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Posts Tagged ‘garlic’

Donair, Pizza Delight style

I love Donairs!  I could eat them at least once a week. There is just something about the spicy flavor that my taste buds adore! That being said, I also realize that eating out can get very expensive. I tried the store bought “Donair meat” and sauce but found every brand to be lacking in something, be it texture, smell, taste or spiciness. They all had some kind of drawback. Then I thought to myself (with help from the Mrs) “Self, what if you made your own authentic Donair meat?”

“Hmmm…” I mused out loud. Time to do some research.  Well that research paid off.  My Mrs found an “Authentic Maritime Donair  Meat” recipe. It  proved to be simple and incredibly delicious. It was so good that we were “forced” to share with our friends and neighbors, whom have all commented on how it was the best Donair they have ever had.  I love the texture and taste of this recipe, combined with our super awesome sauce, the donair comes alive with delicious spicy sweetness.  If you would like to try the recipe out yourself, we have included the recipes for the meat and the sauce as well as assembly tips.

Background

The Maritime Canadian version of a Donair has close links to the Turkish Doner Kebab, which means “Rotating Roast”. It was traditionally made of lamb or beef or both. The meat is cooked on a vertical spit and cut into long thin slices and can be served in many different ways.

The Canadian version was introduced in Halifax in the early 1970’s by a restaurant called “King of Donair”. The meat is a combination of beef, flour or bread crumbs and a blend of spices. It is most often served with a sweet garlic sauce on a flatbread pita, with tomatoes and onions.

Maritimers have grown to love Donairs and is one of the most sought after “take-out” items when residents move away from the area. Purists will argue that the King of Donair’s version is the only acceptable one but much-loved variations abound. From the addition of pepperoni, mozzarella and lettuce, Donair meat and sauce can be found combined with any of these in a pita, on a pizza, in a sub sandwich, in an egg roll, and in other tasty concoctions.

Making the meat and sauce are actually very simple and the ingredients are readily available in many kitchens or easily obtained at your local grocery store. And the best part is that you really don’t need a special vertical spit to cook the meat.

DONAIR MEAT RECIPE

I followed this recipe for the meat

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground oregano
  • 1 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F (175C). In a cup or small bowl, mix the salt, oregano, flour, black pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper.

Place ground beef in a large bowl, and use your hands to blend in the spice mixture. If you want the smooth texture of meat that you see in a real Donair shop, you must do this in a steel mixing bowl and on a sturdy surface. Pick up the meat, and throw it down with force about 20 times, kneading it after each throw. This also helps the meat hold together better when you slice it. (You can also use a food processor or sturdy stand mixer)

Form the meat into a loaf, and place it on a broiler pan. If you do not have one, a baking sheet will do.

Bake 1hr 15min in preheated oven, turning the loaf over about half way through. This will ensure even cooking. Refrigerate the meat overnight before slicing.

DONAIR SAUCE RECIPE

I followed this recipe for the sauce

Ingredients

  • 2/3 c sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 c  white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp  garlic powder

Directions

Stir the milk and garlic powder together.  Add vinegar then stir the sauce for a couple of minutes in order for the vinegar and milk to mix properly.  Leave it sit for a few minutes then refrigerate.  The Donair sauce will last a few weeks in the refrigerator and I find that it is best served cold.

Doubles easily by using the whole can of condensed milk and doubling the other ingredients.

ASSEMBLING YOUR DONAIR

For a Halifax-style Donair:

  • 4oz thinly sliced Donair meat
  • Chopped fresh tomato
  • Chopped fresh or sautéed onions
  • Donair sauce
  • Pita bread

For a Pizza Delight-style Super-Donair, add:

  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Sliced pepperoni
  • Small pre-cooked pizza shell (instead of pita)

Halifax-style Donair: Add sliced Donair meat to a hot pan with a touch of oil and stir fry it until it is hot. Steam pita by placing it on the heating meat. Once warmed, place meat on pita, top with sauce, onions and tomatoes. Roll it up and enjoy with lots of napkins.

Pizza Delight-style Super Donair: Heat Donair meat and pepperoni in a pan. Place meats on a small pre-cooked pizza shell.  Add shredded cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and starting to brown. Add lettuce, onions, sauce and tomatoes. Roll and enjoy with lots of napkins on hand.

