Holiday Eats: Chef Shane Chartrand serves up holiday dinner

For Shane Chartrand, the traditional turkey dinner has lost some of its lustre. With the holiday season upon us, the award-winning chef is encouraging Edmontonians to try some less conventional festive fare.

'I like to incorporate very old ideas with really new ideas'

Chef Shane Chartrand suggests you ditch the turkey and cook up something different this Christmas season. (vodkitchen.com)

For Shane Chartrand, the traditional turkey dinner has lost some of its lustre.

With the holiday season upon us, the award-winning chef is encouraging Edmontonians to try cook up some less conventional festive fare.

"During the Christmas season, I know I go to three Christmas dinners; turkey, turkey and turkey," Chartrand said. 

"So I think it's an opportunity for you to try something brand new."

It's something Chartrand does all the time inside his professional kitchen. After decades ascending the culinary ranks, he's earned a reputation for blending the traditional with the modern.

'Old is new again. It's really fun.'

"We put lots of twists on all kinds of things. My big thing right now is pushing for progressive indigenous cuisine, which is introducing First Nations cuisine into the realm of our dishes."

"It's important because as chefs because we get bored. And I like to incorporate very old ideas with really new ideas," he said. 

"Old is new again. It's really fun." 

Chartrand, who grew up in on a farm near Red Deer, learned at an early age to hunt, fish and respect his Indigenous traditions.

Although Chartrand  went on to work in elite kitchens across Edmonton, his culinary career had humble beginnings.
Chef Shane Chartrand has honed his skills in some of Edmonton's best restaurants. (Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance)
 At 14, he got his first job working at a greasy spoon truck stop, and worked in kitchens across central Alberta before graduating from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Chartrand went on to hone his craft at some of Edmonton's best restaurants: Hotel Macdonald, Sutton Place, and Union Bank. Today he works as executive chef at Sage Restaurant at River Cree Resort and Casino.

Hungry for something different this Christmas season, the crew behind the CBC Radio show  Edmonton AM asked Chartrand to come up with some recipes for a new kind of festive feast.

His menu for Christmas includes a buttery pulled turkey corn bread, seared pork chops, truffle-infused cream corn and a bacon mushroom stuffing. He also shared a few of his favourite recipes for lazy Boxing Day breakfast — maple ham pancakes and peach-fried French toast. 

Pulled turkey cornbread

  • 1 cup pulled turkey meat
  • 1 cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • Sugar to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup butter
  • Combine all dry ingredients, then add wet to dry
  • Bake at 350 F in a buttered cast iron dish for about 30 minutes 
  • Finish with your favourite gravy

Seared bone-in pork chop, with truffle cream corn and bacon mushroom stuffing:

  • 16-ounce large chop
  • seared to golden brown and finished in the oven to medium rare/medium

Bacon mushroom stuffing:

  • 4 strips bacon, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, rough chopped
  • 1 ounce garlic
  • half loaf of bread, diced
  • 6 ounces oil
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • Sauté diced onion, bacon, mushrooms, garlic in hot pan
  • Pull off the heat and add the diced bread, mix and season.
  • Roll tightly to form a log 
  • Bake at 300 F for 20 minutes
  • Cut into discs to serve 

Creamed corn:

  • 1 cup corn
  • 4 ounces truffle oil
  • 1 ounces minced garlic
  • 1 cup cream
  • Add all together and reduce down a quarter of liquid in a pot, cream with hand blender or mixer
    Instead of bacon and eggs, try Chartrand's maple ham pancakes for a lazy Boxing Day breakfast. (lifestylefood.com)
  • Maple ham pancakes with maple butter:

    • ¼ cup diced maple ham
    • ¼ cup diced cooked bacon
    • 2 ounces Saskatoon Liqueur
    • 1 egg
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • ¾ cup milk
    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 tbsp baking powder
    • salt
    • Mix wet ingredients first, then slowly add dry
    • Add the meat and cook pancakes

    Cream cheese and peach fried French toast:

    • 1 cup soft cream cheese
    • 1 cup peach jam
    • 6 slices white bread
    • icing sugar
    • tempura batter
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 2 cups ice water
    • 2 cups sifted flour
    • pot of oil at 275-300 F
    • Spread the cream cheese on bread, add peach jam, close each like a sandwich and cut into four slices
    • Dip carefully in batter and deep fry
    • Finish with icing sugar and syrup