Duck Confit

Duck Confit

RecipesPeter Sanagan

 

Duck confit is a very easy dish that seems very difficult. This is a great time of year to make it, with holidays around the corner and all. “Confit” means to slowly cook a piece of meat, generally duck, goose, or pork, in its own fat until the muscles have tenderized. Basically, braising in fat. Which sounds rich, but because you are slowly cooking the meat, you are actually rendering out additional fat that is stored in the muscle, so the resulting dish isn’t unhealthy for you at all!

The ease of this dish comes from the fact that there is very little prep to do. You simply cure the legs overnight, then submerge the legs in melted fat and throw in the oven. Once cooked, the legs can keep for weeks in your fridge, as long as they are stored in the same fat they were cooked in. This recipe calls for ten legs, which will serve for at least two meals. Serve with sautéed potatoes and a vinegary salad.

Serves four (see recipe note)

Ingredients

¾ cup                    sugar
¾ cup                    salt
6                            garlic cloves, roughly chopped
6                            bay leaves
2 tbsp                    peppercorns
8                            thyme branches, torn
10                          duck legs
600 gr                    duck fat

Method

  1. In a bowl, mix together the salt, sugar, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and thyme branches. Add the duck legs to the mixture and mix well. Cover and place in the fridge to cure for at least 12 hours, or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 250°F.
  3. In a sauce pot over a medium low heat, melt the rendered duck fat. Brush the excess cure off of the legs. Arrange the legs in a deep casserole or pot so they are snug. Pour the melted duck fat over the legs, ensuring they are all submerged. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 2.5 to 3 hours or until cooked***.
  4. Once cooked, cool the pot on the counter for a couple of hours. It can now be stored in the fridge, or finished.
  5. To finish, preheat the oven to 500°F.
  6. Line a large frying pan or skillet with parchment paper. Remove four legs from the fat (if taking from the fridge, do this carefully as the fat may make the leg hard to remove). Lay each leg, skin side down, on the parchment paper with a little of the cooking fat. Place the pan in the oven and roast until the skin is golden brown and crispy (about 10 to 15 minutes). Remove the legs from the pan and dry them on paper towel before serving.

 

***Note: To test if the legs are fully cooked after the confit process, remove a leg from the pot. Holding the drumstick at the knuckle, lightly press the thigh bone and the drumstick together. When the leg is fully cooked, the joint between the two bones will give slightly. If the joint is tough, cook the confit for a bit longer. If the leg falls apart, it is overcooked (which isn’t a problem at all, other than it looking a little messy).

The Old Nouvelle

The Old Nouvelle

GeneralPeter Sanagan

By Graham Duncan

Photos by Graham Duncan

Does anyone remember Nouvelle Cuisine? Originating with a number of chefs in 1970’s France, it influenced restaurants throughout the industry. Nouvelle Cuisine emphasized fresh, quality ingredients, ornate presentation and lighter fare. It made for clean, distinct flavours, al dente vegetables, and occasionally finishing your dinner in need of a snack.  

I asked Peter about Nouvelle Cuisine and he was, not surprisingly, well-versed. He brought in a massive stack of cookbooks and we decided I should get my Nouvelle on. 

 

Nouvelle Quest Guided By Inspiring But Sometimes Vague Cookbook

From Peter’s library, Michel Bras’ Essential Cuisine seemed the most Nouvelle-y and ambitious. While published in 2002, it embodies many of the movement’s themes and exacting imperatives, as to be expected of a Three-Star chef. I decided to attempt two recipes from Essential Cuisine which combined the weird and the familiar.  

 

Rump Roast Pan-fried with Crispy Fatback, Buckwheat Jus and Swiss Chard

The Rump Roast

The recipe describes a rump roast cut up into servings. We call these top sirloin steaks. If I’m going to cook a fancy steak dinner, admirable as a top sirloin may be, I’d opt for a more deluxe cut, like an Artisan Farms AAA strip loin (cut into two servings). And the pan-frying part? The grill was already going to be hot (see onions), so I cooked the steaks there as well. Hard to go wrong. 

The Crispy Fatback

Steak — no problem. Crispy fatback, as portrayed in the cookbook photo, looked like playing cards, “standing on end so they catch the light”? I followed Bras’ scant instructions and ended up with delicious, stumpy pieces of crackling that were no more going to “catch the light” than they were going to catch a pop fly in centre field. I ate most of them while preparing the rest of dinner. 

The Buckwheat Jus

This is a sauce to accompany the steak. In the recipe photo it appears as a luminous drizzle. After simmering the buckwheat, you sieve it, presumably to eliminate husks, resulting in a smooth base. Have you ever sieved porridge? This is why kitchens have apprentices. Combined with stock, onions and garlic, it tasted like health food stores smell. Even after trying to enliven it with concentrated stock it was about as luminous as burlap. Jus can’t always get what you want. 

The Swiss Chard

Other than: separating the leaves from the stems; removing the fibres; splitting the stems; cooking them separately; chilling in ice water; and sautéing, again separately, with butter and shallots, this was a breeze. And delicious! But that may have had something to do with the rather un-Nouvelle-like half pound of butter. 

