Bedfordshire Clangers w/ Variations

July is such a wonderful month. The weather’s warm, there’s still plenty of summer left, and the produce is literally amazing.

Midsummer means the farmer’s markets are brimming with great fruit & veggies. With such a colorful bounty of goods, we can settle into our summer cooking routines with tasty meals hot or cold.

But, even in summer, we sometimes crave ‘comfort food’ such as a ‘hand pie’. The humble hand pie goes by many different names: call it a pasty, a turnover, an empanada, or a ‘Bedfordshire clanger’….

A Bedfordshire Clanger dates back to at least the 19th century. It was typically made for agricultural workers to take with them to work as their lunch. The original pastry was made from suet and cooked by a boiling method. There is a theory that the pastry crust was not originally intended for consumption but as a vessel in which to protect the filling from the soiled hands of the workers.

The clanger originated from the county of Bedfordshire, a small, low-lying and predominantly agricultural county nestled in the east of England and adjacent counties, including Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. 

The name is as intriguing as the food itself. The word clanger, it had been suggested, referred to the mistake of mixing sweet and savory fillings. But a more likely explanation was that in nearby Northamptonshire dialect, ‘clang’ means to eat voraciously.

Knowing their husbands would need lots of protein and carbohydrate sustenance, homemakers came up with the brilliant idea of a doubled, loaf-shaped pie. One end contained a savory filling that used the famed pork of the area while the other end was filled with stewed apples (made from local apples) as dessert. So, the two fillings didn’t combine, there was a ‘pastry wall’ in between blocking any flavors from mixing. A ‘secret code’ denoted which end was meat, and which was dessert: two knife slits on one end of the pastry top means meat, three small holes on the other shows the sweet. This was brilliant, an entire meal for the field workers – handheld, portable and delicious.

The version we have today is not its beginnings but its evolution. Once you’ve nailed this basic Bedfordshire clanger recipe you can experiment with all sorts of flavor combos, there’s really no limit to what you can combine in this savory/sweet pastry.

Since Brion takes lunch to work, I became intrigued with the idea and decided to get creative with the fillings. That way I could make a variety and freeze them and use as needed. These tasty little ‘clangers’ can be served as the main course for a warm-weather picnic or for a hand-held, backyard meal with the addition of a nice fresh salad at home.

