Traditionally made with bratwurst and fried, these plant-based balls are baked and made with tempeh and mushrooms for a savoury, satisfying chewy interior and a crispy exterior. You can also use your homemade plant-based bratwurst as a stuffing in place of the croutons, but it seems a shame to go to all that work shaping them just to pull them apart.
To make honey mustard, simply add up to equal parts honey or another liquid sweetener to yellow, grainy, or Dijon mustard, to taste. You can also add ground cayenne or smoked paprika for extra flavour.
In medium heat-proof bowl, soak sunflower seeds in 1 cup (250 mL) boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking liquid, and transfer seeds to blender with 2 Tbsp (30 mL) reserved liquid. Blend until smooth, adding more liquid if needed to blend.
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).
In large skillet, heat 1 tsp (5 mL) oil over medium heat. When hot, sauté onion and garlic for 7 minutes, stirring frequently, adding water if sticking. Transfer to large bowl and add mushrooms, crumbled tempeh, drained sauerkraut, ground chia seeds, parsley, salt, pepper, cumin, caraway, 1/2 cup (125 mL) panko, and blended sunflower seeds. Form mixture into about 18 balls (between the size of golf balls and tennis balls), squeezing out excess moisture. Place on plates or baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
In small bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour and beer or water. The consistency should be like thick soup rather than paste. Place remaining 1 cup (250 mL) panko in second small bowl. Check the sodium content of panko and add a pinch of salt if less than 50 mg per 1/4 cup (60 mL). Dip hands in flour mixture, then roll a ball around in your hands—rather than placing the ball directly into flour mixture. Then roll the ball directly in bowl of panko before returning it to plate. (The ball won’t fall apart if you roll directly in panko, but it will if you roll directly in the sticky flour mixture.) Repeat with remaining balls.
In large skillet, heat 1 tsp (5 mL) oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add half the balls and cook for 1 minute. Add more oil if necessary. Turn balls several times to brown all over, cooking for 1 minute per rotation. Transfer balls to baking sheet. Wipe out skillet, add remaining oil, and brown remaining balls. When browned, bake balls on baking sheet in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Serve with grainy, Dijon, or honey mustard (see tip), or mushroom sauce.
Tourtière is, for me, the dish that best represents Québec. It can be traced back to the 1600s, and there’s no master recipe; every family has their own twist. Originally, it was made with game birds or game meat, like rabbit, pheasant, or moose; that’s one of the reasons why I prefer it with venison instead of beef or pork. Variation: If you prefer to make single servings, follow our lead at the restaurant, where we make individual tourtières in the form of a dome (pithivier) and fill them with 5 ounces (160 g) of the ground venison mixture. Variation: You can also use a food processor to make the dough. Place the flour, salt, and butter in the food processor and pulse about ten times, until the butter is incorporated—don’t overmix. It should look like wet sand, and a few little pieces of butter here and there is okay. With the motor running, through the feed tube, slowly add ice water until the dough forms a ball—again don’t overmix. Wrap, chill, and roll out as directed above.
My love of artichokes continues with this classic recipe, one of the best ways to eat this interesting, underrated, and strange vegetable. Frozen artichoke hearts are a time-saving substitute, though the flavour and texture of fresh artichokes are, by far, much superior and definitely preferred.
Cervelle de canut is basically the Boursin of France, an herbed fresh farmer’s cheese spread that’s a speciality of Lyon. The name is kind of weird, as it literally means “silk worker’s brain,” named after nineteenth-century Lyonnaise silk workers, who were called canuts. Sadly, the name reflects the low opinion of the people towards these workers. Happily for us, though, it’s delicious—creamy, fragrant, and fresh at the same time. Cervelle de canut is one of my family’s favourite dishes. It’s a great make-ahead appetizer that you can pop out of the fridge once your guests arrive. Use a full-fat cream cheese for the dish, or it will be too runny and less delicious.