The Result 

The Swiss chard was delectable. The fatback can probably be mastered but the buckwheat jus and I will never see eye to eye. Oh, and the steak was excellent. Whadya expect? It’s from Sanagan’s.

Roasted Sweet Onions with “Licorice Powder” and Vinaigrette au Jus

The Onions

You’re supposed to roast the onions nestled in a pan of rock salt but that’s a lot of rock salt for just one dish. So, I slow roasted our beautiful Cookstown organic sweet onions on the gas grill; a successful adaptation.  

Licorice Powder

Dry black olives overnight in the oven. Chop into a powder. Combine with demerara sugar and almond powder and you’ve got a wonderful licorice-y garnish. Dusted over top of the roasted onions, this is the sort of infatuating culinary alchemy I was hoping for.  

Vinaigrette Au Jus

Red wine vinegar, grape seed oil (exceedingly clean and mild) and “short pigeon jus”. What is short pigeon jus, you may ask? A short jus is a concentrated, almost demi-glace-like reduction of regular stock a.k.a. long jus. Now, the long and short of it is, that even at Sanagan’s we don’t have that much pigeon carcass laying around for stock. So, at Peter’s suggestion, I made 2 litres of long duck jus, which was enriched and reduced into less than a cup of short duck jus, two tablespoons of which were added to the vinaigrette. Crazy! But the result was worth it. You know when you’re at some great restaurant and you say, happily, “We’d never have this at home”? That’s where we were with the vinaigrette au jus. 

The Result

The disappointments of the fatback and the buckwheat jus were overcome by this dish. It’s definitely the most original thing I’ve cooked and one of the most delicious.  

The Nouvelle Takeaway 

You stand up, you walk, you fall, you stand up and walk again. My Nouvelle adventure taught me a few new tricks and re-awakened my appetite for experimenting in the kitchen. Now, if you see me out in Bellevue Park with a net, you’ll know that I’m working on my short pigeon jus. 

Braised Top Blade Roast with Mashed Potatoes, Butter Poached Mushrooms, and Celeriac Remoulade

Braised Top Blade Roast with Mashed Potatoes, Butter Poached Mushrooms, and Celeriac Remoulade

RecipesPeter Sanagan

By Jason Browne. Photography Jason Browne.

A seat on Ossington’s Bellwoods Brewery patio has always been a coveted culinary perch. But the winter of 2020 is making that night out a bit of a challenge. Luckily, you can recreate dinner and drinks at the Brewery thanks to this delicious contribution by Sanagan’s good friend, and Bellwoods Brewery’s head chef Jason Browne. Here Jason shares some insights on cooking and work: 

I’m a pretty traditional chef. I love the classics and we always try to utilize the best Ontario and Canadian ingredients when at all possible and I think that comes through in our food. We’ve used Sanagan’s as a supplier in one way or another since day one at Bellwood’s, and I remember using them since their inception in the tiny little shop when they first opened. You could tell it was a very special butcher shop right from the beginning.

I’ve been at Bellwood’s for about 6 years now. It's by far the longest I’ve ever stayed at a restaurant. I think I was looking for some stability when I started working there, and they were able to provide that for me. My wife was about to have a baby when I got the job and we’ve since had a second. Bellwood’s provides a nice balance between family and work life. 

Top Blade Roast

Ingredients 

2-3 lb               top blade roast
1                      onion, roughly chopped
1                      carrot, roughly chopped
2 stalks            celery, roughly chopped
1 head             garlic, cut in half through the equator
3                      bay leaves
4-5 sprigs        thyme
1 sprig             rosemary
500 ml             red wine or stout beer
1 litre               beef stock
2-3 tbsp           neutral oil, canola or grapeseed
To taste           salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 250-275°F.
  2. Place a cast-iron dutch oven (or similar roasting pot) on medium-high heat and allow time to get hot.
  3. Place a few tablespoons of oil in the pot. Once the oil starts to shimmer, or just barely smoke, season the roast liberally with salt and pepper and sear on all sides till browned all over. Remove the roast and set aside. 

  1. Place the vegetables into the pot and sweat for a few minutes.
  2. Add the thyme, rosemary, bay, garlic and deglaze with red wine or stout and reduce till it's almost completely evaporated.
  3. Add the beef stock and return the roast into the pot and bring to a simmer. 

  1. Cover pot and place in preheated oven for 3-3.5 hours.
  2. Once roast is tender, remove meat, strain vegetables from liquid and replace roast back into stock to allow time to cool if not serving right away.

Celeriac Remoulade

Ingredients

1 head                         celeriac, peeled and julienned
½ bunch                      chives, chopped fine
2-3 sprigs                    parsley, chopped fine
2-3 heaping tbsp         mayonnaise
2                                  lemons, juiced
2 tbsp                          cider vinegar
to taste                        honey 
1 tbsp                          grainy mustard
to taste                        salt and pepper

Method

  1. Combine julienned celeriac with lemon juice to avoid oxidation. 

  1. Combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, herbs and mustard in a bowl and whisk together. Pour over the celeriac and allow to marinate for a couple hours. 
  2. Strain a bit of liquid off (if necessary) before seasoning with salt and pepper and serving.

Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

3 - 4                             russet potatoes (I use 1 per person)
About ½ to 1 cup        35% cream*
About ¼-½ lb              butter, cubed (room temperature) *
2 cloves                       garlic, minced

 * Cream and butter amounts are dependent on how loose you like your mashed potatoes. Start with less, and add more for a looser texture.

 Method

  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into 2-inch pieces.
  2. Cover potatoes with salted water in a medium sized pot, bring to a simmer and cook until fork tender.  
  3. Strain the potatoes and put through a ricer or food mill.
  4. In a small pot gently heat the cream and garlic until hot. 
  5. Put the potatoes back in the same pot you cooked them in, pour the hot cream garlic mixture over the riced potatoes and scatter the cubed butter over the potato cream mixture. Gently fold with a spatula until all ingredients are mixed well, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Butter-Poached Button Mushrooms

Ingredients

1lb                   button mushrooms
2 sprigs           thyme
1 head             garlic
1.5 lbs             butter
To taste           salt and pepper  

Method

  1. In a small pot, gently warm the butter, thyme and garlic until butter has completely melted.  
  2. Add mushrooms, making sure they’re completely submerged under the butter mixture. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a very gentle simmer and cover with a lid. You need to cook as low as absolutely possible without browning butter at all, for about 30-45 min or until mushrooms are soft.  

  1. Drain and serve when ready to use. Reserve garlic mushroom butter for another application; great on garlic toast or in pastas. 

Serving

Cut roast into four servings. Ladle a pool of stock onto each plate. Layer mashed potatoes on top of stock. Layer meat on top of mashed potatoes. Side with mushrooms and celeriac. 

Breadless Pork Chop Parmigiana

Breadless Pork Chop Parmigiana

RecipesPeter Sanagan

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.

Serves 4

Ingredients

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

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Season the pork chops liberally with salt and pepper, then rub them all over with the oil.
  3. In a heavy bottomed skillet or sauté pan over a medium-high heat, sear the pork chops until golden on both sides.
  4. 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.
  5. Remove the pork chops from the oven, then turn the broiler to high. Move the oven rack to its highest position.
  6. 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.
  7. Cool slightly before serving (that cheese is gonna be ooey-gooey good and hot!).
Chicken Ballotines Stuffed with Rice and Sausage

Chicken Ballotines Stuffed with Rice and Sausage

RecipesPeter Sanagan

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.

Serves 4

Ingredients

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

Method

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Season the chicken ballotines all over with the Five Spice mixture. Place in a fridge, uncovered, to marinate for one hour before cooking.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  7. 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.
  8. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before removing the twine, slicing the ballotines, and serving.
Herb-Crusted Lamb Rack

Herb-Crusted Lamb Rack

RecipesPeter Sanagan

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.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

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

Method

  1. Season the lamb racks with salt and set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 en Croûte

Salmon en Croûte

RecipesPeter Sanagan

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.

Serves four

Ingredients

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)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

 

Sauce Gribiche

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!

Ingredients

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)

Method

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together and serve in a side bowl.
Right-On Stroganoff

Right-On Stroganoff

RecipesPeter Sanagan

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!

Beef Stroganoff

Serves 4 

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. 

Ingredients

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

Method

  1. Measure sour cream into a medium-sized bowl and bring to room temperature. (Approximately two hours.)
  2. Blend together in a bowl the beef, paprika and salt and pepper.
  3. 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. 
  4. If the pan appears dry, add a little more oil, and fry the onion, stirring, for one minute. 
  5. Add the wine and reduce by half.
  6. Remove pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly. 
  7. Blend contents of the pan into the bowl of sour cream, stirring gently to create a sauce. 
  8. 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.  
  9. Serve as desired and garnish with diced cornichons.
OktoberBest - Sauerkraut and Sausage at Home

OktoberBest - Sauerkraut and Sausage at Home

RecipesPeter Sanagan

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. 

Sanagan’s Bratwurst

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. 

 

Braised Sauerkraut

Serves 4 as a side dish

Ingredients

1tbsp                     butter
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

Method

  1. Preheat over to 325°F
  2. (Optional) rinse the sauerkraut with water and drain, squeezing the water out of the sauerkraut. The more rinses, the milder the taste.
  3. Melt butter in a large over-proof frying pan. The pan will later require a lid.
  4. Add onions and fry at medium-low heat until translucent.
  5. Blend sauerkraut into the onions and and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
  6. Add caraway, bay leaf and pepper.
  7. Add the stock and enough wine and/or beer to almost cover the sauerkraut
  8. Simmer for 1/2 hour on the stovetop, stirring occasionally.
  9. Cover the pan and cook in the oven for another 1/2 hour.
  10. 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.
  11. Serve the sauerkraut with your favourite sausages! Prost!