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Bedfordshire Clangers w/ Variations
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Chicken w/ Caramelized Onions
Raspberry / Nectarine Filling
Blueberry Filling
Apple / Apricot Filling
Plum / Rhubarb Filling
Rhubarb / Apple Filling
Servings
Ingredients
Chicken w/ Caramelized Onions
Raspberry / Nectarine Filling
Blueberry Filling
Apple / Apricot Filling
Plum / Rhubarb Filling
Rhubarb / Apple Filling
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Instructions
Pastry
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sage & salt. Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour mixture & use your fingers to work them in. Alternately you could use a pastry cutter to do this.
  2. When the mixture resembles cornmeal with pea-sized bits of butter remaining, stir in cheese with a fork until evenly distributed. Sprinkle 6 Tbsp ice water over mixture & stir with a fork until dough begins to come together. If needed, add an additional Tbsp or two of ice water.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface & knead for about three times. Gather the dough into a disk & wrap in plastic wrap. refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Pork Filling
  1. Bake potato in microwave, peel & cut into small cubes. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet & sauté celery, onion, garlic & bacon together on medium heat until veggies are soft & bacon is cooked. Add ground pork, breaking it up well. Stir in dried herbs & spices. Cover & simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat & stir in cooked potato & cheese. Set aside to cool.
Spiced Meat Combo
  1. In a saucepan, sauté onion & garlic. Add ground meat, basil, thyme, cardamom & salt & pepper. Scramble fry until cooked, remove from heat & add parmesan & potato. Place in a dish.
  2. In the saucepan, melt butter; add flour to make a roux. Cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add beef broth, stirring until sauce thickens. Season to taste. Add to ground meat mixture & combine to form filling. Set aside until ready to use.
Turkey Filling
  1. In a skillet, cook bacon until just crisp, then remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain; chop when cooled. Remove all but 1 Tbsp of the bacon drippings from skillet.
  2. Add butter to the skillet, sauté onions, garlic & mushrooms with herbs & spices, scraping up any brown bits, until the onions have softened & mushrooms have lost most of their size & moisture. Stir in the bacon & shredded cooked turkey, taste for seasoning. Cook for another minute or two, then remove from heat & set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, combine Boursin, milk & spices (if using). Stir until Boursin has melted. Remove from heat. Add to turkey/veg mixture.
Chicken w/ Caramelized Onions
  1. Heat butter over medium low heat in a heavy ovenproof skillet. Add the onions cook for 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. When the onions are a deep golden color, remove them from the pan and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Combine the flour, salt, chili powder, thyme, allspice, & black pepper. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. In the same pan as the onions, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add each piece of chicken & fry for a few minutes until golden brown; flip & cook for a few more minutes. Transfer to a plate (it will not be fully cooked at this point, just browned – it will finish cooking in the oven).
  4. Turn the heat down & let the oil cool off a little bit. Make a roux with excess oil in skillet & dredging flour. Add chicken broth & cook until a sauce forms. Add the onions & chicken to the pan. Bake for about 20 minutes longer. When chicken/onion mixture is cooked, remove from oven. Allow to cool until ready to use.
Raspberry/Rhubarb Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cardamom & salt. Add water & stir then add chopped nectarines. Simmer until nectarine is slightly soft & liquid is thickened. Remove from heat & carefully fold in raspberries. Set aside to cool.
Blueberry Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except blueberries. Cook until sauce starts to thicken then gently fold in blueberries & cook a couple of minutes more. Remove from heat & set aside to cool.
Apple/Apricot Filling
  1. Peel & dice apples. Drain canned apricot juice into a small saucepan. Add sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon & salt & combine. Add apples & cook until apples are tender. Cut canned apricot halves into quarters. When apples are cooked & sauce has thickened, remove from heat & add apricots. Gently combine & set aside to cool.
Plum/Rhubarb Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt & lemon zest. Add rhubarb & plums. Gently stir over a low heat. When enough juice has formed, allow to simmer until rhubarb is soft & juice has thickened. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool.
Sour Cherry Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, place sugar, cornstarch & salt. Add juice/water mixture & stir to thoroughly combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. Immediately remove from heat. Gradually fold in cherries. Set aside to cool.
Rhubarb/Apple Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, add the rhubarb, apples, salt & sugar. Add a drizzle of water if necessary & heat on medium. The rhubarb will begin to release liquid & break down as the apples soften. Heat the mixture until the moisture has evaporated & begins to thicken. Once the mixture is thickened, add the lemon juice, lemon zest and cinnamon. Place it in a bowl & allow to cool.
Apple/Pear Filling
  1. Heat butter in a small skillet until melted, add apples & pears & cook until fruit begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle sugar over mixture & continue to cook stirring often until fruit begins to lose its juices. Mix together cornstarch & lemon juice & add to pan. Simmer until mixture has thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat & allow to cool.
Assembly/Baking
  1. Divide pastry into 5 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface (or dry wax paper) roll out each piece of pastry into 14 x 7 1/2-inches. The excess trimmed from the sides will be used for little pastry ‘walls’ dividing the sweet & savory fillings. Roll excess pastry into a 3-inch length.
  2. Cut each piece of pastry in half horizontally so you have (2) 7-inch long pieces from each piece of pastry. From the top of each piece, LIGHTLY make a line across your pastry 4-inches from the outside edge. This will help to place your fillings properly.
  3. On the 3-inch wide section, place savory filling to cover 2/3 of the area. Place one of the rolled strips after that then place sweet filling on the remaining 1/3 to complete the 'clanger'. The little rolled piece of pastry divides the savory & sweet filling.
  4. On the sweet side make 3 holes for vents & on the savory side make 2 slashes. This is the 'code' to let the person eating the clanger which was savory or sweet.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  6. Brush the edges of each pastry with egg wash. Lift the pastry from the opposite side over the fillings & seal the edges with a fork.
  7. Brush clangers with remaining egg wash & bake for about 30-35 minutes or until golden.
Recipe Notes
  • Due to the length of this recipe, I found making the savory & fruit fillings on one day & the pastry, assembling & baking the next, worked out well for me. Although these pastries are VERY time consuming, believe me, the are well worth it in the end, especially if your freezing some to use later. I baked them all & then wrapped them well before freezing.
  • You will probably find there will be enough savory & sweet fillings left over to make about 10 more clangers.
  • All of them will freeze well which will be a time saver for your next batch. Just make a recipe of pastry & your ready to assemble & bake.
  • If your not interested in freezing the 'leftovers', the fruit combined will make a wonderful crisp & the savory fillings can be used in quiche or casseroles.

