On the Menu: Winter Dinners

During the cold months we crave hearty, comfort foods to ward off the chill and satisfy the soul. EAT asked a few local chefs for some suggestions on their favourite, go-to winter dinners. They wowed us with their responses and made us drool with these classic dishes, elevated to the next level.

Here are four hearty and seasonal dishes to keep you warm and satisfied, compliments of our chefs.

10 Acres

Chef Dwane Macisaac:
When I think of winter food I think “comfort.” One of my favs is a hot turkey Berkshire bacon sandwich with my vanilla cranberry chutney and Mrs. Murphy’s Green Tomato Chow. I love revisiting old recipes and reviving them with ingredients from our Farm — heritage free run turkeys, Berkshire pigs, or 1000 lbs of green heirloom tomatoes. Oh and a hot Somersby Cider with Appleton’s Rum.

Café Brio

Rabbit (Cafe Brio)

Chef Laurie Munn:
On a cold, wet day, I would probably like to sit down to the Rabbit Fricassee that we have on our menu right now. It is sautéed with calvados finished with cream and rabbit jus, and served with house smoked bacon braised cabbage, roast potatoes and apples. Nice and warming, comforting and you can’t beat rabbit. Cute and delicious!


Chef Stephan Drolet:
Having grown up in Northern Ontario winters with two Quebecois parents, there are few foods that say “comfort” and “warming” as well as Tourtiere does. A warm, flaky crust stuffed with properly seasoned pork, drowned in a meaty gravy and topped with the sweet and sour umami flavourings of (egads!!!) ketchup!

Nowadays though, I’m more inclined to make [tourtiere] with cumin and fennel braised pork cheeks and root vegetables, topped with tart apple, crisp bacon and brussel sprout slaw, dressed with a charred bay leaf vinaigrette, and perhaps with a house made ketchup. Lastly, I’d include a seared slice of foie gras placed delicately into the top pastry.

I’d serve this all with a nice, affordable, glass of Church & State Chardonnay, and enjoy it with my wife by a toasty warm fire. Ok, maybe make that a bottle of Chardonnay.

The Drake Eatery

Lee Spence:
On a day like today, a Victorian winter day, with wind and rain, I like some nice comfort food to take the chill off. My first choice would have to be my husband, Mike’s, hearty vegetable spaghetti, but [at the Drake Eatery] I’d go for some of our baked French Onion Soup and our cheese steak sandwich. Our roast beef (from Two Rivers Meats) cheese steak is earthy & zesty with a horseradish mayo, sautéed mushrooms, crispy onions and melted Gouda [served] on a toasted Portofino whole wheat roll. The French onion soup warms the soul with a steaming herbal vegetable broth and caramelized onions, absorbing the bread chucks and melted Gruyere. [Pair this with] Parallel 49 Old Boy Brown Ale to wash it down.

From Home

Looking for a deliciously creamy, comfort soup to make at home? Try the following easy-to-make, No-Hurry Vegetarian Curry It’s rich and flavourful with just the right amount of spice.

Serves: 6.
Total Cooking Time: 7hr. Prep Time: 20min

  • 1 Can(s) (14 oz) light coconut milk
  • 1/4 Cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon(s) red curry paste
  • 1  Large onion, chopped
  • 4  Small Yukon gold potatoes (8 oz), halved
  • 1/2 Medium butternut squash (about 1 lb), cut into 1 1/2-in. chunks
  • 1  Medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1  Can(s) (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1  Red bell pepper, cut in 1-in. pieces
  • 1  Cup(s) frozen peas
  • 1  Cup(s) basmati rice
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

In a 5- or 6-qt slow cooker, whisk together the coconut milk, flour, and curry paste. Stir in the onion, potatoes, squash, cauliflower, and bell pepper, and mix to combine.
Cook, covered, until vegetables are tender, on low for 6 to 7 hours. Twenty minutes before serving, cook the rice according to package directions. Stir the chickpeas and peas into the curry and cook covered until heated through (about 3 minutes). Serve with rice and top with cilantro.

Sidenote: I roasted my squash, onions, cauliflower, chickpeas and potatoes on a cookie sheet (at 400 degrees for 30 min) before adding to the slow cooker, which added more caramalized and sweet flavour to the soup.

Written By:

Holly Brooke is a true B.C. gal. Having lived on the west coast most of her life, except for several years in the Kootenay's where she canoed and fished and lived in a tipi, she's very much at home outdoors and in the kitchen. ...

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