'Tis the Season! (December 19, 2001)
The Holidays are here and full of memories and traditions that
cover everything from decorations and presents to family get-togethers
with special and much loved meals! This season, we've pulled together
some favourite recipes from both friends and fabulous cookbooks.
They just may become a tradition in your family – they certainly
have in ours.
For years, our family Christmas dinner featured a goose that always
seemed straight out of Charles Dickens classic Christmas Carol:
""Never was there such a goose…." We never minded
that the meal was more appropriate to a damp, cold English climate
than the sun and warmth of Florida where we grew up, my mother cooked
a roast goose dinner with all the trimmings from a starter relish
tray to the inevitable fruit cake at the end. We had eggnog, too,
about which my Uncle David would say, "Forget the Christmas
goose, where's the Wild Turkey?"
We'd like to wish you and your family happy holidays and best wishes
for a great New Year. May your holiday season be merry and bright,
and full of the best things in life. Like food and wine.
On today's menu:
Goose with Chestnut Stuffing and Port Sauce
From Saveur Cooks Authentic American comes this wickedly
rich goose and stuffing recipe. While thoroughly traditional,
geese these days are different from those our grandparents
ate. Gone are the fatty, hard-to-digest honkers of yesteryear;
today they are skinnier and meatier and, happily, still full
If you've never tried one, you're in for a treat! Another
treat is this magnificent cookbook from Saveur magazine; it's
full of wonderful photographs, recipes and food lore from
across North America. A great present for anyone passionate
1 10-pound fresh or fully thawed frozen goose
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. butter
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 stalks celery, sliced
10 mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 cups roasted chestnuts, peeled and chopped
5 cups fresh bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup chicken stock
goose neck and giblets, minus liver
4 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 springs fresh parsley
5 black peppercorns
1 cup ruby port
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Wash, drain and dry goose with paper towels, then rub inside and
out with salt and pepper.
For stuffing, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a skillet over medium heat.
Cook onions and garlic until soft, about 15 minutes. Add celery
and cook 5 minutes more, then transfer to a bowl. Melt remaining
1 Tbsp. butter in the same pan, add mushroom and thyme, and cook
7-8 minutes more. Combine mushrooms with onion mixture, then add
chestnuts, breadcrumbs, egg and stock, and mix well. Set stuffing
For sauce, put neck, giblets, celery, garlic, onions, parsley,
peppercorns and 6 cups water in a large saucepan. Bring to boil
over medium heat, reduce heat to low, skim off foam, and simmer
for 2 hours. Strain, reserving stock and giblets. Discard remaining
solids. Peel and finely chop giblets and set aside.
I prefer to have both a medium-bodied dry white and a medium-bodied
dry red with good fruit with goose. Try an oak-aged Chardonnay
with good acidity – white Burgundy or Ontario Chardonnay
or BC Pinot Gris. Reds – Pinot Noir from Oregon or New
Zealand or a named village wine from Beaujolais (Morgon, Fleurie,
etc.). N.B if your stuffing has sweetness in it (apricots, raisins)
go for an off-dry Riesling.
While stock cooks, loosely pack body and neck cavity of goose with
stuffing. Tie legs closed with kitchen string. Prick legs and thighs
with a fork. Roast on a rack in a roasting pan for ½ hour.
Lower heat to 325°F and cook for 1½-2 hours more or until
thigh juices run clear. Transfer goose to a platter and allow to
rest for 15 minutes, then remove stuffing and carve.
While goose rests, put roasting pan with drippings on top of stove
(use two burners if necessary) over medium heat. Skim and discard
fat from juices. Add port and deglaze, scraping brown bits from
bottom of pan. Add giblets and stock and reduce liquid by half,
about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sauce
with goose and stuffing.
Therese Taylor's Apple Hazelnut Stuffing
||Hey, it's the holidays, so who says you can't
have more than one stuffing? Good friends in New York City once
had an ultimate holiday meal with champagne, four stuffings,
three desserts, and not a bird in sight.! We say the more stuffing
the better, and here's a terrific version that will go beautifully
with the roast goose. Therese Taylor and her husband Dan own
Dan T's line of sauces, love food and wine and, it follows,
are excellent cooks. You'll love their version with apples and
5 cups multi-grain bread, torn into bite-size pieces
¼ cup butter
1 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
2 apples, coarsely chopped
¼ cup minced fresh tarragon leaves or 4 tsp. dried
¼ cup Dan T's Inferno Spiced Cayenne Sauce (or ¼
cup melted butter spiced with red hot sauce)
Preheat oven to 325°F. In a shallow baking pan, arrange bread
pieces in one layer. Bake in oven, stirring occasionally for 10
to 15 minutes, or until golden, then transfer to a large bowl. In
a large skillet, melt butter and brown nuts, then cook onions, apples,
tarragon and Spiced Cayenne Sauce over moderately low heat, stirring
until onions are cooked. Add onion mixture to bread, tossing well.
Let stuffing cool completely.
It may be made one day in advance and kept covered and chilled.
Makes about 8 cups, enough for a 10-lb. bird.
Carrot Slaw with Mango Chutney Dressing
||Somewhere in this meal the palate needs a break,
and we've got just the recipe. We always celebrate Christmas
Eve over a large family dinner with our good friends, Patty
and Brooks Hoyt, and one of the favourite side dishes in the
huge, wonderful meal is cole slaw. Here's a delightful variation
on the theme, from The New Vegan Cookbook by Lorna Sass,
and we can tell you it's a perfect match with the goose.