Mini Roast Beef & Cheese Slider Buns

The name ‘slider’ originated in the 1940’s when sailors in the US Navy would refer to mini-burgers as sliders because of their extreme greasiness. In just one or two bites, the burger would just slide right down. Fortunately around 2007, sliders evolved from miniature ‘grease bombs’ to elegant culinary creations that now appeal to people of all backgrounds and tastes.

There’s something inherently appealing about a small burger. For the diet-conscious, the idea of a small gourmet burger is more feasible. When dining out, ordering sliders instead of an average sized hamburger also allows you to try several different varieties as they are often served in pairs.

The modern day slider has been reinvented from the traditional beef patty to being made from chicken, pork and veal as well as various seafood options.

These tasty little slider buns are layered with thinly sliced roast beef then topped with warm cheese sauce. Yum!

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Mini Roast Beef & Cheese Slider Buns
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SLIDERS
Servings
SLIDERS
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Instructions
Sliders
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Heat skillet over medium heat, adding butter & oil. Sauté sliced onions in butter & oil until soft, brown & slightly caramelized, reduce heat to low if necessary. Stirring occasionally, about 15-30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the sliders. Slice the “loaf” of brioche rolls in half lengthwise, with the bottoms slightly thicker than the tops, do not separate individual rolls.
  4. Layer roast beef to slider bottoms, then layer cheese over the top of the roast beef, finishing with caramelized/sautéed onions. Cover with tops of bread rolls.
Drizzle
  1. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; add mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic & onion powder, & dried thyme, stirring until the drizzle is warmed & the sugar has dissolved. Just a minute or two.
Baking
  1. Evenly pour drizzle over the tops of the brioche rolls. Cover with sprayed aluminum foil & bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Remove foil & bake for 7-10 minutes until tops are lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Crown Roast of Pork

HAPPY EASTER!

Turkey at Thanksgiving. Prime rib at Christmas. Brisket at Hanukkah. Ham at Easter. Candy at Halloween. Holiday food pairings make each separate celebration special—and something special we look forward to each year.  One reason ham became the meat of choice for Easter dinner is because it was available. Historically, pigs were slaughtered in fall and cured over the winter. They were ready to eat once spring arrived and the Lenten fast ended. Today ham is available year-round and while Brion loves pork chops, ham is definitely not a meat he enjoys. Enter the pork crown roast ….

With its skyward-reaching ribs, a regal crown roast makes a stunning Easter dinner centerpiece.

Charred sticks of bone jutting from a wreath of fork-tender meat make this main seem medieval – as well as fit for a king and queen. There’s just something about a crown roast that makes it look like it belongs in the center of a long table in the dining room of a drafty castle filled with tapestries and enormous fireplaces.

The presentation is solely for appearance. If you can roast a turkey, you can prepare a majestic crown roast of pork.

Marinate the roast overnight or season it simply with salt and pepper, then tuck it into the oven. The interior space of the crown is a perfect spot for stuffing, making a beautiful presentation. Set it on a bed of greens or herbs, tuck in a few cranberries & persimmon slices around the rim and there you have it! Carving a crown roast is no more effort than slicing straight down between the rib bones.

