Culinary B.C.: 3 Multicultural Recipes From Wine Country
This cauliflower soup with apple curry marshmallows is dairy- and gluten-free. Photo: Courtesy of Jennifer Schell
“Food is our common ground, a universal experience” —James Beard
“I love the idea of people from around the world coming here to follow their passion,” says Kelowna author and winemaker Jennifer Schell. “Collectively, they now form our incredibly unique and diverse wine culture.” And it’s exactly this culture that’s reflected in her book, The B.C. Wine Lover’s Cookbook: Recipes & Stories from Wineries Across British Columbia.
The stories and anecdotes, along with multigenerational family recipes, make this much more than a traditional cookbook. No surprise that it was shortlisted for the 2021 Taste Canada Awards, the annual foodie fest celebrating Canadian cookbook authors.
Here, we serve up three recipes and wine pairings from the book — including such palate-pleasers as Cauliflower Soup with Apple Curry Marshmallows, Portuguese Chicken and Zwiebelkuchen, Onion Quiche — but first, some culinary tips and tricks from Schell.
Can you share your favourite flavour boosters — and any other secret weapons?
1. Lemon zest is an amazing flavour booster. Almost any recipe that calls for a squeeze of lemon or lime juice is taken to the next level with the power of the zest. Make sure to have a microplane zester in your drawer — it is a key tool, and do buy organic lemons for this.
2. Maldon sea salt is a must for finishing almost everything.
3. Another great addition to your spice cupboard is smoked paprika. Smell it and you will know why.
What is your go–to dish when cooking for friends and family?
For entertaining, my favourite dish is Carne Asada — Mexican steak tacos. My new obsession is to serve the tacos with Elote (Mexican Street Corn) — grilled corn slathered with a limey mayonnaise sauce and topped with Mexican Cotija cheese and cilantro. Yes, this is to die for, and this combo is always a hit.
What items and ingredients do you keep stocked in your pantry or fridge?
Limes and lemons are an absolute necessity. Farm-fresh eggs, garlic, fresh herbs, avocados and greens. Plus, any and all local vegetables in season. And jasmine rice!
What is your go-to, feel-good food?
My boyfriend is Filipino, and he makes me garlic fried rice with eggs. I could eat this everyday — it is total comfort food.
What is your favourite nibble, healthy or otherwise?
I love Häagen Dazs vanilla, chocolate, almond ice cream bars and have them on hand for anytime of the day that I need a fix (even for breakfast). For healthy snacks, I have rediscovered smoothies that I load up with veggies and fruits.
Favourite dishes to cook with the kids (or grandkids)
During this last year of COVID, we have organized our own “Monday Night Supper Club” with the kids. Each week we pick a new country and cuisine to feature, which makes a fun and educational opportunity for us to cook and eat together.
*The Q&A has been condensed
Zwiebelkuchen, Onion Quiche
This quiche is a Schales family tradition, served to celebrate the first crush of grapes after harvest and bless the new vintage. Stefanie Schales serves it to her family and crew in the 8th generation wine cellar, paired with a glass of neuer wein (new wine, fresh from the tank of fermenting white wine). The sweet, cloudy, bubbly wine pairs perfectly with the onions and bacon in this recipe. Ask your local winery if you can purchase a jug of neuer wein to pair with your own zwiebelkuchen.
4 tsp active dry yeast
½ cup + 5 tbsp warm milk
Pinch of sugar
2 cups flour
¼ cup butter
½ tsp salt
3 tbsp canola oil
6 cups finely chopped sweet onions (about 5 large)
3 slices schinkenspeck or good bacon, finely chopped
1 cup sour cream
½ tsp caraway seeds
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp flour
For the Dough:
In a small bowl, mix the yeast with 5 tbsp of the warm milk, add the sugar and leave in a warm spot to rise until frothy, about 5 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, place the flour, egg, butter, salt, the rest of the milk and the yeast mixture. Start the mixer on low speed, and mix until one big ball of dough has formed, at least 5 minutes. If the dough is too wet or dry, add additional flour or milk to adjust— it should be elastic and not too sticky. Cover the dough with a clean tea towel and leave to rest in a warm spot until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
For the Filling:
In the meantime, in a large frying pan over low heat, heat the oil. Sauté the onions until they are soft but not brown, about 20 minutes. Add the Schinkenspeck, remove from heat and set aside to cool (it will cook in the oven later). In a bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, caraway seeds and salt. Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture, add the egg mixture and stir it all together with a wooden spoon.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a pan or line it with parchment. Ideally, use a 15-inch deep-dish pizza pan. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll it out to fit the shape of your pan, with an additional 2 inches of dough on all edges. Lay it out on the pan, creating a 2-inch-high “curb” around the edges to contain the filling. using a spatula, spread the filling over the dough. Bake until the crust is crispy and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Cool and cut into wedges. Prost!
8th Generation Integrity Frizzante. This delightful, versatile wine is a sparkling blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Kerner. Notes of apricot and pear combine with a soft citrus on the nose; the palate explodes with honey, pineapple, honeydew melon and more soft exotic fruit.
