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A Top Chef’s Perspective

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Holiday Traditions & What Foods We Make

As we prepare to celebrate the holidays, either religious, cultural, or just your own traditions, we can’t forget to think of why we are doing what we do. One of my family’s holiday traditions is fresh pickled vegetables and refried stuffing.

My mother would spend the fall pickling a variety of vegetables like the mustard pickles I have chosen to showcase and cranberry sauce. I would help her pick vegetables from our garden and climb the apple tree to get the last apple on the tree, braving the bees to pick the blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries for her to turn into jams and jellies. We would place them in our root cellar in anticipation of family holidays.  Enjoy these recipes that I am sharing with you today to help create your own holiday dinner traditions. 

— Chef Clarence Buchanon, Executive Chef, Sawridge Inn & Conference Centre

{tab=Double Baked Stuffing}

Serving Size: 24
Preparation Time: 45 min
Category: For fun!

Ingredients (You can use store packaged stuffing)

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3 cups) 
  • 2 granny smith apples
  • 6 stalks celery with leaves, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 21/2 cups) 
  • 1 (14-ounce) package seasoned bread stuffing cubes (or fresh cut bread) 
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped 
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt 
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage, crumbled 
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 11/4 cups hot homemade turkey stock or canned turkey stock

In 12-inch, heavy skillet over moderate heat, heat butter until hot but not smoking. Stir in onion and celery, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, 15 to 20 minutes. (Vegetables can be prepared up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated. Reheat before continuing. In 12-inch, heavy skillet over moderately high heat, sauté, stirring often, until heated through, about 5 minutes.)

Transfer to large bowl and add stuffing cubes, parsley, celery salt, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir in 11/4 cups hot stock.  Preheat oven to 350°F and butter 3-quart casserole or 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Transfer stuffing to dish and drizzle with 1/2 cup hot stock. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until heated through, about 40 minutes. Take out and cool.

Portion out stuffing with hands or use an ice cream scoop to desired size. Form stuffing into a patty and fry in pan with butter until crispy or brush with butter and bake in oven at 375°F until crispy.

{tab=Cranberry Sauce}

Serving Size: 24
Preparation Time: 45 min
Category: Sauce

Ingredients (You can use store packaged)

  • 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries, rinsed, drained, and picked through
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1/3 cup Captain Morgan Spice Rum 
  • 3 tablespoons Cherry Brandy or Calvados 
  • 1/2 cup of water

In heavy medium saucepan, over moderate heat, combine cranberries, sugar, and ½ cup water. Bring to boil, stirring often to dissolve sugar, then reduce heat to moderately low and simmer, stirring often, until thickened and reduced to about 3 cups, about 15 minutes.  Transfer to medium bowl and cool, stirring often, until tepid, about 30 minutes. Stir in Spice Rum and liqueur. Transfer to serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 2 hours. (Sauce can be made up to 2 weeks ahead and refrigerated.) Serve chilled or at room temperature.

{tab=Mustard Pickles}

Serving Size: 12 litres
Category: Preserved Vegetables


  • 1 quart large cucumbers, cubed
  • 1 quart very small cucumbers 
  • 1 quart small white onions or pearl onions, peeled  
  • 2 sweet red peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped 
  • 1 large cauliflower, broken into flowerets 
  • 1 cup salt 
  • 2 quarts water 
  • 6 tablespoons dried mustard 
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric 
  • 1 cup flour 
  • 21/2 cups sugar 
  • 2 quarts cider vinegar

Place all the vegetables into a large bowl, sprinkle with the salt, cover with the water and leave overnight. In the morning, pour the vegetables and brine into a large pot, bring to a boil and drain. Mix the dry mustard, turmeric, flour and sugar in a large saucepan. Gradually add the vinegar, stirring until smooth. Cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly. Combine sauce and vegetables in the large pot, heat just to the boiling point, pour into hot sterilized jars.

Sterilized Jars: Wash jars in hot suds and rinse in scalding water. Put jars in a water-bath canner or on a rack set in a deep pot and cover with hot water.  Bring water to a boil and boil jars, covered, 15 minutes from time steam emerges from pot. Turn off heat and let jars stand in hot water.  Just before filling them, invert jars onto a kitchen towel to dry. (Jars should be filled while still hot.) Sterilize lids in boiling water for 5 minutes.


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