I love a good “parm”. Normally made with breaded eggplant or a meat cutlet, fried until golden, then topped with tomato sauce and cheese and baked until golden brown, parmigiana is a classic comfort food. This version is a bit different, mainly because I don’t use a breaded cutlet. This is especially good for people who are cutting out gluten for one reason or another, but still want that luscious and zingy “parm” flavour. Enjoy with a salad and a glass of fruity red wine.
4 pork rib chops
to taste salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
8 tbsp tomato sauce (make your own or buy a top-quality brand, like ours)
1-2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Season the pork chops liberally with salt and pepper, then rub them all over with the oil.
- In a heavy bottomed skillet or sauté pan over a medium-high heat, sear the pork chops until golden on both sides.
- Line a thick baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the seared chops on the tray and bake until an internal thermometer reads 160°F, about 4-5 minutes.
- Remove the pork chops from the oven, then turn the broiler to high. Move the oven rack to its highest position.
- Spoon 2 tbsp of tomato sauce on the top of each pork chop, then liberally sprinkle with the mozzarella. Place on the top oven rack and broil until the cheese has melted and turned golden brown.
- Cool slightly before serving (that cheese is gonna be ooey-gooey good and hot!).
A ballotine is an excellent dish to cook when you really want to stretch your meat. Made with poultry, game birds, or rabbit, a ballotine is just a boneless piece of the meat (I like the leg), stuffed with a filling (can be whatever you like, including traditional Thanksgiving turkey stuffing), then tied into a neat bundle before roasting. This recipe calls for Chinese Five Spice and brown sugar, which gives the dish a nice baking-spice element that is lovely this time of year. Enjoy with some roasted parsnips and a bright green salad.
1 cup short grained sticky rice
1 pc mild pork sausage (I like to use the small Chinese sausages found in Asian markets, but any fresh sausage will do. You need about 4-5 oz of sausage meat all together.)
1 pinch salt
2 tbsp green onion, sliced thinly
2 tbsp Chinese Five Spice powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp salt
2 chicken legs, boneless but with the skin on (ask your butcher to do this, or see my method in Cooking Meat, my book available everywhere good books are sold, including here!)
2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
- Cook the rice as per the package instructions. Add the raw sausage and the pinch of salt to the pot with the rice before starting to cook.
- Meanwhile, debone the chicken leg (if you are doing it yourself). Otherwise, mix the Five Spice, brown sugar, and tbsp of salt together on a small bowl and set aside.
- Once the rice is cooked and steamed, set aside to cool for 45 minutes or so, until it is cool enough to handle. Remove the sausage and chop it up into bite-sized pieces. Fluff the rice with a fork and mix in the green onion and the cut-up sausage.
- Lay each boneless chicken leg on your work surface, skin side down. Wet your fingers with warm water (this will help prevent rice from sticking to your fingers), then add about 2-3 tbsp of the sticky rice mixture on the chicken meat, and form it into a cylinder. Roll the chicken meat around the rice in tight roll, and secure the ballotine with at least three pieces of twine. Repeat with the second chicken leg.
- Season the chicken ballotines all over with the Five Spice mixture. Place in a fridge, uncovered, to marinate for one hour before cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Take the ballotines out of the fridge. Place a large oven-proof skillet or sauté pan over a medium high heat. Once hot, add the oil to the pan, then add the ballotines to the hot oil. Brown on all sides (about 1.5-2 minutes per side) before placing the pan in the oven to roast. Cook for about 12-15 minutes, or until an internal thermometer plunged into the center of the ballotines reads 165°F.
- Remove from the oven and cool slightly before removing the twine, slicing the ballotines, and serving.
Many people consider a rack of lamb to be too fancy to serve on a regular weeknight. The reality is, while the rack is generally the most expensive cut of lamb, it is also super tender, mild in flavour, and, once marinated, takes less than an hour to cook. I highly recommend it the next time you’re thinking of ideas for a roast.