Yida’s Portuguese Chicken
CedarCreek’s winemaker Taylor Whelan grew up on Vancouver Island. Each year, his family purchased a pig to be raised by his best friend’s parents, Jim and Yida Scott. “Yida’s family is Portuguese,” explains Taylor, “and they made their own chorizo sausage from the pigs with heaps of smoked paprika, red wine and cumin mixed with the pork, smoked and cured. Over the years, my family adopted the recipe for this comfort-food dish. If I get an evening off during harvest, I can whip up a big batch without too much fuss, and it is even better the next day.”
6–8 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup olive oil
3 heaping tbsp smoked Spanish paprika (see note)
1 tbsp salt
1½ tsp pepper
1 (3–4 lb) roasting chicken, sectioned (see instructions)
1 cup dry white wine (preferably CedarCreek Sauvignon Blanc)
6 Sieglinde potatoes, halved
6 cured or semi-cured Spanish chorizo sausages, sliced into 1- to 2-inch pieces (see instructions)
Chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
To section the chicken, cut apart the legs, back pieces and breasts for a total of six pieces. If it’s a large chicken, you may also want to separate the drumsticks from the thighs and halve the breasts. If you’re not comfortable sectioning a chicken yourself, ask a butcher to do it for you. Make sure you purchase Spanish or Portuguese chorizo, not Mexican (which contains cumin), and use smoked paprika, not regular.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a bowl, combine the garlic, olive oil, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Roll up your sleeves and massage the mixture all over the chicken pieces — the longer the massage, the better the flavour!
Pour the wine into the bottom of a large roasting pan, and top with the chicken pieces, arranging so they are all in one layer. Arrange the potatoes around them.
Roast, uncovered, until the chicken is just starting to brown, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and add the chorizo pieces, distributing them around the chicken and potatoes. Turn the chicken pieces to allow for more even browning. Return the pan to the oven and cook until the juices in the chicken thighs run clear and the pieces are fully browned, about another 30 minutes.
To serve, divide the chicken, chorizo and potatoes between plates and top with the flavourful jus and a sprinkling of parsley. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread and a bright salad topped with almonds and blue or Manchego cheese and drizzled with sherry vinegar. Cheers!
CedarCreek Sauvignon Blanc. This crisp wine cuts through the fat in the chicken and sausage, and the paprika makes the acidity race. You are left with a lovely clean finish.
Jan’s Cauliflower Soup with Apple Curry Marshmallows
When Jan Dobbener married into the Stewart family, he happily joined the family business at Quails’ Gate Winery. A formally trained chef, he likes to serve this dairy- and gluten-free soup at family gatherings in the fall. For a vegan option, exclude the marshmallows.
Apple Curry Marshmallows:
Cornstarch, for dusting
½ cup apple juice
2 tbsp gelatin powder
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp glucose syrup or white corn syrup 4 egg whites
1 tbsp curry powder, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 medium head cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
1 leek (white portion only), diced 4 cloves garlic, minced
½ tbsp cumin seeds
½ tbsp curry powder
6 cups vegetable stock
1 (398 ml/14 oz) can coconut milk
Salt and pepper
Olive oil, to drizzle
Optional garnish: chive blossoms, nasturtium leaves
For the Apple Curry Marshmallows:
These need 2 hours to set and can be made ahead. Line an 8×10-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with parchment paper and heavily coat it with cornstarch using a fine strainer or sieve. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring ¼ cup of the apple juice to a boil, and stir in the gelatin. Remove from heat and set aside.
In another small saucepan over low heat, warm the rest of the apple juice. Stir in the sugar until it dissolves, then stir in the glucose syrup. Pour into the saucepan with the juice and gelatin and set aside to cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add the curry powder and whisk until combined. With the mixer running on high speed, slowly add the juice mixture in a thin stream until combined, then turn off the mixer.
Scoop the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan, levelling with a spatula until even, then finish by coating the top with another thick layer of cornstarch (it is super sticky). Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a cool, dry place (not the fridge).
Allow to set for about 2 hours. once the marshmallows have fully set, ensure that they are liberally sprinkled with cornstarch to prevent them from sticking to each other. Slice into 2-inch cubes with a knife dipped in cornstarch, or use a small round biscuit cutter (or the size or shape of your preference).
Marshmallows will keep for 3–4 days in the pantry in an airtight container.
For the Soup:
In a large stockpot over medium-low heat, heat the oil. Sauté the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes, then add the cauliflower and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the leeks and garlic and sauté for another 3–4 minutes, until the leeks have softened, stirring continuously to ensure that they do not brown on the bottom. Stir in the cumin seeds and curry powder, then pour in the stock. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the cauliflower is soft, 20–25 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. With an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth (or transfer to a blender when slightly cooled). Strain and serve hot, topped with a fabulous apple curry marshmallow. If you like, sprinkle with curry powder, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with chive blossoms and nasturtium leaves.
Quails’ Gate Chasselas-Pinot Blanc-Pinot Gris. This beautifully aromatic wine has notes of fresh orchard fruit, gooseberry, lime cordial, spring blossoms and white flowers. Slightly off-dry, the palate is fresh and fruity with balanced acidity and a lovely citrus finish.
Excerpted from The BC Wine Lover’s Cookbook by Jennifer Schell. Copyright © 2020 Jennifer Schell. Photography ©2021 Jennifer Schell. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
A version of this story was originally published on Sept. 17, 2021