Crown roast of pork is made from the rib portion of the loin. The meatiest part of the ribs forms the stable base of the crown. Common fears with making any roast are overcooking and drying it out or cooking it unevenly. If you roast a crown roast in a low & slow oven, you can get the entire roast pretty much exactly at the proper temperature from edge to center.

To enjoy with our meal, I’ve added some spiced cranberries. Now this is not just your basic cranberry sauce. Brion came home with a spiced cranberry liqueur to try so I couldn’t resist putting some in the cranberries. Wow, what an upgrade!

The distillery it comes from is located in the heart of Barrhead, Alberta. ‘West of the 5th’ was started by brothers Nathan and Caleb on their family farm in 2018. The family grows over 10-acres of fresh fruits to be used as flavoring in their award-winning moonshines. In just four short years of operating the distillery, the brotherly band have brought home five provincial recognition awards for their spirits.

With that being said, let’s enjoy & appreciate our Easter meals as we anticipate spring & the coming of a new season.

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Crown Roast of Pork
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Roast
  • 4-5 kg (13 Ribs) pork crown roast Frenched & prepped by butcher or yourself if you prefer.
Savory Stuffing
Fingerling Potatoes
Baby Carrots
Snow Peas
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Roast
  • 4-5 kg (13 Ribs) pork crown roast Frenched & prepped by butcher or yourself if you prefer.
Savory Stuffing
Fingerling Potatoes
Baby Carrots
Snow Peas
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Instructions
Marinade
  1. The night before roasting meat, combine all marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Spread marinade generously over entire roast, including bottom & between rib bones. Place roast in a large dish, cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate overnight.
Spiced Cranberries
  1. In a medium nonstick saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Lower heat & cook until reduced & slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, take out cinnamon sticks & cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Stuffing
  1. Peel & cook potatoes, drain & mash. Set aside. Chop veggies. In a saucepan, melt butter & sauté veggies with herbs, salt & pepper. Remove from heat; combine with bread cubes, mashed potatoes & chicken broth. Add only enough chicken broth until it is moist but not mushy or falling apart. Mine usually takes the whole 2 cups. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Cooking Crown Roast
  1. Remove marinated roast from refrigerator & allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 F. Adjust oven rack to a lower position. Place the roast on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking pan. Transfer to oven & roast until internal temperature reaches 160 F , about 8 hours. Remove from oven.
  3. Increase oven temperature to 350 F.
  4. Fill the center of the crown with prepared stuffing, mounding it slightly. Return roast to oven & roast until both roast & stuffing are browned & crispy on the exterior, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, tent with foil, allow to rest for 15 minutes as it reaches the internal temperature of 165 F.
  5. Remove strings & carve by slicing in between each rib & serve with pork gravy & spiced cranberries. If you have extra stuffing, bake for about 30 minutes in a buttered casserole dish for a future meal.
Roasting Veggies
  1. While the crown roast is cooking, prepare veggies. Since you are using a 'low & slow' cooking temperature it will be necessary to stove top 'roast' the potatoes & carrots.
Fingerling Potatoes
  1. Wash & place potatoes in a glass microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 8 minutes. Remove & allow to cool for a few minutes. Heat skillet to a medium heat & add butter. Sauté the potatoes & add seasonings to taste. Cook for about 6-8 minutes until the potatoes are softened & browned.
Baby Carrots
  1. Steam carrots in microwave for a few minutes to partially cook them. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add baby carrots, sprinkle with salt & pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are browned in spots & tender crisp, 6-8 minutes. Add apple cider vinegar & honey to skillet. Cook, stirring often, until liquid is syrupy & carrots are evenly coated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat & sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.
Snow Peas
  1. Rinse, drain & trim snow peas. Heat a skillet over medium high heat, about 2-3 minutes. Add the olive oil & trimmed pea pods. Move them around to coat in oil, let them sear for a few minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid excessive browning. Add the minced garlic, stir again & let mixture become fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Add the water & stir to move the snow peas around, Let the water evaporate & steam the pods, cooking them through, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Recipe Notes
  • Depending on the amount of people you are serving the roast to, the amounts of veggies may need to be increased.
  • Roasting at this low, slow temperature produces the most incredibly tender roast you could imagine. I always use this same theory when roasting baby back ribs & get super tender ribs as well.

