Winter Recipes from Local Chefs’ Cookbooks

During the winter season I am always on the lookout for new recipes. It’s the time of year for hosting and enjoying dinner parties and for eating delicious, decadent food. Of course we all have our go-to, no-fail recipes, though sometimes it’s fun to branch out and try new things. 

This year we asked a few of our local chefs if they would share their favourite cold weather recipes from their cookbooks. Try your hand at one (or all) of these mouth-watering winter themed recipes.

smoked black cod chowder 6

Smoked Black Cod and Cheddar Chowder

From: Sea Salt: Recipes from the West Coast Galley

A mother and daughter collaboration, Sea Salt was named “Best Seafood + Fish Cookbook in Canada and Third Best Fish and Seafood Cookbook in the World” by Gourmand International.

“Every galley cook should have a seafood chowder in his or her repertoire. It’s hot, satisfying and can be made with any fresh, readily available fish or shellfish. This version showcases black cod (also known as sablefish), an oily, firm-textured fish that comes into its own when smoked. Smoked paprika imparts further depth, while aged cheddar cheese adds richness. In a downpour, steaming bowls of this chowder are always appreciated” — Excerpt from the Sea Salt Cookbook

“This vibrant, hearty chowder is cozy comfort food for a chilly winter’s night.” — Alison Malone Eathorne, Sea Salt Cookbook

Ingredients (Serves Four)
  • 2 Medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • ¼ Cup (60 mL) unsalted butter
  • ¼ Cup (60 mL) finely chopped onion
  • ¼ Cup (60 mL) finely chopped celery
  • ¼ Cup (60 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tsp (5 mL) smoked paprika
  • 2 × 10 fl oz (284 mL) cans clam nectar
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) tomato paste
  • ¼ Cup (60 mL) finely chopped red (or orange) bell peppers
  • 1 ½ Cups (350 mL) whole milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lb (454 gr) boneless/skinless smoked black cod, cut into 1-in (2.5-cm) pieces
  •  ¾ Cup (180 mL) fresh or canned kernel corn
  • ½ Cup (125 mL) grated aged cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tsp (10 mL) minced chives
  • 2 Tsp (10 mL) minced flat-leaf parsley

Boil potatoes in a small saucepan of salted water until cooked but still firm (approximately 6 minutes). Drain and set aside.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and celery and cook until softened (about 3 minutes). Stir in flour and paprika until thoroughly dispersed, then whisk in clam nectar and tomato paste. Bring broth to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer. Add bell peppers. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes. Add milk and heat through.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add cod, corn and pre-cooked potatoes. Simmer for 5 minutes or until cod is just cooked through. Add cheese, chives and parsley, and stir until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Sea Salt Food Company Ltd.


Turkey Tamales

From On The Flavour Trail by, Christabel Padmore

On the Flavour Trail brings together the best of Vancouver Island’s culinary creativity, combined with the finest ingredients the island has to offer.” — Excerpt from On the Flavour Trail.

On The Flavour Trail is a collaboration of recipes by the Island Chef’s Collaboration, edited by Christabel Padmore.

“Turkey tamales are the perfect way to use up leftovers, while giving your palate a change of pace” — Christabel Padmore.

  • 2lbs Leftover Turkey
  • 2 Tsp good quality chili powder
  • 1 1/2 Tsp toasted and ground cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp toasted and ground coriander seeds
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Dozen corn husks
  •  3 ½ Cups masa harina (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
  •  1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 1/4 Tsp baking powder
  •  ½ Cup lard
  •  2 to 4 Cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 24 Corn husks


Shred leftover turkey meat and set aside.

Heat vegetable in a frying pan and sauté onions and garlic until translucent. Add chili, cumin and coriander, and stir until blended. Add turkey and ½ cup of chicken stock and stir until blended. Set aside.


If using dry husks, place the husks in a large bowl or container and submerge completely in hot water. Soak the husks until they are soft and pliable.


Place the masa, salt, and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and combine. Add the lard and cut in with pastry blender, or using your hands, incorporate the lard into the dry mixture. Gradually add enough of the chicken stock until the dough is thick and binded, but not wet. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and set aside until ready to use.


