Tag Archives: comfort-food

chiktay stuffed plantain cups

This Smoked Herring and Green Plantains Appetizer is Haiti in One Bite

This vibrant appetizer — full of plenty flavourful ingredients — is “Haiti in one bite,” says Nahika Hillery.  “Smoked herring (aranso) and green plantains are staples in our cuisine. They’re versatile ingredients and found in many other popular Haitian dishes,” Nahika says. “Can’t find smoked herring? No problem. ‘Chiktay’ means to shred and you can shred any cooked fish or meat to use in this recipe (just skip the desalting) and still enjoy the bold Haitian flavours.”


Chiktay Aranso Stuffed Plantain Cups

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

4-6 smoked herring
½ cup olive oil
1 finely diced carrot
1 finely diced red onion
1 cup finely diced green bell pepper
1 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 cup finely diced orange bell pepper
2 finely chopped Scotch bonnet chiles (including the seeds), plus 1 whole Scotch bonnet chile
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 whole cloves
1 tsp chicken bouillon powder or to taste
½ tsp adobo seasoning (optional based on saltiness of herring)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 sprig fresh thyme
Roughly chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbsp lime juice
3 cups frying oil
2 green plantains
Kosher salt
Finely diced tomato, finely diced avocado and sour cream, for garnish (optional)

Equipment:

Tostonera (plantain press), optional

chiktay stuffed plantain cups

Directions:

1. Remove the saltiness of the herring by placing it in a bowl of cold water and allowing it to soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain the water, then place the herring in a pot of water and boil for 10 to 15 minutes. The herring should taste no more than mildly salty; if it is still salty, boil for another 5 minutes and drain. Shred the herring with 2 forks, removing any large bones.

Tip: Salt is used to preserve smoked herring, so desalting is crucial to avoid an overly salty dish.

2. Pour the olive oil into a large skillet and set over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and red onions and cook, covered, for 2 minutes. Add the green pepper, red pepper, orange pepper and chopped Scotch bonnet chiles and cook, covered, stirring frequently, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook an additional minute.

Related: Last-Minute Party Appetizers That Are Beyond Easy

3. Add the shredded herring. Puncture the whole Scotch bonnet chile with the 2 cloves and add it to the skillet. Add the chicken bouillon, adobo seasoning, garlic powder, thyme, some parsley and lime juice. Mix everything well. Cover and let cook down for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Discard the whole Scotch bonnet and thyme sprig.

4. Pour the frying oil into a large skillet and set over medium-high heat. Peel the plantains and cut each into 4 to 5 pieces. Fry the pieces until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Remove from the pan and press each piece of plantain flat; you can use a plantain press or the bottom of a small heavy pan or a plate. Mold the plantains into cup shapes (you can use a lemon squeezer or a tostonera with a rounded shape). Carefully fry the plantain cups again for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain the cups on a paper towel-lined plate or on a wire rack and sprinkle lightly with salt (optional).

Related: Top Pescatarian Dinner Ideas That Make Seafood the Star

Tip: Green plantains, not ripe ones, are best to use to create sturdy cups.

5. Fill the fried plantain cups with the smoked herring mixture. Garnish with diced tomato, avocado and sour cream if using and enjoy!

Like this recipe? Try this Guyanese roti or Peruvian cebiche.

Turkey tortellini in white bowl

Turkey Tortellini is the Perfect Special Occasion Dinner for Two

Thomas Keller’s recipe for pasta dough (from his important 1999 cookbook, The French Laundry) is the first pasta recipe I ever learned and the only one I’ve used since then. The only alteration I’ve made is to use canola oil instead of olive oil — because it’s from the Canadian Prairies. Of course, the turkey tortellini filling and the wild rice are my own Indigenous spins. And since tortellini is so late-1990s, I just had to go with a rich cream sauce!

Turkey tortellini in white bowl

Turkey Tortellini With Creamed Wild Rice

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

Pasta
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg
6 large egg yolks
1 ½ tsp canola oil
1 Tbsp milk (2% or 3.25%)

Filling
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 cup diced onion
6 oz / 170 g ground turkey
6 fresh sage leaves, finely minced
1 large egg
¼ cup whipping (35%) cream
¼ tsp salt (or to taste)
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)

Wild Rice
1 ½ cups water
½ cup wild rice, rinsed and drained
½ cup whipping (35%) cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional), for serving

Equipment:

Pasta Roller

Directions:

1. Make the pasta dough: on a clean, non-porous surface or a large wooden cutting board, shape the flour into a mound with a 6-inch crater in the centre. Put the egg and yolks, oil and milk in the centre. Using your fingers, break the yolks and start to swirl the wet ingredients with your fingers, but don’t let the inside of the crater break through the flour sides. As you continue to swirl, the flour will very slowly incorporate into the eggs. Be patient and keep swirling. You can start to use your other hand to shore up the sides and move some of the flour into the egg mixture. As the mixture thickens, the dough will start to become shaggy. Once you can’t swirl any more flour in this way, use a pastry scraper to start to fold the flour into the dough and knead it with the heels of your hands. Keep kneading and incorporating as much flour and parts that have broken off into the main dough ball. This will take a good 10 to 15 minutes. The dough will eventually start to soften and become smooth and elastic. Keep kneading for another 10 minutes. You can’t overdo the kneading.

Related: Easy Stuffed Pasta Recipes That Start With Store-Bought Noodles

2. Form a tight dough ball and wrap it in plastic wrap. Let it rest for 30 minutes to an hour. (You can make the dough the day before and keep it tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Bring it back to room temperature before you roll it out).

3. Make the filling: heat the oil in a cast iron or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sautee until they start to turn brown at the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the ground turkey and cook, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon, until it’s cooked through and becomes crumbly in texture, about 5 minutes. Add the minced sage leaves and continue to cook, stirring often, until the mixture becomes fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in the egg and the cream and cook just until the filling comes together, about 3 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper.

4. Make the rice: meanwhile, combine the water, a pinch of salt and rice in a pot. Stir well, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until most of the rice kernels have opened fully, showing the white inside. Drain well, cover and set aside.

Related: Romantic Date Night Recipes to Make at Home

5. Make the tortellini: divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Lightly flour a clean work surface or a cutting board. Set your pasta roller to the thickest setting. Flatten a portion of dough into a disc (keep the rest of the dough covered so it doesn’t dry out) and send it through the pasta roller. Repeat, rolling and gradually reducing the setting on the pasta roller to its thinnest setting, until you get the pasta sheet as thin as you can. Place the pasta sheet on a floured surface, cover with a cloth, and repeat with the remaining dough portions.

