spicy)
2 cups chicken stock
3 tbsp flour
½ cup sour cream
½ cup heavy whipping cream
- Roast the peppers, either under the broiler or over the gas flame on a stove top, turning frequently until the skin is blackened and charred. Set in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cool to the touch (about 30 minutes). Peel the skin and cut out the seeds and core, then cut the pepper into 1” strips. Set aside for the time being.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil over a high heat. Cut the core out of the tomatoes, then score the bottom of the tomato with a small “x”. Fill a bowl with ice water. Plunge the tomatoes into the boiling water and blanch for 10 seconds, then immediately drain and drop the tomatoes into the ice water to cool. Remove the cooled tomatoes and use a paring knife to peel the skin (they should slip right off). Quarter the tomatoes and discard the seeds.
- Season the chicken with the salt and pepper. In a large heavy bottomed pot over a medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of the butter. Working in batches, brown the chicken well, about five minutes per side. Set the chicken aside and repeat until all the chicken is browned and set aside. Lower the heat to medium low.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Add the remaining tbsp of butter to the pot, then the onions, bacon, garlic, and paprika. Stir well, scraping the bits of cooked chicken from the bottom of the pot. Cover the pot and sweat the onions and bacon until translucent, about 20 minutes. Add the browned chicken, the roasted pepper strips, and the quartered tomatoes to the pot with the chicken stock; stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer, cover, and place in oven. Braise for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Remove the chicken pieces only from the pot and set aside. Bring the pot to a simmer over a medium heat. In a work bowl, whisk together the flour, sour cream, and whipping cream until combined. Whisk the cream mixture into the simmering broth, and bring back to a simmer, cooking for two minutes or until slightly thickened. Add the chicken back to the pot and simmer for an additional ten minutes. Serve on hot buttered egg noodles, with the extra sauce on the side.
by Graham Duncan
As a born and raised white bread Scarberian, my formative encounters with offal were limited to servings of beef liver fired in the merciless crucible of my mother’s English-Canadian kitchen. Monotone grey and barely pliable, they more resembled orthotics than dinner. This formative trauma overshadowed my adult life with “variety meats” until once, in Venice, I ordered Fegato alla Veneziana (liver Venetian style). And I loved it.
Now, working in one of Canada’s best butcher shops with our culinarily engaged and culturally diverse clientele, I really have to up my offal game. So, I am returning to Fegato alla Veneziana as a gateway into organ meats.
Fegato alla Veneziana is usually made with veal liver which has a milder flavour than beef liver. Peter and Brian have been striving for years to find a reliable source of veal that conforms to our sourcing criteria but that supplier remains elusive. What to do? Option 1) Mellow the strong flavours in beef liver by soaking it in milk. Option 2) (as suggested by Peter), substitute the milder flavoured chicken or duck livers. Option 3) Embrace the full livery flavour of beef liver, as many of our customers do.
This recipe is further Sanagan-ized by the use of Giusti White Label Balsamic Vinegar from our new selection of fine imported ingredients.
In keeping with the version I enjoyed in Venice, I served the following with simple polenta.
photo by Graham Duncan
Fegato alla Veneziana
1 lb liver: calf, beef, chicken or duck. Beef liver may be soaked on the day of, or overnight, in milk. Dry the liver of excess milk before slicing.
6 tbsp olive oil, divided
4 small yellow onions, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp chopped parsley
To taste salt and pepper
- If using calf or beef liver, cut into 1/2” thick strips, ensuring that the liver is free of membrane and veins. Sanagan’s beef liver has the membrane removed by our butchers. If using poultry liver, leave whole.
- Slice onions into thin rounds.
- Heat 4 tbsp of olive oil over medium-low heat in a large frying pan. Here is a rare instance where a non-stick frying pan may be favourable due to liver’s propensity to scorch on a steel pan.
- Add onions and bay leaf and sweat until the onions are soft and golden brown.
- Add vinegar, stir well, and season to taste. Set onions aside.
- Return pan to the stove. Set to medium-high heat and add remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, sear the liver for one or two minutes until golden brown on both sides. You want the liver lightly seared on the outside while maintaining a touch of pink on the inside.