Chicken Pancakes w/ Mushroom Sauce

ENJOYING SHROVE TUESDAY!

Shrove Tuesday is a ‘holiday’ with a movable date, due to its relationship to Easter. The final day before Lent, it has many meanings, both spiritual and practical. The spiritual purpose of Shrove Tuesday is to take stock of the year and determine what things one must bear in mind during repentance.

Practically speaking, Shrove Tuesday is the last day before the great ‘fast’ of Lent. As a result, many would take it as an opportunity to have a final feast and party. Because this holiday marked the last day to use up one’s stocks of fats and eggs, a British tradition was born: Pancake Tuesday. Pancakes make use of ingredients that were banned during Lent and would spoil before its end.

Although many traditions of the past have gone by the wayside, whether you know its history or not, Pancake Tuesday seems to still be a ‘thing’. Brion & I don’t eat pancakes a lot but certainly enjoy them when we do. As always, I can’t resist a new idea, so today we are having some chicken pancakes w/ mushroom sauce. Yum!

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Chicken Pancakes w/ Mushroom Sauce
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Instructions
Mushroom Sauce
  1. In a skillet, heat oil & add mushrooms & onions. Sauté for about 5-8 minutes until moisture releases & evaporates. Whish in flour & allow to cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, thyme, salt & pepper; cook an additional 30 seconds. Add milk, whisking constantly until cooked & thickened. Remove from heat & set aside.
Pancakes / Chicken
  1. In a skillet, heat oil & add ground chicken, herbs & spices. Scramble-fry until chicken is no longer pink. Remove to a dish & set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine flours & baking powder; add cooked chicken & grated cheese.
  3. In a small container, whisk together eggs, milk & oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry & mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Be careful to not over mix the batter. Let mixture stand for about 3 minutes before cooking.
  4. Heat griddle to about 250 -300 F. Place a small amount of butter on the griddle to coat the surface.
  5. Cook pancakes on one side until golden brown then flip to the other side & cook until golden as well. I made 4 large pancakes with this amount of batter.
To Serve
  1. Place one large pancake on each serving plate, top with 1/4 of the mushroom sauce, another pancake & another 1/4 of the sauce. We found this to be a very filling meal!

Wild Mushroom Quiche w/ Parmesan Crust

I realize mushrooms aren’t for everyone but if you do enjoy them, it seems there are no end to recipes you can use them in. As well as making a great filling for your quiche, its nice to add even more color and flavor with crust variations. Keep in mind that the best time to add extra ingredients to your pastry is after you’ve blended your flour and butter together in the food processor and before pulsing in the cold water.

Here’s a few ideas to elevate savory quiche crusts:

Herbs: Try adding 2 tablespoons each of any of these fresh herbs – chives, thyme, parsley, rosemary & sage. If you only have dried herbs, cut back to about 1/2-1 teaspoon each.

Cheese: As we all know, cheese makes everything better! Adding it to pastry is amazing. Try mixing it up with different combinations of cheese: Gruyere in the filling and parmesan in the crust for example.

Spices: Such as turmeric, fennel seed or even a grind of peppercorn (black, white or pink) can significantly alter any savory crust.

Bacon: Even just a little bacon will add some smokiness to the quiche. Be sure to chop it small enough after frying so it can be well incorporated into the crust.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Although they add tanginess and a nice smoky red color, they are often best as a background flavor. Since they can easily overpower when used in the filling, add them to the crust.