6. Cut each pasta sheet into 2-inch squares. Place 1 tsp of turkey filling in the centre of each square. With slightly wetted fingers, bring two opposite corners of each filled square together to form a triangle. Press the edges together to seal the tortellini. Then bring two points of the triangle together and press to seal (it should now resemble a tortellini). One point will remain. Repeat with the remaining squares.

7. Fill a large soup pot with 8 to 12 cups of water and salt it generously (about a Tbsp). Bring to a rolling boil. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, drop in the tortellini and cook for about 4 minutes, just until the dough is fluffy and cooked all the way through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and cover. Set aside and keep warm. If the pasta starts to stick together, gently toss it in a drizzle of oil.

8. Assemble the dish: in a large skillet over medium heat, combine the cooked wild rice and the cream. Cook for about 3 minutes, just to warm through. Add the cooked tortellini and gently toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with grated Parmesan (if using).

tawaw cookbook coverExcerpted from tawâw Progressive Indigenous Cuisine by Shane M. Chartrand with Jennifer Cockrall-King. Copyright © 2019 Shane Mederic Chartrand and Jennifer Cockrall-King. Reproduced with permission from House of Anansi Press Inc., Toronto. All rights reserved. www.houseofanansi.com


tawâw Progressive Indigenous Cuisine, Amazon, $35.

All products featured on Food Network Canada are independently selected by our editors. For more products handpicked by our editorial team, visit Food Network Canada’s Amazon storefront. However, when you buy through links in this article or on our storefront, we earn an affiliate commission.

Tangy Sauce and Sofrito Are a Tasty Team With These Puerto Rican Skewers

Do certain aromas transport you back to another time and place in the most delicious way? For Yimara “Yia” Medina, the scent of grilled pinchos — marinated chunks of pork or chicken on a stick, traditionally served with a slice of warm bread — is like a passport to happy childhood days in Puerto Rico.

“It’s one of the island’s most popular street foods — and some of my favourite childhood memories are of sitting and talking or dancing around by my cousin’s roadside pinchos stand,” Yia says. “There are lots of versions of pinchos, but what I think makes this recipe especially good is the use of sofrito, the magical Puerto Rican blend of herbs and aromatics that’s the base of some of our tastiest dishes. Sofrito is easy to make yourself or you can buy it premade.”

Related: The Very Best Ways to Devour Street Food Around The World

Pinchos

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: 12 hours
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 12 hours, 20 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

½ cup sofrito
⅓ cup olive oil
1 ½ Tbsp sazon
1 ½ Tbsp adobo seasoning
1 ½ tsp onion powder
1 ½ tsp granulated garlic
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 ½ lbs pork tenderloin, cut into 2-inch cubes
¼ cup BBQ sauce
1 loaf bread, sliced 1 ½-inch thick

Equipment:

12- to 14-inch skewers

Related: 10 Veggie-Forward Grilled Skewers and Kebabs to Try This Summer

Directions:

1. Combine the sofrito, oil, sazon, adobo, onion powder, granulated garlic and black pepper in a large bowl. Add the pork and toss to coat. Marinate the meat at least overnight or 12 hours for best results.

2. When ready to cook, remove the meat from the refrigerator. Drain off and discard the marinade. Preheat a grill to 450ºF or medium-high heat. Thread the meat onto 12- or 14-inch skewers, leaving a 3-inch space at the bottom of each skewer.

3. Place the skewers on the grill and grill for 3 minutes. Carefully flip the skewers and grill the other side for 3 minutes. Flip the skewers again and cook for an additional 2 minutes on the other side, then brush the pinchos with BBQ sauce. Flip once more and cook until the pinchos are browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the pork registers 145ºF, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the grill, brush again with BBQ sauce and rest 5 minutes before serving. Toast the slices of bread on the grill; skewer one slice onto the top of each pincho.

Are you a newbie to the grill? This guide to the perfect grilling times and temperatures is a great place to start!

Moroccon-style stuffed artichokes

You Will *Heart* These Moroccan Stuffed Artichokes

These stuffed artichoke hearts take me back to festive Shabbat dinners and Passover seders with my family. My Moroccan mother makes this dish with frozen artichoke hearts (found at Middle Eastern grocery stores), but you can also use fresh artichokes if you’re up to the task of peeling and cutting them. If you’re short on time, skip the step of dredging and frying — both ways are classic — but I like the texture it adds. If you’re making this dish for Passover, you can swap regular flour for matzo meal. For a gluten-free option, you can also use chickpea flour.

Moroccon-style stuffed artichokes

Moroccan Stuffed Artichokes

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Servings: 16 stuffed artichokes

Ingredients:

Sauce
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp turmeric
1 lemon, halved and juiced, reserving both juice and peel
3 cups chicken broth
½ cup chopped cilantro
4 or 5 inner celery stalks, cut into 3-inch chunks (can substitute with cardoon stalks or anise)

Stuffed Artichokes

½ lb of ground beef (can substitute with chicken, turkey, lamb or a mix)
1 cup cilantro, chopped
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp cracked black pepper (or ground white pepper)
1 egg, beaten
1 potato, grated (with peel if it’s thin-skinned)
1 onion, grated
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp ras el hanout
½ tsp turmeric
2 14-oz bags of frozen artichoke hearts (also known as artichoke bottoms), defrosted or 16 fresh artichokes (peeled and cleaned into hearts by removing leaves, fuzzy choke and stem)

Dredging (optional)
3 eggs, beaten, seasoned with sea salt
1 cup flour, seasoned with sea salt (can substitute flour with matzo meal or gluten-free chickpea flour)
Canola oil

Moroccon-style stuffed artichokes ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Make the sauce. You’ll need an extra-large saute pan with a lid or a tagine. Heat olive oil on medium heat, add garlic, sauteing for about 30 seconds, then add turmeric right before adding lemon juice and chicken broth. Add lemon peels and cilantro. Reduce to simmer. (Keep celery chunks aside to be added later).

Related: Traditional Jewish Comfort Food Recipes to Try

2. Make the meat filling for the artichokes. In a bowl, mix the meat with the cilantro, sea salt, black pepper, egg, potato, onion, garlic, ras el hanout and turmeric. Mound mixture into artichoke hearts.

Moroccon-style stuffed artichokes ready to stuff

3. Prepare for dredging and frying (optional). Place beaten eggs in one bowl and flour in another. Lightly cover the stuffed artichokes in flour, dusting off excess and then dip in egg mixture and set aside. When you’re done coating half of them, heat a large skillet with about an inch of canola oil on medium to medium-high. Finish coating the remainder of the stuffed artichokes and then begin frying, handling gently with a large slotted spoon. The stuffed artichokes should be golden on both sides, about one minute per side. Work in batches so you don’t overcrowd them.

