What is “Canadian food” anyway? So often I hear this question and too often the answer is a little muddled. Of course you might hear people say “Poutine” “Maple Syrup” ,”Peameal Bacon” or “Butter tarts” just to name a few but there really is so much more to Canadian cuisine than a handful of dishes. If you’re interested in “cooking Canadian” Mairlyn Smith’s latest book, Homegrown proves that Canada can be a key ingredient in any meal. From Saskatchewan-farmed lentils to BC blueberries, Nova Scotia scallops to Quebec maple syrup or Albertan barley flour, Homegrown showcases the food that Canadians grow, produce and manufacture. Our geography provides terrain for some of the world’s most diverse agriculture and Homegrown contains over 175 recipes (collected from members and students of the Ontario Home Economics Association) which celebrate the best of Canada. The book also includes a wealth of nutritional information and a carb counter with every recipe, if that’s something you’re interested in knowing about.
Mairlyn’s mantra – choosing local ingredients wherever possible – shapes Homegrown into a comprehensive guide on how to eat locally year-round. The book demonstrates that you can create a menu using strictly Canadian products and foods
I’ve cooked a little bit from this cookbook already – for February’s Cookbook Book Club, Jan and I entertained Mairlyn herself with a three course meal, all from Homegrown! Mairlyn’s come to cook with my cooking club students a few times too – she’s always a popular guest – and last visit she walked them through the butter tarts from Homegrown which were a huge hit with the boys and adults alike.
Today, I’m happy to have permission to share a fabulous soup recipe from Homegrown thanks to Whitecap Books. This spicy red lentil soup is not spicy at all but it’s so very flavourful. As it was cooking away, the smell reminded me of the time I have spent in Northern Africa – it’s a heady mix of sweet and savoury that works so well and is even better the next day! I omitted the dried apricots (to be honest I just thought it was a bit odd and in hindsight, I was glad because this soup definitely did not need any more sweetness) and I used much more than the 1/2 teaspoon salt (I found that since you are using no salt tomatoes and broth, it needed a little more ooomph) but this will be a “go to” soup from now on. I’m also seeing possibilities with using it as some sort of stew base (thinking chicken) because it’s just so good it’s a shame to only enjoy these flavours and textures in a soup.
- 1 tsp (5 mL) cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp (5 mL) turmeric
- 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
- 1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
- ¼ tsp (1 mL) ground allspice
- 2 Tbsp (30 mL) canola oil
- 4 large shallots, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp (5 mL) fresh grated ginger
- One 28 oz (796 mL) can diced no salt added tomatoes
- 4 cups (1 L) no salt added chicken broth
- 1 cup (250 mL) cold water
- 1 cup (250 mL) dry red lentils, rinsed and drained
- 8 dried apricots, coarsely chopped
- ½ tsp (2 mL) iodized salt
- Mix together cracked black pepper, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and allspice in a small bowl and set aside.
- Heat a large pot over medium heat; add oil and shallots. Sauté for 5 minutes or until golden brown.
- Add celery and continue to sauté until slightly soft.
- Add garlic, ginger and the spice mixture. Sauté for 1 minute—the smell will hit you in the face, it’s wonderful.
- Add tomatoes, broth, water, lentils, apricots and salt. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 35 to 40 minutes or until the lentils have “melted” into the soup, stirring occasionally.
- Serve. Can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in the fridge.
Today, a few of my favourite food bloggers across the country are sharing recipes from Homegrown! Please head on over to their blogs and say hi and see what they cooked up!
Jan from Family Bites made Maple Apple Cheese Spread
Renee from Sweet Sugarbean made Kale Salad
Amy from Family Feedbag made Quebec Style Pea Soup
Charmian from the Messy Baker made Zucchini and Carrot Breakfast Muffins
Julie from Dinner with Julie made Maple Brussels Sprout Slaw
Please note: The product links from Amazon and The Book Depository are affiliate links, meaning if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price which goes towards maintaining eat. live. travel. write. Thank you in advance!
Disclosure: I received a copy of Homegrown from the publisher for review purposes. I was not asked to write about this book, nor am I being compensated for doing so. All opinions are 100% my own. FULL disclosure: Mairlyn is a very good friend of mine but I wouldn’t write about her book just because of that.