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Your Hunt is Over

Hunting season in Ontario generally lasts from mid-September to mid-December.  As we roll into December at Sanagan’s, you won’t have to hunt for delicious offerings to fill any of your holiday needs.

One offering that may have eluded you in the past is our Hunter’s Pie. Chef Anne and her team in the kitchen have refined this recipe over the past few years to it’s near perfect current iteration.  Rich venison, elk and wild boar are slowly simmered with red wine and paired with hearty lentils and aromatics inside a buttery, flaky crust, topped with a true trophy in the form of a piece of bone marrow.

Our Hunter’s Pie is the very definition of a special occasion dish. It is rich, and delicious, and one should likely fight the desire to enjoy it every day, reserving it for gatherings with friends and family. My suggestion would be to keep things simple, and serve this with a crisp green salad using a mix with bitter greens and a mustard vinaigrette.

We have a quiet Christmas planned this year, but our centrepiece on Christmas Eve will be one of Chef Anne’s delicious Hunter Pies.  Happy hunting, and happy holidays!

Pudding Up With The Holidays

Christmas and the holidays are a time to indulge any number of eccentric traditions. We hang totally dry socks on the fireplace. We encourage our children to sit on the laps of strange old men. We bring whole fir trees into the house. And strangest of all, we consume a medieval-ish “pudding” that’s not like any other kind of pudding.

If you’re reading this and you haven’t got your own old fashioned Christmas pudding aging in the basement, have no fear, because this December, Sanagan’s will once again have our wonderful house-made Christmas puddings and hard sauce, stacked like cannon balls, ready to fire into the shopping bags of our holiday feasters.

And let’s get this straight — we’re not just talking any old mass-produced Christmas-pudding-in-a-can. Ours are made by hand by our chartcuterie specialist Scott Draper, based on his grandmother, Verna Draper’s recipe.

The Draper’s lived on a farm in Stouffville and like much of Ontario’s U.K. immigrant population they emphasized the Scottish side things. Their style of pudding, made with brown sugar, dried fruit, suet, breadcrumbs, carrot, egg etc., has a slightly lighter finish due to the absence of molasses. And it’s contained steamed within a cloth as opposed to a metal or ceramic mould. And it’s Holidayliscious!

All you have to do is steam it in its cheesecloth wrapping for one hour, and then dollop on and the hard-sauce (butter, icing sugar and brandy).  

Oh — I forgot the best part. Like all Christmas puddings worth their fruit peel, ours is best moistened with warm brandy and then set it on fire.  Turn the lights down low and present the flaming pudding. Now that’s an eccentric tradition.