Moroccon-style stuffed artichokes ready to cook

4. Place the celery chunks in the sauce pan, covering most of the bottom of the pan. Place the stuffed artichokes, meat side up, over the celery pieces and the sauce. (If your pan isn’t large enough to fit all 16 stuffed artichokes side by side, divide sauce and celery between two medium-sized pans).

5. Cover and simmer for one hour until artichokes are tender, meat is fully cooked and sauce is reduced. Serve with the sauce and enjoy with crusty bread, rice or matzah.

Moroccon-style stuffed artichokes

Like Claire’s stuffed artichokes recipe? Try her comforting mujadara or sfenj AKA Moroccan doughnuts.

Chef Deepa Shridhar prepares Roasted Nati Koli Saaru, as seen on Food Network's Taste Of, Season 2

Toasted Spices and Creamy Coconut Make This South Indian Chicken a Comfort Classic

Traditional dishes don’t become iconic by accident. Classic recipes become part of a culture by getting passed down through the years and around the world — a phenomenon that you’ll be grateful for if you’ve never tried the rich, spicy bite of nati koli saaru. In this version, chef and founder of Podi House, Deepa Shridhar, makes this South Indian marinated chicken dish ultra savoury with a bath of coconut milk, a mix of toasted spices and jaggery — a variety of caramelized cane sugar that can be found in your local Indian grocery store.

“There are many versions of nati koli saaru, some written, most verbally communicated from one generation to the next,” says Deepa. “It’s classically a South Indian/Kannadiga dish, spicy and rich with chunks of chicken meat. This recipe is based on a version I enjoyed in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) and brings to it techniques I use in my own supper clubs and pop-ups. Here I take the flavours to a whole roasted butterflied chicken. I call for crushed tomatoes, but I also love using fermented tomatoes instead for depth and tang. This is a great dish to pair with rice, or dosa, and perfect for a dinner party.”

Related: 20 Recipes From Around the World That’ll Help Fill Your Travelling Void

Roasted Nati Koli Saaru

Active Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 14 hours (includes marinating time)
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

Chicken and Marinade
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 ½ tsp black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
1 cup shredded coconut
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
5 to 7 cloves garlic, depending on size, peeled
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp jaggery
2 Tbsp coarse sea salt crystals
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
4 to 5 jalapenos
Juice of 1 small lime
One 4-to-5-lb chicken, butterflied (see Cook’s Note)

Sauce
¼ cup neutral oil (sunflower or grapeseed work great)
1 yellow or white onion, sliced
2 sprigs curry leaves
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp Kashmiri red chili powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
One 13 1/2-ounce can coconut milk
Salt
1/2 lime
Cilantro, for garnish
Cooked jasmine rice, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving

Roasted Nati Koli Saaru on rice

Related: Indian-Inspired Breakfast Recipes to Spice Up Your Morning Routine

Directions:
1. For the chicken and the marinade: Place a medium cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the sesame oil. Add the fenugreek, cumin, black peppercorns and cloves and toast for about 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and let the mixture sit in the hot skillet for another 30 seconds, and then transfer to a mini food processor. Return the skillet to medium-low heat and add the shredded coconut to the skillet. Stir until toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the mini food processor. Add the ginger, garlic, cinnamon, jaggery, salt and cilantro to the processor.

2. Place the same skillet the spices cooked in over medium-heat heat (no need to add any more oil). Add the jalapenos and cook until blistered and charred. Plunge the jalapenos into a bowl of cold water. Peel the jalapenos and discard the stems. Add to the processor with the spices. Add the lime juice and process until the mixture forms a thick paste, adding a little water if necessary to get a smooth texture.

3. Place the chicken in a baking dish or other container large enough so the chicken will lay flat. Rub the bird all over with the marinade, cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours or overnight.

4. When it is about 2 to 3 hours before serving, make the sauce: Place a large cast-iron pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the oil and onion. Move the onions to one side and add the butterflied chicken, skin-side down. Add the curry leaves when the onions start to sizzle. Once you have a good sear on your chicken, carefully flip it over. Add the tomatoes, chili powder, turmeric, coconut milk and 1 1/2 cups water and stir together. Lower the heat and simmer the sauce for 15 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Pop the dish into the oven. Check every 20 minutes; you are looking for the chicken to start to break down, the sauce to thicken and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh not touching bone to register 165ºF.

6. Taste the sauce and add salt if needed. Finish with the juice of half a lime. Garnish with more cilantro and serve with rice and limes wedges on the side.

Cook’s Note: Butterflying, also called spatchcocking, involves removing the backbone of a chicken so that it lays flat. A butcher can do this for you, or you can do it yourself: Using kitchen shears or a heavy knife, cut down around either side of the backbone and lift it out. Turn the chicken breast-side up and press down very firmly on the breast with both palms until you hear a crack and the chicken flattens.

Want to add more Indian flavours to your dinner table? These easy Indian recipes are better than takeout.

Buffalo stew in a boat next to bread

This Buffalo Beef Stew is Classic Comfort Food in a Bowl

This warm and hearty stew filled with chunks of buffalo stew meat, vegetables, potatoes, corn and peas will fill you up and keep you happy! A Dutch oven or heavy saucepan is the best way to cook this buffalo beef stew: which is classic comfort food served in a bowl.

Buffalo stew in a boat next to bread

Buffalo Beef Stew

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

¼ cup canola oil or olive oil
¼ cup butter
2 lb(s) buffalo stew meat, cubed
1 splash red wine
2 onions, chunky slices
2 clove garlic, diced
4 cups beef broth
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp steak spice
Few sprigs fresh thyme and rosemary
1 bay leaf
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced chunky
4 stalks celery, diced
2 cup corn
2 cup peas
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Using a large pan, heat oil and butter.

2. Add the buffalo meat and brown the meat on all sides.

3. Add red wine, onions and garlic and cook until translucent.

Related: Warm and Comforting Beef Stew Recipes

4. Add beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, steak spice, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and bring to a boil.

5. Add carrots, potatoes, celery, corn and peas.

6. Continue to simmer until vegetables are tender, approximately 1-2 hours.

Related: Canadian First Nations Recipes You’ll Love

7. Remove bay leaf.

Tip: To thicken the stew, shake 1 part flour to 1 part cold water in a covered shaker. Add slowly into the buffalo stew until desired thickness is reached.

8. Serve with fresh hot baked bannock or buns of your choice!

Buffalo stew in a boat next to bread

This recipe was originally featured on You Gotta Eat Here! Check out more of John Catucci’s foodie adventures on Big Food Bucket List.

