An all-around winner for the entire family, this sweet potato soup is slightly sweet with just a hint of spice. The addition of dried apricots makes this soup a beta carotene star, which helps stimulate your body’s immune system—a definite plus in the winter months.
1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
4 shallots, coarsely chopped
4 cups (1 kg) sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly cracked pepper
4 cups (1 L) low-sodium chicken stock
8 whole, organic, sulphite-free dried apricots
Heat medium pot over medium heat. Add oil and shallots. Saute till shallots are slightly golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and pepper. Saute for 2 minutes.
Pour in chicken stock. Add apricots. Bring to the boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft.
Remove soup from heat. Purée soup using a hand-held immersion blender or transfer soup to a blender. Purée till smooth. Serve.
Makes 7 cups (1.75 L).
Each 1 cup (250 mL) serving contains: 98 calories; 2.4 g protein; 1.9 g total fat (0 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 16 g carbohydrates; 2 g fibre; 351 mg sodium
source: "Winter Vegetables", alive #327, January 2010
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.