The holiday season looks different in many ways this year. One way to boost nostalgia during this unprecedented time is to serve a meal with locally-sourced ingredients. From farm-fresh lamb to hearty root vegetables and protein-rich legumes to creamy dairy products, you can elevate your holiday meal with Canadian ingredients. When you buy local and in-season food, you support Canadian farmers and add flavour to your socially-distanced festivities.
From the comfort of his Toronto kitchen, Chef Forrest Liu shares his favourite holiday dish. He suggests adding new ingredients or sides to give your meals a fresh, Canadian twist.
Let’s talk lamb— this type of red meat is richer in iron than poultry or fish. Plus, you can source lamb products from a variety of farms across Canada, including Buschbeck Farms of Grey County in Ontario, Anderson Farm in Ottawa, Harmony Farm Lamb in Creston, B.C., and Haywire Farms in Alberta.
Chef Liu recommends the lamb saddle because it is beautifully tender and always impressive. Composed of two loins, this cut makes the ultimate lamb roast and is easy to cook and plate.
“Buy local and keep your lamb simple. Baste it with Canadian butter, fresh herbs, salt, and pepper. Oven roast the meat and voila! You have a delicious and healthy meal,” says chef Liu.
In-season Canadian-grown vegetables add a nice touch to any holiday table. Liu’s favourite recipe calls for a combination of Yukon Gold potatoes and Ontario peas. In his recipe, he uses sour cream, mustard, and dill to enhance the vegetables and add colour to the plate.
Try something new this holiday season and create family favourites, as you deepen your connection with Canadian food and the people who grow it.
Chef Liu’s Ontario Lamb Saddle with Pea & Potato Salad Recipe
Pea & Potato Salad
2 Yukon Gold potatoes
1 cup of Ontario peas
2 tbsp of sour cream
1 tbsp Pommary mustard
1 tbsp of mayonnaise
1 sprig of chopped dill
- Preheat the oven to 300 F (149 C).
- Wash the potatoes and wipe dry. Wrap in tinfoil and put into the oven—Bake for 1 hour.
- Carefully open the tin foil as hot steam may pipe out. Put the two potatoes into a mixing bowl. Cool for 5 minutes until warm but not hot. Peel the potato skins with a tea towel while warm.
- Use a small whisk to smash the potatoes. Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, Pommary mustard and dill. Mix in a single circular motion with a spatula. Do not whisk.
- Add the peas only when the previous ingredients have been thoroughly mixed. Combine in a single circular motion, so you do not crush the peas.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
1 whole lamb saddle, deboned
3 sprigs of thyme
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp butter
- Preheat oven to 450 F (232 C). Check that the lamb saddle is tied correctly before you start. If it is loose in any area, re-tie with some butchers twine—season with salt and pepper.
- In a saucepan that can go into the oven, use high heat to sear all sides of the lamb saddle until crispy.
- Add the thyme, garlic, and butter to the pan. Baste the lamb saddle for 1 minute.
- Put the whole pan into the oven and bake for 17 minutes for medium.
- Remove from pan to resting rack for another 7 minutes. After that, cut the strings and the ends of the lamb saddle. Slice into 4 pieces.
Support your local farmers and buy Canadian lamb from your local grocer.
Farmwork to Feed Canada (F2FC) is a national volunteer not-for-profit initiative by Canadian communication professionals, students, and recent graduates in communications. F2FC collaborates with farmers, and agri-businesses amid COVID-19 pandemic-related challenges to Canada’s food supply and food security, to engage Canadians, pro bono, with compelling stories about their food system and build support for Canada’s farmers, food producers, and their essential skilled workers.