Punjabi cha straining in glass

Classic Punjabi Cha (Not Chai) Straight From a Punjabi Mom

Some say chai, others say chai tea, which is completely wrong as it translates to tea-tea. People from Punjab called it cha (not chai). Every Indian family has their own way of making cha, but this is the real deal — an authentic cup made by my mom, which is the backdrop of many childhood memories for me. My mom grew up in a small village in Punjab in the ’60s. Back then, simple spices such as cardamom pods were a bit of a speciality item used in tea when guests came over, as the pods would perfume the house. Note this isn’t masala cha, just an everyday cha that is so flavourful and easy to make.

Punjabi cha straining in glass

Punjabi Cha

Prep Time: 3 ½ minutes
Cook Time: 3 ½ minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients:

1 tsp fennel seeds
4 cardamom pods
1 ¼ cup water
1 Tbsp loose leaf black tea
1 Tbsp jaggery
½ cup homogenized milk

Punjabi cha ingredients

Directions:

1. Crush the fennel seeds and cardamom pods together in a mortar and pestle, until pods open up and their aroma is released.

2. Over medium heat, pour water into the pot and simmer, not boil. Add spices to the water. Simmer for about 1–2 minutes. Add tea. Simmer for 30 seconds.

Related: Sweet and Savoury Matcha Recipes to Give Your Plate a Boost of Green

3. Add jaggery. Turn up the heat to boil for 45 seconds. Add milk. Boil for 30 seconds. Watch to make sure the cha doesn’t boil over.

Punjabi cha boiling on stovetop

4. Using a mesh strainer, strain cha directly into two teacups evenly.

5. With the back of a spoon, squeeze out the extra spices and tea flavour from the strainer directly into the individual cups.
Enjoy!

Punjabi cha in two glasses

Like Deepi’s cha recipe? She tried a $45 takeout meal that comes in a jewellery box.

West African mafe AKA peanut lentil stew - in a bowl

Vegan West African Peanut Lentil Stew: The Comfort Food You Need

This hearty and flavourful stew, also known as mafé, is one of many delicious delicacies that hails from West African cuisine. Traditional West African peanut stew uses ground peanuts and contains beef, but my Can You Vegan It? spin uses natural peanut butter since it’s more accessible, as well as lentils for extra protein. However, the sweet potatoes in this quick 45-minute dish perfectly seal the deal.

West African mafe AKA peanut lentil stew - in a bowl

West African Peanut Lentil Stew

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
2 tsp crushed red pepper (plus more to taste)
1 tsp kosher salt (plus more to taste)
½ tsp ground black pepper (plus more to taste)
2 tsp cumin (optional)
½ tsp cardamom (optional)
5 cups low-sodium vegetarian broth
1½ cups red lentils
2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
1 (16 oz) can crushed tomatoes, with liquid
1 cup natural raw peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
Fresh chopped parsley for topping (optional)

West African mafe AKA peanut lentil stew ingredients on kitchen countertop

Directions:

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, garlic and ginger in the hot oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with the crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, as well as the cumin and cardamom (if using).

Related: Best Vegan Soup and Stew Recipes You’ll Crave All Winter

2. Pour the broth over the mixture. Stir the lentils and sweet potatoes into the liquid and bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat to low and cover the pot partially with a lid. Cook at a simmer for 15 minutes.

West African mafe AKA peanut lentil stew - in a bowl

3. Stir in the tomatoes and peanut butter. Turn up the heat slightly to medium-low. Cover the pot and continue cooking for another 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Top with chopped parsley and serve.

West African mafe AKA peanut lentil stew - in a bowl

Like Valerie’s vegan mafé? Try her healthy sriracha-honey oven-fried chicken or her spicy vegan cassoulet.

Three cheesy jerk pork sandwiches with a homemade Jamaican coleslaw sit on a wooden board

Creamy Havarti Cheese and Spicy Jerk Pork Make for the Perfect Sandwich

Jerk sandwiches are a staple in Jamaican cuisine, and it’s no surprise why that’s the case. The flavourful jerk marinade is spicy, garlicky and zesty all at once, making it a delight to the taste buds. The addition of Armstrong Natural Havarti Cheese slices takes this sandwich recipe, developed by chef Roger Mooking, from takeout favourite to stand-out comfort food classic that’s totally achievable to make on the BBQ at home.

Related: Our 75 Best Sandwich Recipes

Three cheesy jerk pork sandwiches with a homemade Jamaican coleslaw sit on a wooden board

Cheesy Jerk Pork Sandwich

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes, plus 24-48 hours marinating time
Total Time: 45 minutes, plus marinating time
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Jerk Marinade
1 cup roughly chopped green onions
1 cup chopped white onion
2 Scotch bonnet peppers, stemmed and roughly chopped
1 tsp roughly chopped garlic
1/4 cup fresh picked thyme
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp ground allspice
2 Tbsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

*Note: Use a pre-made jerk marinade of your choice to simplify this recipe (optional).

Sandwiches
4 boneless pork butt steaks (3/4-inch thick)
4-8 slices Armstrong Natural Havarti Cheese
4 large burger buns
1/4 cup finely sliced chives, divided

Coleslaw
1 cup finely sliced green cabbage
1 cup julienned carrot
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Overhead shot of a cheesy jerk pork sandwich with homemade coleslaw, a toasted bun and two slices of Armstrong Havarti cheese

See More: Crispy Cheese Cup Recipe

Directions:

1. For the jerk marinade, combine green onions, white onions, Scotch bonnet peppers, garlic, thyme, lime juice, ground allspice, ginger, soy sauce and black pepper in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Place marinade in a resealable bag. Add pork steaks and turn so they are well coated in marinade. Place in the fridge to marinate for 24-48 hours.

2. For the coleslaw, combine white wine vinegar, lime juice, mayonnaise, honey, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Mix to combine. Mix in finely sliced green cabbage and julienned carrot. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

3. Heat BBQ to medium-high heat. Butter the inside and the top of each bun. Remove pork steaks from the marinade and grill until they reach an internal temperature of 145ºF-150ºF, about 4-5 minutes per side. Place 1-2 slices of Armstrong Natural Havarti Cheese on top of each pork steak and let melt. Toast all sides of the buttered buns on the grill.

4. Place pork steak on the grilled bottom bun. Shake off excess dressing and evenly divide coleslaw on top of steaks. Sprinkle with chopped chives and top with bun.

Angus beef burgers topped with Armstrong Medium Cheddar Cheese, fresh herbs and pickled daikon radish and carrots

These Easy Banh Mi Cheeseburgers Come Together in Just 30 Minutes

Grilling shouldn’t be reserved for summer. Need proof? This delicious Vietnamese-inspired cheeseburger recipe by chef Roger Mooking is here to improve dinner menus everywhere. Quick pickled daikon radish and carrots together with fresh herbs (choose cilantro or basil based on your preference, or a mix of both!) balance the richness of Angus beef patties, creamy mayonnaise and perfectly melted slices of Armstrong Medium Cheddar Cheese. Throw on your winter boots, heat up your backyard BBQ and get cooking!