If you soaked the husk, dry them before using. Working in batches, lay the husks on your work surface and spread about 2 tablespoons of the dough evenly across the wide end of the husk, leaving about 1/2-inch around the edges. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the meat mixture into the centre of the dough. Roll the husk, folding the bottom under to finish the tamale. Tie the tamales individually, around the center, with threads of husk or kitchen twine. Repeat until all the husks, dough and filling are used.


Place a steamer basket in the bottom of a large pot and add enough water to come to the bottom of the basket. Pack into the tamales into the steamer, upright, on their fat end. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Steam for 20-25 minutes.

Serve warm with your favourite fresh salsa.

Little Piggy Catering

Island Chefs Collaborative



Mushroom Bread Pudding

From The Deerholme Mushroom Cookbook, by Bill Jones


“Expand your culinary knowledge of wild and cultivated mushrooms with this comprehensive cookbook by award-winning writer and chef Bill Jones […] Delicious recipes for basic pantry preparations, soups, salads, meats, seafood, and vegetable dishes, all featuring mushrooms ” — Excerpt from The Deerholme Mushroom Cookbook

“Savoury bread pudding is great on its own with a side salad for lunch or dinner. It also makes a great base for meat or poultry dishes, particularly those that have a braised sauce. You can use almost any mushroom or combination of mushrooms for this dish. You can also add a cup of your favourite sharp cheese on top to create a nice crust.” — Bill Jones

Ingredients (Makes 8 Portions)
  • 1 Cup (250 mL) diced bacon
  • 2 Leeks, trimmed, washed, sliced
  • 2 Cup (500 mL) sliced mushrooms (porcini, morel, button, etc)
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) minced mixed herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme)
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 Cups (1.5 mL) French bread or baguette (sliced thinly)
  • 6 Large eggs
  • 4 Cups (1 L) milk (creamo or whipping cream)

Preheat oven to 325 F / 165 C. In a saute pan, add the bacon and sauté to reduce the fat (pour off some of the fat if a large quantity is rendered). Add the leeks and mushrooms and sauté until soft. Add the herbs and garlic, season well with salt and pepper. Saute until fragrant, remove from heat and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, add the eggs and whisk to mix. Add the milk or cream and whisk well to blend. Season with salt and pepper.

Place a layer of bread in a large casserole dish. Sprinkle some of the bacon and leek mixture on top, and repeat with the remaining bread and seasoning. Pour the egg mixture over the bread, pushing down with a spoon to ensure all the slices are soaked with the mixture. Place in a hot oven for 45 minutes (or until set and slightly browned on top). Remove from oven and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes. Cut into squares (or scoop with a large spoon) and serve warm.

Deerholme Farm

4830 Stelfox Road

Duncan, BC, V9L 6S9

250 748-7450







Chocolate Caramel Brownie Cups

From Elizabeth Nyland’s Blog: Guilty Kitchen

These brownies are gluten and dairy free and do they ever look amazing!




  • 1 Cup blanched almond meal
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 Tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 Cup cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Egg


Caramel Layer

  • 10 Large (preferably soft) medjool dates, pitted
  • 3 Tbsp boiling water
  • Slightly less than 1/4 Tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 Cup creamed coconut

Chocolate Layer

  • 1/2 Cup dark chocolate or chips (I used Enjoy Life chocolate chips)
  • 1 Tbsp ghee or coconut oil (ghee makes it taste better though!)
  • 1/8 Tsp sea salt

For the Brownies

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a deep silicone muffin tin and set aside (If you don’t have a silicone muffin pan, I suggest using paper liners so as to not have to wrestle with it to get your goodies out).

Blend almond meal and coconut flour.

Add in salt, cinnamon and cocoa and blend with a fork.

Stir in the coconut oil, honey, vanilla and egg. Blend until completely mixed.

Spoon into six or seven of the muffin tin compartments.

Bake for 13-15 minutes. Remove and cool completely. (I use the freezer for speedier cooling, just don’t forget them in there.)


For the Caramel Layer

Place dates and boiling water in a blender or food processor and blend until liquefied.

Add in remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Pour over cooled brownie layer and cool again.


For the Chocolate Layer

In a double boiler or a small metal bowl placed over a small pot of gently simmering water, add the chocolate chips, ghee and salt.

Stir continuously until just melted.

Pour over cooled cups and spread around with your finger or a small spatula.

Cool completely before trying to remove.


More of Nyland’s Books

Cooking With Avocadoes

Cooking with Coconut Oil 

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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