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Wild Mushroom Quiche w/ Parmesan Crust
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Parmesan Crust
Filling
Servings
Ingredients
Parmesan Crust
Filling
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Instructions
Pastry Crust
  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, grated Parmesan & salt. Cut in shortening & butter, using pastry blender or fork, until mixture forms coarse crumbs the size of small peas.
  2. Combine ice water and lemon juice (or vinegar); drizzle 1/2 of the lemon water over cold flour mixture and stir until the dough just starts to come together or turns “shaggy”. Begin adding a few more tablespoons of water at a time, stirring between each addition. Once most of the water has been used (but you have a tablespoon or two remaining) use your hands to gather the shaggy strands into a ball and knead the dough two or three times. If you have dry bits remaining in the bowl, add a little additional water.
  3. Gather the dough in a ball, dust your counter with a tiny amount of flour, and quickly pat dough into a small flat disk. Cut dough in half and then stack one piece on top of the other, flour side down. Use the heel of your hand and press the dough down and divide once more. Cover each piece with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator, but overnight is best.
Filling
  1. Slice green onion & mushrooms. Sauté in butter, add minced garlic, stirring often. Allow to cook for five minutes uncovered so the moisture evaporates.
  2. Cut broccoli into florets & add to pan along with chopped red pepper. Cook another 6 minutes then remove from heat.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  4. Grate Havarti cheese. In a container, whisk together eggs, milk & seasonings.
  5. Remove pastry from refrigerator & place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll dough out to fit a 9-10-inch pie pan. Trim away any excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang to form the crust.
  6. Sprinkle a small amount of the Havarti over bottom; top with vegetable mixture then remaining Havarti.
  7. Bake until quiche tests done. Since the quiche is made with milk instead cream it will take longer to bake. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing. This quiche tastes great just out of the oven, but even better the next day.
Recipe Notes
  • Don't hesitate to use cream instead of milk if you would like a richer filling.

Mushroom Crust Quiche

Quiche, the great savory dish that originated in Germany, was perfected by French cooks who went on to create one of the most popular quiche in the world called the quiche Lorraine. Since then, many new variants of the quiche have been added. But all of those creative modifications involved mainly the filling, and the crust had that same nice and familiar, but plain taste. For that reason, many cooks didn’t bother with the crust dough preparation; instead they would buy good frozen puff pastry and concentrate on the filling.

Enter the unique mushroom crust quiche! To my knowledge, the first publication of the recipe was in the mid 1970’s in ‘Sunset’s Favorite Recipes’ cookbook magazine. The main advantage of this recipe is that the mushroom crust is nice and light as well as it goes with almost any quiche filling.

For a crunchier crust, use wheat thins instead of saltines, regular onions instead of green or change up the spices. Use your choice of cheese, instead of Swiss go with Monterey Jack, gruyere, Jarlsberg or cheddar. Add bacon, sausage or some pulled turkey as I did. Of course, nothing wrong with just using veggies and cheese …. endless possibilities!

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Mushroom Crust Quiche
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Votes: 2
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Instructions
  1. In a skillet, melt 3 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms & garlic; cook until soft. Stir in crushed crackers. Remove from heat & press the mushroom mixture evenly over the bottom of a well-greased 8-9-inch pie pan.
  2. In the skillet, melt 2 Tbsp butter. Add green onions & cook until soft; spread over mushroom crust.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  4. Sprinkle about 3/4 of the grated Swiss cheese over the onion then top with the cooked, pulled turkey.
  5. In a small container, whisk together eggs, milk, spices, salt & pepper. Combine the remaining Swiss cheese with the parmesan & sprinkle it over the turkey. Pour egg mixture over all & bake for about 30 minutes or until set. Allow to stand for a few minutes before serving.

Chicken Legs w/ Mushroom Cornbread Stuffing

We tend to believe that if something takes more work, it automatically means that it has more value. Of course, anyone that follows this blog knows that I, being a ‘food industry’ person, quick isn’t generally what I’m all about. But in a world that thrives on making things complicated, dare to be simple some times. Enter the Stove Top Stuffing universe….