This book is a must have for the New Year... it's full of flavourful
vegetarian recipes free of dairy, eggs and cholesterol. Not a moment
6 Tbsp. sweet mango chutney (Patak's brand is excellent for this)
5-6 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
4 Tbsp. peanut butter
4-6 Tbsp. water
1-2 tsp. salt
2 lbs. carrots, peeled and shredded (about 8 cups)
1 cup chopped cilantro
2/3 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
additional lime juice, if needed
additional salt if needed
½ cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts for garnish (optional)
In a blender, puree the dressing ingredients using 4 Tbsp. of water
until very smooth. Blend in additional water if the dressing is
too thick to coat the carrots.
In a large bowl, toss the carrots, cilantro and and scallions with
the dressing. Add more lime juice and salt if needed. Garnish with
peanuts if you wish.
Ultimate Maple Syrup Pie
||Surely the perfect finish, oh, come on …of
course you've still got room for dessert. It's from Anita Stewart's
magnificent book Flavours of Canada, and we promise that
you'll make many more of these pies long after the holidays
are over! This historical French-Canadian dessert was part of
the food culture of les colons, or settlers, and was
known as sugar pie, tarte au sucre. We also know it as
More than a gorgeous cookbook, Flavours of Canada shows
the beauty of the land and the wealth of Canada's diverse culinary
heritage. It's a glorious journey!
1 cup brown sugar (250 mL)
1 cup whipping cream (35%) (250 mL)
½ cup maple syrup (125 mL)
½ tsp. vanilla (2 mL)
1 9-inch (23 cm) pie shell, baked and cooled
lightly sweetened whipped cream and toasted walnuts for garnish
something as sweet as the dessert – Samos Muscat (Greece),
Muscat de Beaume de Venise (Rhone) or Pineau des Charentes (Cognac
In a medium bowl, beat eggs lightly. Whisk in brown sugar, cream,
maple syrup and vanilla. Beat long enough to dissolve the sugar
crystals. Pour filling into pie shell and bake in a preheated 350°F
(180°C) oven 40 to 45 minutes or until center is just becoming
firm. Let cool before serving. Serve topped with whipped cream and
sprinkled with toasted walnuts.
Chez Piggy's Ultimate Eggnog
The eponymous cookbook from the celebrated Chez Piggy restaurant
and bakery in Kingston, Ontario, features this thick and utterly
decadent, rich boozy eggnog that is really more dessert than
drink, and a great end to a festive feast. Uncle David would
have loved it. Go on….Christmas comes but once a year!
Another perfect cookbook for the food lovers you know, this
one is full of recipes from Chez Piggy's fascinating international
menu with delightful candid photographs of the staff and patrons
in action as well as glorious shots of the meals they serve.
Note: be sure to serve the eggnog soon after making it, or it will
7 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
2 cups 35% B.F. cream, chilled
2 cups milk, chilled
2 cups bourbon, chilled
1 cup amber rum, chilled
1/3 cup freshly ground nutmeg for garnish
Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites to soft peaks while slowly
adding ½ cup sugar. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat egg yolks with remaining ½ cup sugar
until creamy. Fold egg whites into egg-yolk mixture. Set aside.
Whip cream in a small bowl, and fold into egg mixture. Whisk in
milk, bourbon and rum. Ladle into glasses and garnish with nutmeg.
(And, we add, now call 911!)
And a little something extra for the Holidays...
The Grange Gingerbread House
||Helen Stubbs is the most artistic baker we've
met in a long time, and, true to form, works at AGORA, the restaurant
at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Not content to do
just any old gingerbread house for the holidays, Helen looked
out the back door of the AGO and re-created in cake The Grange,
Toronto's oldest remaining brick house, which today is part
of the Gallery. Stubbs' version is a masterpiece, down to the
classic portico and pebbled walkway on the front of this gorgeous
old 1817 Georgian home.
Talented Helen Stubbs is owner of Marmalade Cake Company and hopes
to specialize in wedding cake design. But right now, let Stubbs
do your home in gingerbread while you make up a batch of her delicious
gingerbread cookies for the munchkins and elves in your family!
Helen Stubbs' Gingerbread Cookies
Makes 24-30 cookies
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1¾ cups brown sugar, packed
½ cup molasses
zest of two oranges, finely grated (a rasp works best!)
5½ cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
½ Tbsp. ground clove
1 tsp. salt
Cream soft butter, brown sugar, molasses and orange zest together
until fluffy. Sift together dry ingredients and add slowly to creamed
butter mixture. Chill dough for one hour. Roll out onto floured
surface, about ½ cm (¼") thick and cut with
cutters. Cover your baking sheet with parchment paper (not waxed
paper!) or use a SilPat baking sheet. Use a metal spatula to transfer
cookies to your baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes.
The time will vary according to the size of your cookies. Cool for
about an hour before removing from baking sheet and decorating,
We wish to thank the following for their help and permission to
use recipes and photographs:
Marmalade Cake Company
Helen Stubbs (416) 537-5216
Dan T's Inferno Sauces
Dan Taylor (905-564-3226)
Therese Taylor's Stuffing photograph by Dan Taylor.
Firefly Books, Ltd.
The Chez Piggy Cookbook, photography by Garfield Peters
The Flavours of Canada, by Anita Stewart,
photography by Robert Wigington
The New Vegan Cookbook, by Lorna Sass,
photography by Jonelle Weaver (Chronicle Books, SF CA)
Saveur Cooks Authentic American, by the editors of Saveur
Goose photograph by Christopher Hirsheimer (Chronicle Books, SF
Gingerbread Grange photo by Margherita Videla.
Happily tested by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.