2 lamb racks, frenched
to taste salt
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped and divided in half
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tbsp olive oil, divided in half
to taste ground pepper
2 sheets aluminum foil, about 8 inches square each (optional)
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
½ cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- Season the lamb racks with salt and set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, 1 tbsp of rosemary, the fish sauce, 1 tbsp of olive oil, and the pepper. Spoon the marinade over the meat of the lamb racks and massage the marinade in well. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- In a large ovenproof pan, heat the remaining olive oil over a high heat. Sear the lamb rack on all sides until golden brown. Use a sheet of aluminum foil to wrap around the bones of each rack – this is optional but will prevent the bones from scorching in the oven. Once browned, place the pan with both racks of lamb in the oven and roast until an internal thermometer plunged into the center of the lamb reads 130°F, about 30 minutes. Remove the racks of lamb from the oven then turn the oven up to 425°F.
- Meanwhile, make the herb crust. In a food processor, add the parsley and chives with the second tbsp of rosemary and the breadcrumbs. Puree on high for 30 seconds, or until the breadcrumb mixture is bright green and well blended. Remove the mix from the food processor and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Brush the meaty top side of each lamb rack with the Dijon mustard. Liberally sprinkle the racks with the herb crust, then place the pan back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes, or until the herbs have slightly browned and an internal thermometer plunged into the center of the roast reads 140°F (medium to medium well. If you prefer your lamb less cooked, reduce the cooking time at each stage to have a finished roast temperature of 130°F. Remove the lamb from the oven and rest for five minutes before slicing into individual chops and serving.
Salmon is a big hit around my house. I can sear it, grill it, roast it, and every time my whole family loves it. There are different species of salmon (in this recipe I used “Spring” or Chinook Salmon, which has a lovely fattiness and mild flavour) but any will do for a recipe like this. I love baking fish in puff pastry, as it looks super impressive when brought out to the table, as if the cook spent hours slaving over the dish. In reality, as long as you have some good puff pastry available (store bought is fine), this dish doesn’t take very long to make, and can even be assembled a day ahead! I like to serve this with a light salad and a mayonnaise-based sauce on the side (see recipe below), but a butter-based sauce (like a beurre blanc or a hollandaise) works beautifully here as well.
1 lb fresh salmon fillet, skin removed
to taste salt and pepper
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped and divided in two
2 tbsp butter
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups button mushroom, sliced
a splash vermouth (optional)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 lb spinach leaves, washed
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg (for egg wash)
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Season the salmon fillet on either side with salt and pepper. Brush the top side with the Dijon mustard, then sprinkle the mustard side with 1 tbsp of chopped dill. Set aside.
- In a large sauté pan over a medium high heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with a clean kitchen towel. Add the mushrooms to the sauté pan and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have released their juices and are wilted: about 5 more minutes. Add the lemon juice and the vermouth (if using), then add the spinach. Season with salt and pepper and stir frequently until the spinach has wilted. Transfer the cooked mushrooms and spinach to the towel-lined baking tray to cool and drain.
- Lay the first sheet of puff pastry down on a cutting board. Once the spinach mixture is cool to the touch, spoon it into a square in the center of the puff pastry. Place the salmon fillet on top of the vegetables and gently press down. Make the egg wash by beating the egg well with 1 tbsp of cold water, then using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash on the pastry all around the salmon and vegetables. Lay the second sheet of puff pastry on top of the salmon and let it drape on top of the first sheet of pastry. Use your fingers to form the top sheet of pastry around the fish, and seal the pastry, trying not to leave gaps of air between the fish and the dough. Use a knife to trim the dough into a square around the fish, leaving a 1 inch border.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a large spatula, transfer the pie onto the center of the sheet. If you want, you can decorate the top of the pie with the excess pastry dough you trimmed, or even lightly score the top of the pie to resemble fish scales. Brush more egg wash all over the completed pie, then place in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown all over, and an internal thermometer stuck into the center of the pie read 165°F. Remove and cool slightly before slicing and serving.
There are a few methods to make this sauce, but for ease I use a pre-made mayonnaise and just add things to it to spice it up. Super fast and easy, this sauce goes well with steamed vegetables like asparagus, peas, and green beans as well as the Salmon en Croûte!
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp dill, chopped
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 hard boiled egg, yolk and white separated and chopped
1 tbsp capers, chopped
1 tbsp cornichons, chopped
1 pickled onion, chopped (optional – I use the pickled onion that comes in the cornichon jar)
- Mix all of the ingredients together and serve in a side bowl.
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.