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Yummy! It smells so good in my shop today! I decided that I would cook supper for my ladies tonight as they both are going to be busy ! I thought a wonderful spaghetti would be great.  Then I thought I would do a thick meaty sauce but Mrs wanted a marinara type sauce, so that is what I made. I started with some red onion, green peppers and portobello mushrooms. I diced everything really fine, except the mushrooms, which I left a little bigger. To this  I added some light olive oil and salt and pepper. I allowed the veggies to sweat for a little bit until they started soften up. I then added some La San Marzano tomatoes and broke those up. Some tomato paste followed then some regular Ragu sauce because of time factors. As this was coming to a slow simmer, I finely chopped some of my garden fresh rosemary, oregano, parsley and a tiny bit of cilantro. I was able to pick up some basil from my local market, which completed the herb blend. I put this all together in the pot and let it simmer for about 3 hrs. I have my shop door open and folks wandered by saying “What smells so good”. I also cooked up some whole wheat spaghetti to mix into this wonderful sauce!

A woman even came into my shop to see my soaps and after we chatted for a while, I learned that she was Italian and a recent transplant to the city. Of course I had to have her taste my spaghetti sauce and she said it was fantastic. I’ll take that as a compliment any day. Thank you Franca!

Mrs and the girl both reported that the spaghetti was fantastic. It was just what my Mrs was looking for. I can’t wait to have some on my break later tonight!

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A nice little bowl of chicken with rice soup

On Saturday, after closing up my little store uptown for the day (I own a handmade soap shop), I headed to the grocery store to pick up something quick for supper. My wife was in the mood for some supermarket roasted chicken so that’s what I got; a fully-cooked little rotisserie chicken.

We brought it home and had the chicken and some potato wedges, and my wife whipped up some quick coleslaw, complete with chopped dill pickles and a touch of the pickle juice in the creamy dressing. It was delicious.

Making the stock: After supper, my wife took all the meat off the chicken. There was still an entire breast left, as well as a fair bit of dark meat. The bones and all the fat, juices, wing tips, even the string that held the chicken together, all of that went into a small stock pot. We added a chopped carrot, chopped celery, the tops of a few onions that had sprouted in the pantry, two minced cloves of garlic, and some dried herbs (classic parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme). We added some water (about 7 cups) and 1 cup of leftover dry white wine from a previous gathering. I brought it all to a boil and then reduced it to a simmer for 2 hours.

When it was done simmering, the chicken stock was strained and the bones and cooked vegetables were set aside to cool so they could be picked through for any remaining meat the next day. Once the stock and strained veggies were cool, they were refrigerated.

Making the soup: The next day, my wife re-strained the stock through a fine mesh strainer, which did a great job of separating any floating fat globules. In a stockpot, we tossed in 2 large diced carrots, 2 stalks of sliced celery, 3 diced shallots, and 3 cloves of minced garlic, which we then drizzled with olive oil. The veggies were sweated over a medium heat until the onion and celery appeared somewhat translucent.

Our 6 cups of stock plus 6 cups of water were added to the stockpot, as well as more dried parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. The parsley was especially nice because we had recently dried it in our dehydrator and it was still in big natural pieces. I think it was the parsley that really gave it a great rustic soup feel. We added salt and pepper to taste (probably about 2 teaspoons of salt) and let it all simmer for about an hour and a half.

After it had been simmering for 90 minutes, my wife added all the chopped chicken she had salvaged from the bones and body, which was probably about 2 cups. I also tossed in 1/3 cup of raw basmati rice and about 12 mixed peppercorns.

The soup continued to simmer for about another 30 or 40 minutes and then it was ready to serve. It was probably the best chicken and rice soup I have ever had. It was perfectly seasoned and was full of flavour. I was initially concerned about how much salt my wife was adding but it was just right. This is a recipe that I would definitely make again, and could possibly be a keeper for my diner. My wife and I ate it with cheddar sourdough bread, while my daughter had hers with vegetable thin crackers. She loved hers too, especially since she’s been fighting a cold for a few days. I think the loving touch of homemade chicken soup will be just the thing to get her feeling better again.

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