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’Homegrown’ recipes for borscht, chili, chicken

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The cookbook “Homegrown” features recipes highlighting Canada’s diverse agriculture from coast to coast.

Author Mairlyn Smith, who compiled 160 recipes submitted by professional home economists and students, also includes plenty of tips on how to maximize Canadian products in home cooking.

Home economists are also in the business of helping individuals and families boost nutrition and health while grocery shopping and cooking. Many of the recipes give suggestions on how to use leftovers to reduce waste.

Here are some recipes from “Homegrown” to try at home.

BORSCHT

This multi-seasonal recipe was created by professional home economist Maria McLellan, a Canadian of Ukrainian heritage who grew up in the west end of Toronto.

Smith says she had nine submissions of borscht recipes for “Homegrown.”

“This one blew my mind because it was so different and it’s really, really good,” she says.

McLellan writes that she tried many recipes over the years “but decided that I wanted to create a recipe that was nutrient rich and contained the particular flavours I enjoyed. This borscht recipe is meatless, but full of flavourful vegetables along with garlic, lima beans, parsley and caraway seeds.”

She suggests making it the way it’s set out in the recipe and then adapting it to suit your own tastes.

To avoid beet-red fingertips, peel and cut cooked beets wearing rubber gloves. Cut into cubes on waxed or parchment paper to avoid staining the cutting board. If you’re in a hurry, use four to five small canned beets.

250 g (1/2 lb) small beets (approx 4 to 5 fresh or canned)

30 ml (2 tbsp) canola oil

1 onion, chopped

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 medium potatoes, scrubbed well, cubed and rinsed to remove excess starch

3 celery stalks with leaves, chopped

2 carrots, scrubbed well, finely chopped or julienned into matchstick pieces no longer than 2.5 cm (1 inch)

1/4 small cabbage, shredded into slivers no longer than 2.5 cm (1 inch)

2 l (8 cups) no-salt-added vegetable or beef stock

1 bay leaf

5 ml (1 tsp) caraway seeds

5 ml (1 tsp) dried basil leaves

5 ml (1 tsp) dried sage leaves

2 ml (1/2 tsp) freshly ground black pepper

One can (540 ml/19 oz) lima beans, well rinsed and drained or 500 ml (2 cups) frozen

75 ml (1/3 cup) chopped fresh parsley

15 ml (1 tbsp) balsamic or apple cider vinegar

2 ml (1/2 tsp) iodized salt

Rinse beets under cold running water; trim any green ends and place unpeeled beets in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover with a lid and simmer until tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Drain. When cool to the touch, peel and cube; set aside.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, add oil, onion and garlic; saute for 3 to 4 minutes or until softened but not browned.

Add potatoes, celery, carrots and cabbage and saute for 1 minute. Add stock, bay leaf, caraway seeds, basil, sage and pepper and stir until combined. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer, cooking for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Remove bay leaf. Add lima beans, parsley, vinegar and reserved beets. Bring back to a boil, then reduce to simmer. When soup is heated through, serve. Soup can be made the day before, and flavour improves when refrigerated and reheated the next day.

Makes 3 l (12 cups). One serving is 375 ml (1 1/2 cups).

Nutrition information per serving: 175 calories, 4 g total fat (0.4 g saturated fat, 0.1 trans fat), 411 mg sodium, 31.8 g carbohydrate, 5.3 g fibre, 10.2 g sugars, 0 g added sugars, 5.2 g protein. Carbohydrate Choices: 2

CHIPOTLE BLACK BEAN CHILI

Chili is pure comfort food and so easy to prepare. This version, created by professional home economist Teresa Makarewicz, is delicious served over cooked barley or spooned over a baked or microwaved sweet potato.

Tempt your family by setting out small bowls of any of the toppings suggested below and let everyone create their own signature bowl of chili.

Upon standing, this chili will thicken. When reheating, add more water if you like and thin to desired consistency.

Freeze leftovers for up to three months so it’s ready for a lunch or busy weeknight dinner option.

Canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can be found in the Mexican section of most grocery stores. To freeze, puree the entire can of chipotles with adobo sauce until smooth. Spoon 15-ml (1-tbsp) portions on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until firm; transfer to an airtight container and freeze.