These chicken leg ‘quarters’ make such a nice meal when paired with stuffing. The smoky bacon flavor, the earthiness of the mushrooms as well as the slight sweetness of the cornbread stuffing complement each other well.

In a society that gravitates towards labels stamped with terms like organic or GMO-free, sometimes the simplicity of quick fix food can be a treat.

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Chicken Legs w/ Mushroom Cornbread Stuffing
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Instructions
  1. In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp; remove with a slotted spoon to paper towel. Drain, reserving 2 Tbsp of drippings.
  2. Sauté celery & onion in drippings until tender. Add mushrooms, herbs & seasoning; cook & stir for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in stuffing mix, celery leaves, parsley & bacon. Add broth & gently combine. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 13" x 9" baking pan or line with greased foil paper.
  4. Wash & trim any excess fat from chicken leg quarters. Loosen skin over thighs to form pockets for the stuffing.
  5. Fill thigh 'pockets' with stuffing & place in baking pan. Place any remaining stuffing around the 2 leg quarters to bake at the same time. Cover with foil for about 30 minutes then uncover & finish roasting until chicken is cooked through & stuffing is lightly browned.

Turkey Stuffed Pasta Shells

I have always favored using ‘conchiglioni’ pasta, the name derives from the Italian word meaning ‘seashells’. Their shape, size and consistency are the perfect vessel for bold, rich fillings and flavorful sauces. Baked pastas, or ‘pastas al forno’ as they are called in Italy, date back to the Renaissance when they were being served at the banquets of nobles.

Over the years, I have stuffed jumbo pasta shells with just about every imaginable filling I could conjure up. To say the least, I love this kind of meal.

Since we are just past ‘turkey season’ and if you are someone who enjoys that festive meal … here’s a new spin on it. Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and gravy all tucked into some pasta shells.

Without a doubt, these shells were even better than I had expected and this recipe made enough that I froze some for another meal. What’s not to like about that?

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Turkey Stuffed Pasta Shells
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta shells according to package directions for al dente. Drain & set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, scramble-fry ground turkey with spices until no longer pink.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  4. In a large bowl, combine mozzarella cheese, turkey, stuffing & green onions. In a small bowl, Stir sweet potatoes with chili powder.
  5. Fill each pasta shell with 2 Tbsp stuffing mixture & 2 tsp sweet potato mixture. Combine 1 cup of gravy with any remaining filling & spread on the bottom of a 13" x 9" baking dish. Place filled shells overtop, drizzle with remaining gravy & sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake, covered for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Serve with cranberry sauce if you wish.

Turkey Breast w/ Fruity Savory Stuffing

December 25th is not only Christmas Day, but it holds an extra special meaning for our family. It is my sister Rita’s birth date. When we were growing up, being able to enjoy all the great things that come with the Christmas meal as well as birthday cake …. could it get better than that!!

Although your family’s Christmas traditions may vary depending on the culture you were raised in, we like to think food is a language that needs no translation. I believe that many of our dishes are from an assortment of different cultures mixed into one recipe. Such is the case of our turkey dinner this year. I’ve incorporated a Moroccan inspired fruit stuffing along with our traditional savory one.

In view of the ongoing pandemic, hopefully caution will be taken in the holiday events your involved in. The best gift you can give this Christmas is not infecting others with Covid-19.

As much as I like certain aspects of the Christmas season, I find it becomes a little overwhelming. It seems a massive wave of Christmas capitalism takes over every aspect of one’s life from the end of October to January. I like to call it a form of OCD: Obsessive Christmas Disorder.

I was raised on a farm in southern Alberta at a time when Christmas celebrations were focused around our family blessings and not how many blow-up Santa Clauses or realistic sleighs we set up on our front lawns.

It would almost seem more importance is being given to getting more likes on Facebook & Instagram than it is carrying on a tradition based on family.

This year will not be perfect, it never is, and the holidays are a hard enough time for many, regardless of pandemics and catastrophic weather. I hope there will still be a little magic for everyone, however you spend the holidays.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RITA!