See More: Our 80 Most Popular Burger Recipes

Banh Mi Burger

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients: 

Daikon Radish and Carrot Pickle
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp kosher salt
3/4 cup daikon radish batonettes, about 3-inches long
3/4 cup carrot batonettes, about 3-inches long

Burgers
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 tsp finely grated garlic
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
4 slices Armstrong Natural Medium Cheddar Cheese
4 buns
1/2 cup mayonnaise, divided
2 Persian cucumbers, ends trimmed, thinly sliced lengthways with a peeler
1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro and/or basil

Related: Vegetarian Cauliflower Cheese Quesadilla With Salsa

Two beef burgers with a slice of Armstrong Medium Cheddar Cheese, fresh herbs and quick pickles sit on a wooden board, a package of Armstong Cheese beside them

Directions:

1. Start by making the daikon radish and carrot pickle. Combine water, vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pot. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add daikon radish and carrot pieces. Remove from heat. Set aside until daikon radish and carrots soften, become pickled, and are room temperature, about 20 minutes.

2. In a large bowl combine ground beef, grated garlic and five-spice powder. Mix well to combine. Divide the burger mixture into four 6oz patties. Make sure the patties are at least 25% larger than the buns as they will shrink during cooking.

3. Heat BBQ to medium-high heat. Season the burgers on both sides with salt. Place burgers on the grill and cook 4-5 minutes per side, until the internal temperature reads 145ºF on a thermometer. During the last minute of cooking, place a slice of Armstrong Natural Medium Cheddar Cheese on top of each burger and close the BBQ lid to melt cheese, about 1 minute.

4. Slice each bun open. Hollow out the top of each bun. Butter buns and toast on the grill. Spread mayonnaise on the top and bottom of each grilled bun. Place burger on top of each bun. Top with drained daikon radish and carrot pickles, cucumber slices, jalapeno slices, and fresh cilantro or basil leaves.

duck ragu on serving plate

This Pappardelle Duck Ragu is the Winter Comfort Food You Deserve

What is the most delicious comfort food you can make at home to fight the dropping temperature outside your cozy kitchen? This pappardelle duck ragu! With luxurious fall-apart duck legs, yummy pasta and plenty of veggies, this may be your go-to recipe all winter long. Also, this is a hearty make-ahead dish: it improves over time and lends a richness to the noodles that keep you wanting more.

duck ragu on serving plate

Pappardelle Duck Ragu

Prep Time: 5 minutes (but you can prep all your ingredients while the duck is browning)
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 ½ tsp kosher salt, divided
2 duck legs, pat dried
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 sweet bell pepper, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cracked black pepper
3 Tbsp tomato paste
½ cup red wine
1 can (796 ml/28 oz) San Marzano tomatoes or plum tomatoes, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
400 g pappardelle pasta or other pasta
Grated Parmesan

duck ragu ingredients

Directions:

1. Sprinkle duck legs all over with 1 tsp of the salt. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat and arrange the duck, skin side down. Cook and render the fat for 10 to 12 minutes so the skin browns and crisps, flip and cook until browned on the other side. Transfer to a plate and drain all but 2 Tbsp fat from the pot.

Tip: The remaining rendered duck fat should be saved and refrigerated or frozen to make the most gloriously crispy potatoes or brushed on a whole chicken for a succulent roast chicken.

2. Add the onion and cook on medium, stirring for 5 minutes. Stir in bell pepper, celery, garlic, bay leaves, remaining ½ tsp salt and pepper; cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

duck ragu cooking in pot

3. Push vegetables to one side and stir in tomato paste, cooking for 30 seconds. Stir in the wine and cook for 1 minute to allow alcohol to evaporate. Add the tomatoes and broth. Bring the mixture up to a simmer and return the duck legs (with any juices) to the pot.

4. Cook partially uncovered over low heat, making sure the sauce is simmering until the duck meat falls off the bone, about 1 ½ hours. Skim excess fat using a spoon if desired.

Related: Quick and Easy One-Pot Recipes

5. Remove duck legs and using two forks, shred the meat off bones, discarding the skin if unwanted. Stir shredded duck into the sauce.

Tip: Make the ragu up to 4 days ahead of time, refrigerate covered and warm in a pot over medium-low heat.

duck ragu cooking in pot

6. Cook pasta according to package instructions; drain and stir into duck ragout. To serve, sprinkle pasta with Parmesan.

Like Soo’s duck ragu? Try her pan-fried pork chops and Chinese stir-fried eggplant.

Several bao buns in steamer basket

Make These Soft and Fluffy BBQ Pork Bao Buns for Lunar New Year

Growing up, my dad made a big batch of baos once a year. He filled them with the traditional Vietnamese bao filling of ground pork, egg and Chinese sausage. My other memory of baos are enjoying them at Chinese restaurants on weekend mornings, the soft and pillowy outside, filled with a sweet and saucy pork filling — they’re seriously delicious! These BBQ pork bao buns are super easy and fun to make and all the reason you need to pick up that steamer basket you’ve been eyeing. Stuff them with your favourite fillings like ground chicken, beef and even tofu! Make a big batch, your future self will thank you.

bao buns in steamer basket

BBQ Pork Bao Buns

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 14 minutes
Servings: 12 bao buns

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp instant yeast
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp neutral oil
150 ml + more warm water
1 ½ cups store-bought BBQ pork, diced
3-4 Tbsp store-bought Char Siu sauce (Chinese BBQ Sauce)
2 Tbsp sliced scallions (about 2 stalks)
2 Tbsp vinegar

Equipment:

Kitchen Bamboo Steamer, Amazon, $59.

Bao bun ingredients

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough attachment, add the flour, cornstarch, sugar, yeast, salt, oil and water. Mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth and forms one ball, about 5-8 minutes.

Roll of bao bun dough

2. Remove and place the dough on the counter and cover with the bowl for 5 minutes to rest. Cut 12 parchment paper square at 3 x 3-inches. Set on a baking sheet.

3. Dice the BBQ pork into ¼-inch bits. Place in a bowl and toss with the Char Siu sauce (just enough to coat the pork) and sliced scallions.

Bao bun filling in white bowl

4. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll each piece of dough against a non-floured surface to create smooth round dough balls. Starting with one ball, keeping the rest covered, roll into roughly a 4-5-inch round.