- When all the liver’s cooked, turn the heat down to low, return the onions to the pan, and mix with the liver. Check seasoning. Gently stir until the onions are reheated, approximately two minutes. Set aside on a platter and keep warm.
- Deglaze pan with 3 tbsp of butter, and add parsley.
- Plate the liver and onions. Drizzle parsley butter over each serving.
Lamb shoulder is a delicious treat, and generally needs to be slowly cooked for a few fours in a bit of liquid to tenderize the meat. In this recipe, I simply use water and let the marinade season the lamb, then use the cooking broth to poach potatoes and onion to serve alongside the lamb. Put some tzatziki, pita bread, and a fresh Greek salad on the side, and you’re all set for a fantastic Sunday meal.
Note: The souvlaki marinade goes great on kebabs, obviously, but also works as a marinade for whole chickens, pork shoulders, etc. Store in the fridge for up to a month.
1 lamb shoulder, bone in, trimmed of excess fat and elastic-like back strap (alternately, you can use a boneless lamb shoulder)
4 tbsp souvlaki marinade (see recipe below)
6 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾” thick rounds
2 sweet onions, peeled and sliced into ¾” thick rounds
2 tbsp fresh mint, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped
- Score the lamb shoulder in a crosshatch pattern at 2” intervals. Rub the marinade all over the lamb, pressing in to get into the depths of the scored meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least overnight, but up to three days.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Place the lamb in a deep roasting pan, and fill the pan ½ way with hot water. Cover the roast with tin foil and place in oven to cook for 3 hours, or until the meat pulls easily away from the bone. Take the roast out of the pan and rest, covered with a tea towel to keep warm.
- Pour the roasting juices into a pot. Add the potatoes and onion, and top up with hot water to just cover the potatoes. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat and cook until the potatoes are just tender, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, using a pair of tongs or a fork, pull the lamb meat away from the shoulder bones. Give the meat a very rough chop (you want the meat to be serving-size).
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes and onions and place in a serving bowl. Add the lamb meat to the pot with the broth, toss in the herbs, and stir well. Bring to a light simmer over a medium heat, then place in a serving bowl next to the potatoes. Serve immediately.
Makes about 300 ml
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
- Blend all ingredients together and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.
This is normally a time of year when parents are getting kids back to school, and dinner has to get to the table quickly and efficiently. This is definitely a strange year, but the idea of a quick and easy dinner is still very appealing to most people. And this one is a fantastic recipe to use up leftover corn. Ontario corn harvested in August and September is some of the sweetest in the world, and if you’re like me you eat it two or three times per week. Inevitably I’m left with a few ears in my fridge. This recipe takes care of those lickity-split!
6 chicken legs, whole
2 tbsp all purpose seasoning (you can use any brand you prefer; I’m partial to the Butcher’s Seasoning from Cured Smokehouse in Prince Edward County)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 ears corn, shucked and boiled to cook through, then chilled
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp smoked paprika
To taste salt and pepper
1 tbsp chives
- Preheat your oven to 450°F.
- In a work bowl, season the chicken legs with the all-purpose seasoning and rub in the olive oil. Lay the chicken legs on a parchment paper-lined baking tray, skin side up, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown and an internal thermometer plunged into the meatiest part of the leg reads 165°F.
- Meanwhile, make the corn. Use a knife to carefully cut swaths of the kernels of cooked and chilled corn away from the cob. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the corn and stir well to break up the kernels. Season with the smoked paprika and salt and pepper, stirring well so the paprika emulsifies with the butter. Warm the corn through, then mix in the chives.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and serve immediately with the corn.
Our chef Anne has a family cottage near Sudbury. Every year she goes for her holidays and upon returning we talk about the unique Sudbury porchetta (or “porketta”, as it’s spelled in that city). Unlike the flavouring of fennel that I’m used to, Sudburians favour a heavy hand of dill with garlic and black pepper. Based on conversations I’ve had with Anne, I believe this recipe could be a legitimate version of a Sudbury porketta, made exclusively with pork belly. I like to serve this with plenty of lemon wedges and Italian chili sauce (bomba).