WE LOVE YOU VERY MUCH & ARE SHARING YOUR DAY IN OUR THOUGHTS

Print Recipe
Turkey Breast w/ Fruity Savory Stuffing
Votes: 2
Rating: 5
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Servings
SERVINGS
Ingredients
Fruit Stuffing
Savory Stuffing
Herb Butter
Servings
SERVINGS
Ingredients
Fruit Stuffing
Savory Stuffing
Herb Butter
Votes: 2
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Fruit Stuffing
  1. In a small bowl, combine dates, apricots, raisins, apple & orange juice & zest; season with spices & mix well. Set aside to marinate.
Savory Stuffing
  1. In a saucepan, sauté onion, celery, garlic, mushrooms & seasonings in margarine. Remove from heat.
  2. Place vegetable/seasoning mixture in a large bowl & combine with dry bread cubes & broth, adding only enough broth to make proper stuffing consistency. Set aside.
Turkey
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Lay turkey breast on a clean work surface so that it lies open & flat. Cover with plastic wrap, then pound lightly with a meat mallet to flatten into an even thickness all over. Discard plastic wrap.
  3. On one half of the turkey breast spread a thick layer of the savory stuffing then top it with the fruit stuffing. Fold the adjoining half of the turkey breast over all. Fasten with metal skewers if you wish to help to keep stuffing enclosed.
  4. Place a wire rack in a roasting pan & lay stuffed turkey roast on it. Brush herb butter over turkey breast. Roast uncovered, until turkey reaches an internal temperature of 180 F. about 2 hours. Cover loosely with foil if top browns too quickly.
  5. Place any extra savory stuffing in a buttered casserole & bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is lightly toasted.
  6. Remove turkey breast from oven, tent with foil & allow to rest for about 5-10 minutes. Make sure to remove all toothpicks and/or skewers before slicing to serve.
Recipe Notes
  • You will notice the recipe for the savory stuffing is well more than what is needed to stuff the turkey breast. For me personally, the stuffing is the most important part of the whole meal so I made sure there would be lots. 
  • Don't hesitate to half the recipe if you feel its more than what you need.

Salmon Leek Pelmeni ‘Rose’

Classic pelmeni are dumplings of Russian cuisine that consist of a filling wrapped in thin, unleavened dough. There is debate about the exact place of origin with Ural and Siberia both maintaining strong claims. This Russian comfort food is part of the group of Eastern European dumplings like ‘vareniki, pierogis and uszka’. The word “pelmeni” describes the ear-shaped appearance of these dumplings. Fillings generally consist of ground meat such as pork, lamb, beef or mushrooms as well as salt, pepper and sometimes herbs and onions.

In Russia’s Far East the locals replace meats with salmon to make a native version of this common national dish. This is an exotic region with a unique climate, landscape, flora and fauna. Basic fruits and vegetables that grow in most Russian home gardens must be shipped to this region because of its harsh climate does not allow much to grow. Dairy products are also imported at high cost so they rarely are found in the local diet.

Fish and seafood are the basic staples in the Far Eastern diet and are not delicacies for special occasions as is the case in Russia’s European and Siberian regions. Fish is often used instead of meat in cooking common Russian dishes such as cutlets, cabbage rolls and pelmeni.

Back in March of this year (2021), I had posted a blog about traditional pelmeni containing beef filling. We enjoyed that meal a lot and have since had it numerous times with various fillings. After doing some research, I realized that fish pelmeni was a ‘real thing’. I had also seen an idea from the internet about using salmon and pastry to form a ‘salmon rose’. I thought, why couldn’t that tender pelmeni dough be used along with fresh salmon & leeks to make something special? I realize I have strayed a long way from the classic ear shaped pelmeni but the flavor is just as wonderful.

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Salmon Leek Pelmeni 'Rose'
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine European
Servings
Ingredients
Pelmeni Dough
Leek & Salmon Fillings
Veggies
Course Main Dish
Cuisine European