January time to tuck into stored meat and vegetables

Carrots add colour to couscous topped with chicken tagine. | Sarah Galvin photo

Growing areas in Canada are dormant in January. Most farm and hunt butchering is complete so eating locally requires us to dig into the freezer, cold room or root cellar. It is time to enjoy the fruits of summer’s labour.

Local fresh food in January includes apples, winter squash and root vegetables. Other produce is primarily imported from California, Florida, Texas and Mexico, which adds avocado, pomegranate, bananas, cabbage, cauliflower, citrus fruit and many more to our winter choices.

My recipes this week feature what is in season in January.

Beans and greens

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil 30 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper 2 mL
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. kale, trimmed 500 g
  • 1 c. low sodium chicken broth 250 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt 2 mL
  • 1 (15-oz.) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 500 mL
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar 30 mL
  • grated fresh pecorino romano cheese (optional)

Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Swirl to coat. Add red pepper and garlic. Saute 30 seconds.
Add kale, turning with tongs to coat. Add broth. Cover and cook three minutes. Add salt and beans. Cook, uncovered, five minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired. Serves six.
Nutrition Information: calories 126 per serving, fat 5 g, saturated fat .8 g, protein 6.1 g, carbohydrate 15.4 g, sodium 260 mg, calcium 126 mg.

Chicken Tagine with couscous

Tagine is a Moroccan style stew cooked in a pot also called a tagine. A heavy, ovenproof pot with a lid will also work.

This is a great way to use leftover turkey. Couscous, made from durum, is a pasta that looks like rice and accepts the flavours of spices. Preserved lemon can be found in Middle Eastern specialty stores but can be substituted with fresh lemon.

  • 3 lb. chicken thighs, deboned and skin removed 1.5 kg
  • 1 turnip, cubed
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 c. cooked chickpeas 250 mL
  • 1 preserved lemon, chopped 250 mL
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon 10 mL
  • 1 tsp. turmeric 5 mL
  • 1/2 c. golden raisins 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. chopped dates 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. carrots, coarsely chopped 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. chopped parsley 125 mL
  • 2 tbsp. pine nuts 30 mL
  • 1 c. couscous 250 mL
  • 4 c. chicken stock 1 L
  • 2 whole cardamom pods, cracked
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • olive oil

Brown chicken pieces in a preheated pot in olive oil. Remove chicken and add onions. Saute until soft.
Add chicken back to pot and add all vegetables, one cup (250 mL) chicken stock and spices and seasonings, raisins, dates, chickpeas and carrots.

Bake in oven at 350 F (175 C) with the lid on until tender. This can be made the day before and reheated.
To make couscous, bring three cups (750 mL) chicken stock to a boil with cinnamon stick, turmeric and cardamom pods. When at a full boil, remove from heat and add couscous. Stir and cover. Let sit about 10 minutes.
Serve couscous and tagine. Garnish with chopped parsley and toasted pine nuts. Makes six servings.
Nutrition Information: 725 calories, 4.9 g saturated fat, sodium 550 mg, fibre 7.4 g, high in vitamins A, B6 & C, iron, niacin, selenium.

Pheasant Saltimbocca

This recipe originates in Italy and is usually made with chicken or veal.

  • 4 pheasant breasts
  • black pepper
  • dried or fresh sage
  • 1/4 c. grated parmesan 60 mL
  • 8 slices prosciutto
  • olive oil

Carefully score the underside of each pheasant breast in a crisscross pattern with a small, sharp knife. Lay the breasts side by side on a large chopping board, leaving at least two inches space between them.
Combine sage and parmesan and sprinkle evenly over the pheasant breasts. Lay two slices of prosciutto on each breast, overlapping them slightly, and drizzle with olive oil. Cover the breasts with a layer of plastic wrap. Pound with a heavy pan or meat tenderizer until they are about one-half inch (1 cm) thick.
Heat a non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Transfer breasts, putting them in pan ham-side down. Drizzle a little more olive oil over top. Cook for two to three minutes on each side, giving an extra 30 seconds to ensure the ham is crispy. Serve with lemon wedges and a crisp salad for a lighter dish or smashed roasted root vegetables for a heartier version. Serves four.

Parmesan and Sage Crusted Pork Chops

  • 1 slice white bread, torn into pieces
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmigiano-reggiano cheese 60 mL
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage 15 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 2 mL
  • 1/4 c. all purpose flour 60 mL
  • 1 tbsp. prepared mustard 15 mL
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 4 (4-oz.) boneless thin-cut pork loin chops, trimmed 110 g
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. canola oil 20 mL

Place bread in a food processor and pulse 10 times or until crumbs are coarse. Combine one cup (250 mL) bread crumbs, cheese, sage, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Place flour in another shallow dish. Combine mustard and egg whites in another shallow dish, stirring with a whisk.
Dredge one of the pork chops in flour, shaking off excess. Dip pork into egg white mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Coat pork completely with bread crumb mixture. Set aside. Repeat procedure with the other pork chops.
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add pork and cook three minutes on each side or until browned and done.
Nutrition Information: calories 272 per serving, saturated fat 3.7 g, protein 28.8 g, cholesterol 69 mg, sodium 409 mg, calcium 102 mg.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.

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