10 ml (2 tsp) canola oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

2 carrots, scrubbed well and diced

30 ml (2 tbsp) chili powder

15 ml (1 tbsp) paprika

5 ml (1 tsp) dried oregano

5 ml (1 tsp) ground cumin

2 cans (540 ml/19 oz) black beans, well rinsed and drained, divided

1 can (796 ml/28 oz) crushed tomatoes

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) fresh or frozen corn (no need to thaw)

125 ml (1/2 cup) water

30 ml (2 tbsp) pureed canned chipotle pepper with adobo sauce

Heat a large pot over medium heat; add oil, garlic, onion, red pepper and carrots and saute for 10 minutes or until onion is softened and slightly browned. Stir in chili powder, paprika, oregano and cumin; saute for 1 minute or until fragrant.

Puree 250 ml (1 cup) of the beans in a food processor or mash well with a potato masher. Add pureed and whole beans, tomatoes, corn, water and chipotle pepper to the pot, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes or until carrots are tender, stirring occasionally.

Serve with your choice of topping: Thinly sliced green onions, chopped fresh cilantro, plain yogurt, shredded Canadian old cheddar cheese.

Makes 2.25 l (9 cups). One serving is 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) without toppings.

Nutrition information per serving: 221 calories, 3.2 g fat (0.3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 347 mg sodium, 40 g carbohydrates, 10.6 g fibre, 10 g sugars, 0 g added sugars, 9 g protein. Carbohydrate Choices: 2.

APPLE AND THYME ROASTED CHICKEN WITH PLANNED LEFTOVERS

Saving time in the kitchen is all about planning ahead. Professional home economist Michele McAdoo suggests roasting the chicken and serve as is on the first day. Two days later transform the leftovers into one of the four variations suggested below.

Smith explains that there’s no citrus fruit in “Homegrown” because it’s not grown in Canada, so an apple is used here to infuse flavour and provide moisture to prevent the chicken from drying out.

1 whole chicken (1.5 kg/3 lb)

1 bunch fresh thyme, divided

1 medium Royal Gala apple, scrubbed, peel left on, cut into 8 wedges

45 ml (3 tbsp) canola oil

2 ml (1/2 tsp) iodized salt

5 ml (1 tsp) freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 220 C (425 F). Prepare a shallow roasting pan with a rack.

Remove chicken giblets and neck. Remove any excess fat and pat dry with a paper towel. Stuff chicken cavity with 10 sprigs of thyme and apple wedges.

Remove leaves from remaining thyme stems and chop to make 15 ml (1 tbsp) thyme. In a small bowl, mix together chopped thyme, oil, salt and pepper.

Brush bottom of chicken with mixture. Tuck wings under chicken and place it breast side up on rack in roasting pan. Brush remaining mixture under breast skin and on the outside surface of the chicken.

Roast chicken for 1 1/2 hours or until cooked through (chicken should reach an internal temperature of 85 C/185 F when a food thermometer is inserted into the breast or the deep thigh). Remove from roasting pan, cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes. Carve. Serve. Remove and refrigerate any leftovers from the carcass within 1 hour.

Makes 1 whole chicken. One serving is 1/8 chicken.

Nutrition information per serving: 320 calories, 15.6 g total fat (3.2 g saturated fat, 0 trans fat), 267 mg sodium, 3 g carbohydrate, 0.6 g fibre, 1.8 g sugars, 0 g added sugars, 40 g protein. Carbohydrate Choices: less than 1.

Four great ways to use leftover chicken:— Chicken Quesadillas: Add cooked leftover chicken to your favourite cheese quesadilla recipe.

— Chicken Salad Sandwiches: Finely chop leftover chicken and stir in low-fat mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, diced celery and green onion.

— Chicken Fried Rice: Add cooked leftover chicken to your favourite fried rice recipe.

— Chicken Noodle Casserole: Instead of canned tuna, add cooked leftover chicken to your favourite noodle casserole recipe.

Source: “Homegrown: Celebrating the Canadian Foods We Grow, Raise and Produce” by Mairlyn Smith with recipes from the Ontario Home Economics Association (Whitecap, 2015).

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