Related: Our Most Popular Dinner Recipes That’ll Stand the Test of Time

5. Hold the dough piece in your hand, add a heaping Tbsp of the pork mixture into the centre. Start by folding the dough onto itself and pinching the dough together. Work in a circular motion, all the way around. Close the bao by gathering and pinching the dough together at the top. Place on the parchment paper square. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls.

bao bun filling inside bao bun dough

Person holding bao bun with three bao buns in the background

6. Place a damp towel over top of the bao buns and place in a warm area to proof until doubled in size, about 20-30 minutes.

Uncooked bao buns on baking tray

7. In the meantime, fill a large pot with 1 inch of water and the vinegar and place the steam basket overtop. About 5 minutes before the baos are ready, bring the water to a boil on high.

8. Once the baos have doubled in size, place in the steam basket about 1 inch apart. Cover with the lid and lower to a medium heat. Let steam for about 14 minutes. If you’re unable to fit all 12 baos in the steamer, place a piece of plastic overtop of the remaining and refrigerate to prevent the dough from further proofing.

Bao buns in steamer basket

Like Sabrina’s bao buns? Try her coconut buns or caramel apple cheesecake fried wontons.

All products featured on Food Network Canada are independently selected by our editors. For more products handpicked by our editorial team, visit Food Network Canada’s Amazon storefront. However, when you buy through links in this article or on our storefront, we earn an affiliate commission.

Bannock butternut squash pizza

Christa Bruneau-Guenther’s Butternut Squash Bannock Pizza = Perfect Comfort Food

Just when you thought comfort food couldn’t get any better, this bannock pizza crust — from Christa Bruneau-Guenther of Feast Café Bistro — makes for the perfect canvas. It is layered with mouth-watering roasted butternut squash, lots of cheese and a maple chipotle white sauce.

Bannock butternut squash pizza

Butternut Squash Bannock Pizza

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 1 large pizza or 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

Bannock Dough Pizza Crust
3 cups  unbleached all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
¾ tsp yeast
1 Tbsp olive oil (canola oil or vegetable oil)
1 ½ cups warm water

Maple Chipotle Lime Sour Cream White Sauce
¼ cup sour cream
2 tsp mayonnaise
1 tsp chipotle paste (or 1 Tbsp finely minced from a can of chili in adobo sauce)
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice (or use 1 tsp lime juice from concentrate)

Other Pizza Ingredients
½ butternut squash, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil, avocado oil, vegetable oil, canola oil or grapeseed oil
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp sea salt or kosher salt
1 tsp pine nuts
1 cup shredded mozzarella
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 green onions, thinly sliced for garnish

Related: Chef Christa Bruneau-Guenther Brings Her Home Cooking and Indigenous Roots to Wall of Chefs

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, make the dough: combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Then make a well in the middle of the flour mixture.

2. In a separate bowl, add yeast and oil to warm water and mix with a fork. Gently pour the liquid mixture into the flour hole or well.

3. Using a fork, spoon or hands, fold or work the flour into the water. Knead the dough into a ball, don’t over knead. Let dough sit for 10-15 minutes covered with a kitchen towel.

Related: The Best Homemade Pizza Recipes (Including Dough From Scratch)

4. For the sauce: in a mid-sized bowl, mix all ingredients together until well combined. Reserve for later.

5. Pre-heat oven to 400°F and place squash on a baking sheet. Add oil, chili powder and salt, mix well. Scatter squash into a single layer. Bake for 12-16 minutes or until squash is cooked through and soft. Set aside.

6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out reserved bannock dough with a rolling pin,  and place on a sheet pan. Prick dough with a fork.

Related: Canadian First Nations Recipes You’ll Love

7. Add white sauce to dough and generously place squash over dough. Sprinkle squash with pine nuts and various cheeses. Bake at 425°F for 15-17 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.

8. Remove from heat. Add a smattering of green onions and top with drizzle of white sauce. Enjoy.

This recipe first appeared on an episode of Big Food Bucket List, which you can watch here. Big Food Bucket List streams Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

Sweet potato blondies on kitchen counter

These Comforting Sweet Potato Blondies Will Defeat Your Winter Blues

Traditional blondies get a comforting, cold-weather twist with the addition of sweet potato.  These Can You Vegan It? fudgy squares can easily be made vegan-friendly by swapping in a few simple ingredients. And the addition of chopped pecans kick things up a notch, adding a nice crunch and a decadent touch. Feel free to sub in different nuts, toffee bits or anything else you might be craving. Tip: serve warm to keep you toasty during blustery winter nights.

Sweet potato blondies

Sweet Potato Blondies

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 75 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients:

Blondie Base
⅔ cup unsalted butter (or vegan butter)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg (or vegan egg substitute)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
1 cup of pecans (optional)

Sweet Potato Top
1 small sweet potato
3 Tbsp condensed milk (or vegan condensed milk)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ cup chopped pecans (optional)

Sweet potato blondies ingredients on table

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and bake the small sweet potato for 40 minutes. To save time, you can peel and cut the sweet potato into large even pieces, then boil until soft. It will cook faster when boiled, but I suggest baking it instead to maintain all the delicious flavour.

2. As the sweet potato bakes, prepare the batter by browning the butter first. Add the butter to a pot on low-heat. As the butter begins to melt, stir and slowly raise to medium heat. Be careful when you increase the heat, as it’s very easy to burn butter. If possible, use a light-coloured pot so you can see the butter clearly as it begins to brown. Stir continuously — and once the butter has reached a golden brown colour, remove and sift into a large bowl.

Related: Comforting Desserts to Battle Bitter, Cold Winters

3. Once the butter has cooled to room temperature, add the light brown sugar and combine. Then add the egg and stir in the vanilla.

4. Add the dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking powder) to the mix and combine well. Be careful not to over mix. Then fold in the chopped pecans and pour the batter into a buttered baking dish. Set aside.

Sweet potato blondie batter

5. Once the sweet potato is soft and fully baked, remove it from the oven and turn down the heat to 350°F (to bake the blondies). Let the sweet potato cool, then remove its skin and mash it up in a large bowl. Next, add the condensed milk, pumpkin pie spice and pecans. Mix until all ingredients are evenly combined.

6. Pour the sweet potato mixture on top of the blondie batter in the baking dish. Spread it on top as an even layer. Add a few more crushed pecans to top it off.  Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm.

Like Eden’s sweet potato blondies? Try her vegan sloppy Joe sliders or her cardamom teff apple muffins.

Published January 9, 2019, Updated January 2, 2021

Ham and Collard Greens Star in This Tasty Soup From The Pioneer Woman

Ever wonder how to cook collard greens? We’ve got the perfect comforting dish for your first attempt. Collard greens have seen a resurgence in popularity of late, and The Pioneer Woman herself has an easy soul food recipe you can quickly whip up on a busy weeknight.

