Over the river and through the woods… There are some great Fords that can get us to Grandmother’s house on the holidays, and now with SYNC Navigation, the trip is even easier – no directions to remember or maps to jostle with. But over the holidays, it’s not really about the car ride. Let’s face it – food is the most important factor.

If you’re anything like us, you have dishes that you look forward to year over year. Maybe you make it, maybe someone else brings it for you to enjoy. The tricky part is getting it there in one piece and not scraping it off of the inside of your trunk or off of the back seat! Do you make your kids hold the pie in their laps? Do you put toothpicks in the casserole and plastic-wrap on top so it doesn’t touch the crunchy/cheesy toping? Do you assemble when you arrive or only partially bake and finish up at your destination?

To get the tricks from the trade, we spoke to chefs from across the country. Travel safely and have a very happy holidays!

Chef Kyle Groves, Catch & The Oyster Bar, Calgary

Groves loves turkey with “good turkey gravy.” He says that gravy is key and it should have the flavour of roasted turkey along with garlic and sage.

Dark meat or white meat? 

“I prefer dark meat most times because unless you cook the parts of the turkey separately, the breast will be over cooked by the time the legs and thighs are cooked properly.  The best turkeys are done by cooking the breast and legs/thighs at separate starting points.”

How do you transport your items safely? 

“There are no real tricks to it. I just wrap everything in cling film or foil. A tip could be perhaps to bring a serving dish separately so that you can transfer your dish and make it look nice at the host’s house.”

Groves shared a recipe for Oyster Stuffing:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound sourdough or french baguette – cubed 1/2″
  • 2 oz butter unsalted
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves – minced
  • 6 celery stalks – small dice
  • 3 dozen fresh oysters, preferably a mix of kusshi and Malpeque – shuck and save the liquid
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock (freshly made is best, or use a knorr stock cube)
  • 0.5 cups dry white wine
  • 1 oz fresh sage, chopped
  • 0.5 cups parsley chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
  • 0.5 tsp Old Bay Spice
  • zest of 3 lemons
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oven to 300 F
  2. Bake the bread on a cookie sheet until dry.  10-15 minutes
  3. In a pot large enough to hold all the ingredients melt the butter and sweat the onions and garlic until they are translucent.
  4. Add the celery and cook until soft.
  5. Add the Old bay spice, Sage, Parsley, Wine, Oyster juices, lemon zest, Worchestershire and chicken stock.
  6. Bring to a boil and simmer very lightly for 5 minutes.
  7. Taste the liquid and add salt and pepper to season.  Remember that you are using this mix to season all of the bread, so it can be slightly salty.
  8. In a lightly greased baking dish, add your bread cubes and oysters.
  9. Pour the liquid over top of the bread and mix well.  If the mixture is too dry add a splash of olive oil.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes at 400*F covered with foil.
  11. Remove foil, add another splash of olive oil and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes until the top is crisped.  Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top and serve.