Which dish would have won?

With a minority government in power let’s take a sample of what fueled the leaders of our main parties.

We asked each leader what their favourite recipe was; either one they made themselves or one someone made for them. We got a nice variety of dishes and all of them are perfect to warm-up as we wait for summer to start.

Dennis King, Premier Designate, PC Party

…One of my favourite family meals growing up was boiled dinner with spare ribs. I grew up in a big family so it was always a great time when we would have everyone around the table and enjoy some good food and good laughs. I don’t have Mom’s recipe anymore but I still remember her putting it all together.

Mom would take some pickled spare ribs, soak them and drain them a few times and then put it in a pot. Next she would take some potatoes and cut each of them into quarters before adding them to the pot with the ribs. After that there would be carrots, turnips and onions tossed in and then she would cook it all together.

It’s a simple dish really but Mom made it with such love that we felt like it was magic to us.”

Boiled Dinner with Spare Ribs

Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader, Green Party

Many years ago, we developed a family tradition of making this recipe after my wife Ann or myself had been away for any length of time. It was food enjoyed by all of our children and a recipe they often helped prepare…living in Glasgow, I grew to love food from all over the world and, in particular, food from India. To this day I associate this meal with family homecomings,” Peter Bevan-Baker said.

Mughlai Chicken with Almonds and Sultanas

1-inch cube of ginger, peeled, coarsely chopped
8-9 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 + 2 Tbsp blanched, sliced almonds
4 Tbsp water
7 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 lbs chicken pieces, skinned
10 whole cardamom pods
1-inch stick of cinnamon
2 bay leaves
5 whole cloves
7 oz onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin seeds
1/8 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
7 Tbsp plain yogurt
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 pint single cream (18% MF)
1-2 Tbsp sultanas
1/4 tsp garam masala

Put the ginger, garlic, 4 Tbsp of the almonds, and water into an electric blender and blend to a paste.

Heat the oil in a wide pot or deep frying pan over a medium-high heat. When hot, put in chicken pieces in a single layer. Brown the chicken on both sides, remove and set aside, repeating process to brown all the chicken pieces. Set aside in a bowl.

Put the cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, and cloves into the hot oil. Stir and fry them for a few seconds. Add in the onions and fry until they are lightly browned.

Add the paste from the blender, and the cumin, and cayenne. Stir and fry for 2-3 minutes or until the oil seems to separate from the spice mixture and the spices are lightly browned. Add 1 Tbsp of yogurt. Stir and fry it for about 30 seconds. Add another Tbsp of yogurt. Repeat until all the yogurt has been incorporated.

Add the chicken pieces, any liquid that might have accumulated in the chicken bowl, the cream, and salt. Bring to a simmer. Cover, turn heat to low and cook gently for 20 minutes. Add the sultanas and turn the chicken pieces over. Cover and cook another ten minutes or until the chicken is tender. Add the garam masala. Stir to mix.

Put the remaining almonds in a baking tray and put them under the grill until they brown lightly. You will have to toss them frequently. Sprinkle these almonds over the chicken when you serve.

Wade MacLachlan, Liberal Party

Here are two gluten-free dishes in one,” former Liberal Party leader MacLachlan said in his note. He said there are three basic ‘secrets’ to successful chowders. First, they must be built in stages. Second, they’re better with fresh not frozen ingredients. Third, they are always better on the second or third day.

Potato Chowder

This recipe will make a potato chowder for 8-10 people. You can scale it accordingly.

Stage 1: Potatoes—use ‘wet’ varieties such as Red Chieftan, Superior, Fabula or any Blue Potato. Yukon Gold or Russet Burbank are fine, if older.

Peel and grate 6 cups of potato, and cook in six cups of water. Whisk or stir regularly, to ensure that the potatoes don’t ‘catch’ on the bottom of the pot. When the potatoes begin to break and form a starchy paste (about 10-12 minutes), add 3 more cups of grated potato and 1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth. Stir occasionally, till potatoes form a paste.

Stage 2: Savoury—You can’t put too many savoury ingredients in a potato-based chowder. Chop at least 4 cups of onions (optional fennel and/or celery). Finely chop two tablespoons (or more) of fresh herbs.Oregano is the best. You can’t use too much. Dill or basil are great too.

Sauté the onions in olive oil or butter until they soften. Add in herbs after about a minute. Add some chopped garlic near the end. Do not overcook. Continue cooking over a low heat for a minute or two, while stirring with a whisk. Grind in black pepper (be generous) and a few pinches of ground nutmeg or a generous dash of curry. Stir the savoury mixture in to the potato mixture.

Stage 3: Liquid—Stir in chicken stock or milk to thin and balance. Run the entire mixture through a food processor until blended, but retain some texture. For further richness, stir in 2 or more tablespoons of dijon mustard and/or sour cream. Add additional pepper or herbs to taste.

Mussel Chowder
The Potato Chowder is simple to convert to Mussel Chowder, and can be enjoyed in two stages, first as a Potato Chowder and later as Mussel Chowder.

Steam four or five pounds of fresh mussels in a heavy pot, beginning with just enough white wine to cover the bottom of the pot (the mussels will make their own liquor). Keep well covered and steam on medium to high heat for approximately 4 minutes, until the mussel shells open. Do not overcook. Add the liquor from cooking the mussels to the potato soup mixture (as above). If you want to make a mussel chowder from scratch, follow the steps for the potato chowder using the mussel liquor to cook the grated potatoes. Remove the mussel meat from the shells and add to the chowder.

Heat and serve.

Joe Byrne, Leader, New Democratic Party

It was difficult for NDP leader Joe Byrne to choose his favourite recipe because he is a well known “Foodie” who loves to experiment with cooking and it makes him sincerely joyous to make food for those he loves.

Byrne submitted a very rich dish that’s perfect for special occasions (“Like when your grown son returns home for a visit,” he said.) The dish gets its unusual name from its cheesy texture.

“Drooling” Potato Gnocchi

Home-made or store bought potato gnocchi
Salt (to taste)
1/2 cup chicken stock, canned or homemade
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground white pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
5 oz Fontina cheese, shredded, about 1 1/2 cups

Preheat oven to 450°F. Bring the stock, butter, and cream to a boil in a large skillet over medium heat. Adjust the heat to simmering, season lightly with white pepper, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Cook potato gnocchi as directed. Drain the gnocchi, return them to the cooking pot and pour in the sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring gently to coat the gnocchi with the sauce. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Check the seasoning, adding salt if necessary, and gently spoon them into one large baking dish or two smaller baking dishes. You want the gnocchi to be essentially in one layer. Scatter the shredded Fontina cheese over the dish and bake in the oven until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

About Salty Staff

A diverse group of people, the Salty team works hard each month to bring you great stories about PEI's food and farming community.

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