Sunday, 1 July 2012


The best laid plans sometimes never work out. I was all set to lay out my recipe for jambalaya today, but we just celebrated Canada Day, and my national pride has gotten a hold of me. We probably don't have one actual dish that defines us as a nation. We produce some of the best quality icewines in the world. And we export some of the finest quality salmon and lobster in the world. Also cheese and not to mention our beer! But none of that speaks to the world of just exactly who we are as a people. And I'm not even sure that we ourselves know the answer to that question. For sure we have the best maple syrup available, thanks to our vast abudance of hardwood forest. But we always just took that for granted. We have so many natural resources right at our doorstep that we don't even realize it. The one thing I do know that we export to the world is our athletes. Our hockey players - such as Wayne Gretzty, are second to none. Our Olympic athletes never fail to make us proud. And I just have to believe that the reason we produce such an abundance of all things robust, is because we are such hearty folk reigning from the far great north of the Yukon all the way east the the Atlantic ocean.
Every single thing about being Canadian makes me proud. We're still not sure what that single element is that makes us unique, but by God we're more than happy to embrace it! So here is a dish that I always enjoy making, and it's one of those dishes that every household has their own recipe for. If you were to take this recipe and show it to somebody in Quebec let's say, I think they would spit on it and say it's shit. And so they should since I made it up myself and I'm certain they stick with the one that their family has used for generations! And well they should. Recipes are always only a guideline in the way that rules are meant to be broken. In fact, every recipe I offer Should be tweaked and re-organized to suit you the cook!
So you'll need:
A pie crust. Top and bottom. Buy it in the frozen section of the grocery store just as I taught you in chicken pot pie recipe, unless you've fallen in love with all things culinary and you want to make your own. And I applaud you if you do! But whatever you choose, stab a fork in the bottom of the crust a few times and sprinkle a bit of celery seed on that.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
For the filling:
1 onion chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 small carrot very finely choppped
1/2 pound of both ground beef (hamburger meat as we know it) and ground pork. (Here's where the people from Quebec - hunters would disagree. They use ground deer or moose meat and such. And use that if you can get it!)
1 potato grated on your regular square cheese grater
1/2 Tsp of thyme, sage, cinnamon and onion powder
salt and pepper.
A very hearty splash of red wine
a good splash of Worcestshire sauce
Saute the onion and carrot until they soften and add the garlic.  Saute for 3 or 4 minutes.
Add the meat and the grated potato and the spices and wine and Worcestshire. Let it all have a really nice time in the pan, stirring once in a while until everything reduces and the potato is soft. When it smells delicous and everthing in the pan is soft and the liquid is pretty much evapourated, drain off the fat and pour it all into your pie shell. Put the top on the pie and put a few slits in the top pastry to let the steam escape. Make sure your top and bottom shells are tightly sealed and let it bake for about 35 minutes. If you're in the mood for puttin' on the ritz, brush your pie shell with a beaten egg and it will come up golden brown like a restaurant or a commercial. I say do it if you have an egg lying around! But the main thing you want to remember is to put your pie on a cookie sheet when you put it in the oven so you don't have that overspill issue where you either have to clean the oven or go buy a new one. That really sucks! I like to serve this just with a salad of baby greens, or arugula. Happy Canada Day! Be proud of your nation!

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