Friday, 21 September 2012

Sunday Dinner with Chef Simon [Sept21]

SaskMade Marketplace would like to welcome the esteemed Chef Simon of Simon's Fine Foods in Saskatoon for a new post series here on our blog. Sunday dinners have become a rare and treasured time for families to make time for each other, make meals to remember, and make memories to last a lifetime. Chef Simon will be bringing you inspiration and instruction for your own Sunday meal, using local Saskatchewan ingredients and European inspiration.

I’ll start by introducing myself and what the purpose of this blog is. I’m a British Chef living here in Saskatoon with my wife and daughter.

I’m an amateur food photographer (you’ll see my work on the blogs), blogger, and foodie. I’ve been cooking professionally for 24 years now working and running kitchens in hotels restaurants, gastro pubs, wine bars in fact anywhere there’s a stove and a fridge. My food background is making food from scratch using seasonal, local, organic and free range wherever possible.

I’m the previous Chef/Owner of Simon’s British Flavours restaurant and now run a business called Simon’s Fine Foods where I run cooking classes. I also produce frozen gourmet meals, which can now also be found at SaskMade Marketplace.

After a recent meeting with April Nichol and Candace Ippolito who are owners of SaskMade, we happened to discover a common theme, and part of that theme is the fact that as busy as we all are in our daily lives, we should try to get back to some traditions where food is concerned.

Now to me, one of those traditions that is still strong in the UK is Sunday lunch, typically a time when you have a roast joint of meat such as Beef striploin, leg of lamb, pork loin with crackling, chicken and all the accompaniments.

Here in Canada, Sunday dinner is the tradition. So the idea was between my knowledge of food and SaskMade’s products, we could offer some unique recipes using the wealth of products that are available here in Saskatchewan. Hopefully we'll entice you to try the recipe for yourself, and start your own family tradition where once a month for 2-3 hours you get family or friends together make a meal and sit and talk.

We make time for lots of things so why not make time to eat well and hang out together? Today I decided to roll into SaskMade and grab a basket and just see what dish would jump out at me, I checked out the frozen meat and fish section first as this would guide the whole decision making process.

The first item that jumped out was bison, the reason being we don’t have bison in the UK so whenever I get the chance I like cooking with this magnificent beast. So after looking around the shop I chose the following ingredients:

 Burgers? Yep, slabs of ground bison ready to be made into meatballs!

Meatballs are common in pretty much every country in some form and flavour so as the evenings are starting to cool off I thought this would be a perfect start to a Sunday dinner blog. I would take the meat and use fruit to compliment with the apple and Saskatoon berries, mustard for a little kick and bergamot for a wild prairie note, the wild rice was a great way to add a little texture and chewiness.

The final dish would be “Baked Bison and Wild Rice Meat Balls,” which sounded pretty good to me.

  • 1 package bison burgers / 2.1lbs 
  • 1 pckt dried wild crabapple (soak in hot water for 1 minute) 
  • 5 tbsp wild rice (before cooking) 
  • 2 tsp dried minced garlic 2 tsp chopped dried bergamot (green leaves only) 
  • 4 tsp German style mustard 
  • 4 tsp Saskatoon berry chutney 
  • 4 tbsp finely chopped shallot or yellow onion 
  • ½ tsp dried thyme leaves 
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved 
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil 
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper 
  • ½ tsp salt 4tbsp Canola oil for frying meatballs 
  • 1 whole egg beaten 
  • 3 tbsp panko or dry breadcrumbs 

Chop the rehydrated apple and bergamot into small pieces.
In a bowl combine all the ingredients except the tomato and basil.
Make into 1-1.5 inch balls and place on a tray then into the fridge for 20 minutes.
In a medium hot frying pan add the canola oil and then seal/brown the bison on all sides.
Place into a deep pan or a casserole dish then add the chopped tomatoes, torn basil and 1 cup of water.
Place a lid on top and into a pre-heated oven 345F for about 1 hour.
You then remove the meatballs and keep in a warm place and reduce the cooking liquid if needed on the stove (you’ll know by taste), then pour over the meatballs top with more torn basil and serve.

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