3 lbs pork belly, skin on, butterflied in half so the meat opens like a book
1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp cracked black pepper
2 tbsp salt
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup olive oil, plus 1 tbsp for cooking
- Lay the pork belly on your cutting board, with the butterflied flap open. Using a sharp knife, lightly score the meat in a crosshatch pattern (this will allow the marinade to penetrate well). Turn the belly over so the skin side is up, and score the skin in a straight line at 1-inch intervals (this will allow for easier carving once the roast is cooked).
- Mix the chopped dill, garlic, pepper, salt, vinegar and oil together in a work bowl. Flip the belly over again (so the skin side is down), and massage the marinade into the butterflied meat. Open the flap of meat to make sure the marinade gets in between the layers, then roll the meat up into a cannon shape. Using strong cotton twine, tie the roast at 1-inch intervals. Place the roast in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, and up to 48 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Take the roast out of the fridge and place, skin side up, on an elevated rack in a roasting pan. Drizzle a tbsp of olive oil over the skin, and sprinkle the skin with salt. Place the roast in the oven and roast for 25 minutes. Turn the oven down to 300°F (with the roast still inside) and continue cooking for an additional 2 to 2.5 hours, or until an internal thermometer stuck into the center of the roast reads 160°F. The skin should be crackled from the initial blast of heat, but if you want it to be a bit crispier by all means send it under a high broiler for a minute or so to achieve the desired crackle. Remove the roast from the oven and rest for 20 minutes before carving and serving.
Cacciatore is loosely translated as “hunter’s stew”, and is commonly made with chicken, although rabbit is often prepared in this way as well. In Italy, where the dish originated, cacciatore is made differently depending on the region. Some recipes call for peppers, some call for mushroom, some call for white wine. Almost all call for a base of onion, garlic, and tomato. In this version, I included a mild Italian sausage, and accentuated the fennel flavour by using fennel pollen, the extremely flavourful dried spice hand collected from the wild fennel plant. I highly recommend you sourcing fennel pollen; its flavour is unreal and packs a super punch in a small amount. However, if you can’t get your hands on fennel pollen, you can use ground fennel seed and double the volume.
Note: The recipe calls for a whole rabbit cut into six pieces. Ask your butcher to do this for you, as the job is best accomplished with a large cleaver.
Serves 4 to 6
3 sweet bell peppers
2 tbsp olive oil
1 whole rabbit, cut into six pieces (legs, saddle, and shoulder)
3 mild Italian sausage
1 sweet onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and finely sliced
1 cup red wine
½ tsp fennel pollen
2 tbsp capers
1 tin (400 gr) whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
to taste salt and pepper
- Roast the peppers to peel them. You can do this in a variety of ways. If you have a gas stove, you can roast the peppers directly over an open flame until they are black and charred. Alternatively, you can roast them on a tray in a hot oven, turning until all the sides are well cooked. When charred, place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to allow the peppers to steam. Let sit for an hour or until they are cool enough to handle. Rub the skin off the peppers (do not run them under water), and carefully pull the core and the seeds out with the stem. Remove as much of the seeds as possible, then slice the roasted peppers into 1-inch strips.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large skillet over a medium heat, heat the olive oil. Season the rabbit pieces with salt and pepper, then place the pieces one by one in the pan to brown. Do not overcrowd the pan as that could cause the meat to steam. Turn the meat over to brown on both sides before removing and setting aside. Continue until all the rabbit is golden, then brown the sausages in the same pan. Once browned, set the sausage aside as well.
- Add the onions, garlic, and carrots to the same pan and cook for ten minutes, or until softened. Deglaze with the red wine and reduce by half. Add the fennel pollen, roasted peppers, capers, and chopped tomatoes, and stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Add the rabbit and sausage back to the pan to snuggle into the vegetables, then add just enough water to cover the meat. Cover the pan with a lid and place in the oven to cook for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the rabbit meat is starting to fall away from the bone.
- Remove from oven and taste for seasoning, adjusting if necessary. Serve with soft polenta or pasta on the side.