Crisp bunches of collard greens, diced ham, navy beans and a spicy kick from minced jalapeno simmer together in a chicken broth for a must-try soup that is the ultimate example of comfort food. Sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese and consider grabbing a crusty artisan baguette for serving. Voila! This simple Ree Drummond masterpiece is one of our favourite Pioneer Woman recipes.

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Tex-Mex Recipes Will Satisfy Your Cheesy, Meaty Cravings

The Pioneer Woman’s Ham and Collard Soup Recipe

Total: 35 minutes
Yields: 8 servings

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp salted butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and minced
2 quarts (8 cups) chicken stock
2 lbs ham, diced
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 bunches collards, stems removed, chopped
Two 15.5-ounce cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Crusty artisan baguette, torn into pieces, for serving

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Top Cookie Recipes to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Directions:

1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion and jalapeno and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the stock, ham, salt, pepper, collards and beans. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the collards have softened and the flavors have come together, about 20 minutes.

2. Stir in the vinegar and taste. Adjust the seasonings as needed. Serve in bowls and garnish with the Parmesan and parsley. Serve each bowl with a chunk of crusty baguette.


Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Fast White Chicken Chili Will Become a Weeknight Staple

Watch The Pioneer Woman via stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

This Vegan Eggnog Recipe is So Good It’ll Impress All the Non-Vegans Too

Because it isn’t the holiday season without a cup of boozy eggnog, I’m serving up a vegan twist on this staple winter drink. This version is not only dairy free, it’s gluten- and egg-free too! The eggnog gets its delicious creaminess from canned coconut milk (don’t use the boxed variety) — and is naturally sweetened with maple syrup. Serve this warm on a snowy day or chilled over ice, whichever you prefer. For a kid-friendly option, just omit the bourbon or rum. Cheers!

Ingredients:

2 14-oz cans full-fat coconut milk
1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
½ cup pure maple syrup
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch fine salt
½ cup bourbon or spiced rum
Coconut whip, for serving

Related: 20 Vegan Holiday Entrées You’ve Never Tried Before

Vegan eggnog ingredients

Directions:

1. In a saucepan over low heat, add the coconut milk, almond milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and salt. Whisk until combined. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Vegan eggnog in pot

2. Remove from heat and pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer to ensure it is smooth. Stir in bourbon.

Related: 12 Must-Try Fall Cocktails to Give Thanks for This Autumn

3. Serve warm with a dollop of coconut whip and a pinch of nutmeg. To serve chilled, transfer mixture to a glass serving pitcher and refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to serve, fill a glass with ice, add eggnog, a dollop of coconut whip and a pinch of nutmeg.

Vegan eggnog in two glasses

Like Marcella’s vegan eggnog? Try your hand at her winter greens mac and cheese or her sausage, apple and sage-stuffed acorn squash recipe!

This Fiery Korean Gochujang Cauliflower Popcorn is Comfort Food at Its Finest

Gochujang, the fermented Korean hot pepper paste, has gained popularity by way of recipes featuring grilled proteins, like chicken, beef and pork. However, this recipe brings you that umami bite of sweet and spicy flavour with a veggie spin: lightly battered cauliflower popcorn bites. No hard and fast rules apply here, serve this on game night, as an appetizer or side dish.

Korean Gochujang Cauliflower Popcorn

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

2 tsp vegetable oil (plus more for frying)
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
3 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp white vinegar or cider vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp water
1 cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup potato starch or cornstarch
¼ cup rice flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
¾ cup water (approx.)
2 eggs, whisked
1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets (8 cups)
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Greek yogurt or sour cream for dipping (optional)

Tip: Rice flour and potato starch are common ingredients in a Korean pantry, the combination will lighten and aerate the batter. Look for them in an Asian market or bulk store.

Tip: Gochujang is a fermented Korean hot pepper paste; and while shelf-stable when you purchase it, please refrigerate after opening.

Directions:

1. Heat enough oil in your largest and widest pot to reach 1-inch high over medium to medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 350°F. Don’t have a deep-fry thermometer? Either add a cube of bread to test the oil (it should fry quickly to golden) or dip end of a wooden spoon to see if bubbles start forming.

2. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat 2 tsp oil in a small saucepan. Add garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Stir in gochujang, ketchup, vinegar, honey and water and simmer for 1 minute; set aside.

Related: Eddie Jackson’s Gochujang Short Ribs Are Your New All-Star Dish

3. Whisk flour, potato starch, rice flour, salt and baking soda. Whisk in water and eggs, to make a slightly thickened batter. Add all the cauliflower, stirring to coat; the batter should be just thick enough to coat, while easily dripping off the floret. Add more water if needed.

4. Carefully drop lightly battered cauliflower into the hot oil using a fork, one at a time to achieve popcorn-sized bites (dropping them in groups will create lumps and will not produce a crispy batter).

Tip: Cauliflower is made up of a ton of water and continues to steam when cooked and needs to be fried twice. The first fry steams, while the second fry will lighten and crisp the combination of potato starch and rice flour.

5. Fry, with a spider or slotted spoon, turning until golden and crispy, 2-3 minutes. Drain on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower. Once everything had been fried, fry again until browned and crispy, 3-4 minutes and drain on a rack.

Related: This Korean Sweet and Sour Seaweed Salad is the Perfect BBQ Side Dish

6. Rewarm the sauce until loosened. Transfer half of the cauliflower in a large bowl and drizzle with enough sauce to just lightly coat, tossing quickly. Transfer to a serving plate and repeat with the remaining cauliflower and gochujang sauce mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with sour cream or Greek yogurt if desired.

Tip: Serve at room temperature and avoid reheating in the oven; it will steam and soften the cauliflower.

Like Soo’s fiery gochujang cauliflower popcorn? Try her pork banh mi burgers or asparagus and mushroom udon.

mushroom yaki udon

Whip up This Bright Asparagus and Mushroom Yaki Udon in Just 15 Minutes

We’re all spending more time indoors these days, relying on our pantry staples for dinnertime inspiration. Say goodbye to pasta and tuna and hello to instant noodles and soy sauce with this fast and insanely delicious Japanese stir-fried udon. We love the delightfully chewy and thick whole-wheat noodle and meaty king oyster mushrooms (but feel free to play, mixing your favourite varietals). And the best part? You can whip this up in just over 15 minutes!

mushroom yaki udon

Asparagus and Mushroom Yaki Udon

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 16 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
2 packages frozen udon noodles or instant udon noodles
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp rice vinegar or cider vinegar
1 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
4 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts separated)
1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into chunks
1 cup frozen edamame, thawed (you can substitute with frozen peas or corn)
2 packages (150g each) baby king oyster mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms or oyster mushrooms, sliced
Pinch each salt and pepper
2 tsp sesame oil (optional)
Pinch hot pepper flakes (optional)

Optional garnish: toasted sesame seeds, chopped green onions

mushroom yaki udon ingredients on counterop

Directions:

1. Place udon in a large bowl and cover with warm water to thaw; break up with hands and drain in a colander.

udon noodles in strainer

2. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, vinegar and water. Set aside.

