This warm and satisfying dish pays homage to slow-cooked North African tagines, but comes together in no time, combining sweet apricots with savoury and tender vegetables, legumes, and chicken. As with the black quinoa and lentil pilaf, the spices can be premixed at home if you’re heading out of town, making for efficient packing without sacrificing flavour. Using a fresh lemon (which doesn’t need to be refrigerated) also means you won’t need to lug a bottle of lemon juice along.
Feel free to add other vegetables such as sweet potato, squash, parsnips, turnip, or cauliflower, or swap in dried figs, dates, or prunes for apricots.
Any type of olives will work––e.g. green, purple, or black––and though you don’t need an entire jar for the recipe, you can serve the rest as an appetizer or snack.
You can use dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained, and simmered in water until tender, or you can use canned, which saves time. Be sure to drain and rinse canned chickpeas thoroughly in water before using to significantly reduce the sodium content.
In large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add onion, garlic, carrots, and zucchini. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add spices, olives, chicken, lemon zest (not juice), dried apricots, and stock. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until carrots and chicken are tender.
Add chickpeas and simmer for 5 minutes more. Stir in lemon juice and adjust salt to taste.
Serve with couscous or rice.
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.