Food has always been a central part of holiday celebrations, and certain foods have become so associated with particular holidays as to be inextricably entwined. Just as turkey is synonymous with Thanksgiving, many families cannot imagine Christmas without a goose, chicken, or ham.
But while most families have favorite traditions they return to year after year, it can also be fun to change up these classic dishes with something a little different. Here are three incredible recipes inspired by local Ontario meats to try out with your family this holiday season:
Few types of meat are as evocative of Canadian cuisine as buffalo, and a rich stew is one of the best ways to capture its sensual and earthy flavor. For the best results, order fresh meat online to save time and marinade it in a dry rub of salt, pepper, cloves, and garlic for at least twenty-four hours before cooking.
Buffalo pairs very well with hearty and flavourful root vegetables like turnips, beets, and carrots, and if you want to really push the fusion envelope, you can turn your buffalo stew into buffalo borscht by adding cabbage and using ground buffalo.
Tourtiere is one of the most famous French-Canadian meals, and every winter millions of Quebecois families tuck into these hearty and delicious meat pies.
While there are hundreds of variations on this traditional dish, they all share a few basic characteristics. A classic tourtiere consists of minced meat, butter, and rich winter spices in a light and flaky pastry shell. In most cases, the meat is some mixture of beef and pork, and the key spices are cinnamon, sage, thyme, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves.
More adventuresome chefs may wish to make a few substitutions, however: the basic tourtiere recipe can be adjusted to include venison or buffalo to give it a more authentic flavor of wild game, or it can be given an Indian twist by including garam masala, paprika, and ginger.
Roast Leg of Lamb
For cooks who want to explore a more Mediterranean palette this holiday season, roast leg of lamb is a sure-fire way to impress your family and friends. A staple of Greek and Levantine Christmas celebrations, a roast lamb shank is a great way to add some spice to your usual holiday menu.
To get the most out of your lamb, marinade it in salt, pepper, olive oil, and rosemary, and pan sear it in a cast iron skillet before putting it in the oven to roast. Serve with rice, tomatoes, olives, and plenty of fresh bread.
Nothing brings people together like food. Whether your whole family likes to congregate in the kitchen to prepare time-honored holiday favorites, or the host has the sacred obligation to feed the visitors, trying out new recipes can be a great way to capture the spirit of the season. And who knows — maybe one of these recipes will turn out to be the beginning of a new family tradition?