Tip: Don’t have ginger? No worries, the soy mixture will still be just as delicious.

3. Heat 1 Tbsp of the vegetable oil in a wok or a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the white parts of the green onion and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add asparagus and edamame and stir fry until slightly tender, about 1 minute. Remove to a plate.

Related: 20 Easy Dinner Recipes Ready in 15 Minutes or Less

4. Heat 4 tsp of the remaining oil in the wok. Add the mushrooms, reserved green onions and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until tender and golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Reserve to asparagus plate.

5. Heat remaining 2 tsp of oil in the wok. Add the udon and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add the reserved soy sauce mixture and vegetables. Stir fry until liquid comes to a boil, the noodles are coated in sauce and is slightly reduced, 30 to 45 seconds. Drizzle with sesame oil (if using) and sprinkle with hot pepper flakes (if using).

mushroom yaki udon in wok

6. Divide among plates and sprinkle with sesame seeds or chopped green onions (if desired).

Want to cook more meals in 15 minutes or less? These weekend BBQ recipes and brunch recipes will surely do the trick.

This Cozy One-Pot Pasta and Chickpea Stew = Love at First Bite

Don’t be surprised if you instantly become smitten with this alarmingly simple, yet charming, comfort food – it really is love at first bite. The kid in you will delight in the pasta and chickpea combo, with the fun shapes making it all the more scrumptious.

Related: 25 Comforting One-Pot Recipes That Will Warm Your Belly

One-Pot Pasta and Chickpea Stew

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 (6 cups)

Related: 30 Recipes That Will Make You Rethink Canned Beans

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp olive oil
Half onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs rosemary
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 ½ Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup small pasta such as baby shells or ditalini
2 cups drained and rinsed can chickpeas
1 cup can cherry tomatoes (optional)
4 cups water or no-salt added vegetable broth
Olive oil and Parmesan for garnish

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and rosemary, and cook, stirring until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper, and cook 1 minute.

2. Push onion mixture to one side of pan. Add tomato paste on other side, and cook, stirring until colour deepens, 30 seconds. Add chickpeas, cherry tomatoes (if using) and water and stir to combine.

3. Add pasta; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking until pasta is al dente, following package directions.

4. Divide among bowls; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Tip: Add 1 chopped carrot to the onion mixture for a vegetable hearty stew.



Tip:
If you don’t have can cherry tomatoes, increase the tomato paste to 3 Tbsp and adjust the seasoning after adding the water.

For more quick and breezy comfort food inspiration, try these easy stuffed pasta recipes that start with store-bought noodles or this healthy three-cheese cacio e pepe in spaghetti squash form.

The Trick to Mastering the Best-Ever Instant Pot Crispy Rice

What’s better than a bowl of flawlessly cooked rice? It should be tender yet fluffy with each pearly grain separated and peaked. How to cook the perfect pot of rice is as baffling as there are methods, and yes, it’s easy to mess up, but we’ve mastered the technique with the Instant Pot and added a crispy, crunchy top (arguably the only way to improve rice). Here are the tricks to mastering the glorious crispy crown every time using an Instant Pot.

How to Make The Best Instant Pot Crispy Rice

Ingredients:
2 cups basmati rice (makes 6 cups of cooked rice)
5 Tbsp ghee or unsalted butter, divided (1 ½ Tbsp softened)
1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp saffron threads (optional)
3 Tbsp olive oil or neutral oil

1. Wash Don’t Rinse

Wash the rice 3x in a bowl covered with cold water, swishing with your hand or until the water runs clear. Tip the bowl to drain the cloudy water and repeat. Rinsing the rice in a fine-mesh sieve isn’t enough to thoroughly wash away any loose starch, dirt or debris that has accumulated from storage or the field, and it tastes so much better.

2. Good Soak

Place the rice in a bowl and cover with cold water for 20-30 minutes until the grains are pearly white, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve. (Yes, this is when you can rinse through a sieve!) The rice will absorb some of the water, resulting in elongated, perfectly separate grains, and it shortens the cooking time.

3. Prep the Pot

Evenly spread 1 ½ Tbsp of softened ghee on the bottom of the Instant Pot, making sure to cover. Melted ghee will trickle down from the centre of the pot since there is a slope. Softened ghee, on the other hand, will stay in place while preventing the rice from sticking.

Tip: We like using ghee for its golden hue, and it’s a pure fat with a high smoke point. It’s basically unsalted butter with the milk solids removed after separating from the butter fat (a cousin to clarified butter). Learn how to make your own ghee at home.

4. Under Pressure

Add the strained rice to the prepared pot, spreading evenly over top. Sprinkle with salt and 2 cups of cold water. Press the Pressure function and cook on high for 5 minutes. Release the pressure, remove the lid and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rest for 10 minutes.

5. Grind and Bloom

*This step is optional. Skip the grinding if you’re not using saffron.*
Meanwhile, grind saffron in a mortar and pestle or finely rub between fingers and stir into a measuring glass with the olive oil. Melt the remaining ghee, then stir into the oil mixture to allow the saffron to bloom.

6. Poke Poke

Using the end of a wooden spoon, poke the rice to the bottom to make many holes. These holes will be the tunnels for the ghee saffron mixture to reach the bottom and create the signature crispy top.

Drizzle the saffron mixture over the rice, concentrating in the centre (the slope will pool the ghee to the edge of the pot).

7. Crispy Sauté

Remove the kitchen towel and press the Sauté function, and cook until the rice is golden brown and crispy on the bottom, 10-12 minutes. Using an offset spatula or rubber spatula, loosen the edge of rice and lightly pack.

Tip: If you’re afraid of the inverting, scoop the rice onto the centre of the platter, then carefully remove the crispy top and transfer. You won’t have a single piece, but you can hide the cracks with parsley or chopped pistachios or pomegranate seeds.

Using kitchen towels, remove the pot. Place a large platter over top and quickly invert it, so the rice falls onto the platter with the crispy side up. Be patient, you may have to wait up to 30 seconds for the bottom to fall, and you may have to scrape and patch any bits left behind. You did it! Now crunch, crunch and enjoy!

Note: Crispy rice is often called Tahdig (tah-DEEG), the Persian word that translates as “the bottom of the pot” and is the golden, crispy crust coveted by everyone at the table.

Looking for more inspiration? See here for easy and tasty ways to use leftover rice, plus 20+ creative stir-fry recipes and seasonal risotto ideas for spring.