I have never really thought about how to go about making a recipe. After all, there are hundreds of thousands for me to choose from. I wondered why people would try and create a recipe when there are so many to choose from?
To explore that activity, I enrolled in the Recipe Development course at George Brown. The course was developed and is taught by Annabelle Waugh. She has 20 years experience working in test kitchens. If anyone can get you excited about developing recipes, Annabelle can.
Recipe development is creative. You start by imagining dishes, ingredients, cooking times. You need to come up with a catchy title and then write a “lede” (pronounced leed). This is a paragraph that draws you in. It is a descriptive reason for wanting to do this recipe. It should have an “aha” moment where the reader connects to the recipe.
Now, you may need to rewrite this after you test your recipe a few times. Maybe you change an ingredient or texture. But writing down a description does give you a guideline to follow. For research, I read the LCBO’s magazine Food & Drink.
In order to get practice, I had to write 6 concepts. Each concept had a title and lede. After I submitted them, Annabelle chose two for me to develop.
The first concept was perogies. I had been reading an article about the history of perogies in Canada. As it turned out, perogies were a favourite on Annabelle’s.
Butter Chicken Pierogis
Honoring two great cultural cuisines – Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. The plump pillows of cheese and potato combined with a delicate, complimentary butter chicken sauce.
The second recipe came from maple syrup being on sale at the grocery store. Also I had a bunch of smoked pork chops in the freezer.
Smoked Pork Chop With Apple and Maple Syrup
Great ready for Canada Day with this sweet/savoury dish. We have the advantage of inexpensive maple syrup so why not use it to sweeten the chop. Add a tart apple like Courtland and you have a complemented flavour. You will be waving the flag proudly with this dish.
I started each recipe with listing the ingredients that I would need. Then I wrote a draft of the method – each step along the way. Annabelle had set some preconditions as a challenge. She provided a list of ingredients we had pick from – like a black box. Also the combined time had to be 30 minutes. I found that thinking about the recipes while on the dog walk helped to formulate the process.
I did the perogies recipe 3 times, adjusting the seasoning each time. The final test I added the coriander as a garnish.
The ingredients are listed in the order that they are used. In that way you have everything ready to add to the process. No time is wasted. No food is burnt.
Perogies With Butter Chicken Sauce
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
1 tbsp oil
2 cups, 600 g skinless chicken breast, cubed
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 pc onion, diced
1 can, 28 fl oz crushed tomatoes
2 tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
2 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp` pepper
½ cup 35% cream
1 pkg, 900 g frozen perogies
1/4 bunch (30 g) fresh coriander (chopped)
In a large saucepan, add oil and heat on medium – high. Add chicken and sauté (about 5 minutes). With a slotted spoon, remove chicken to bowl and set aside.
In the pan, melt butter on medium heat. Add onions and sauté to translucent (about 3 minutes). Add tomatoes and spices. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir the cream. Then add the chicken. Turn heat to medium low to simmer (about 10 minutes)
While sauce is simmering, prepare the frozen perogies as per package instructions.
On a plate, place cooked perogies and ladle chicken butter sauce on top
Tip: Add fresh, chopped coriander leaves as a garnish.
Smoked Port Chops with Apple and Maple Syrup
For the pork chops, I increased the searing time in order to reduce the simmering time. This kept the apples slightly firmer.
Prep time: 10 minutes; Active time: 5 minutes; Cooking time: 15 minutes; Total time: 30 minutes
Yield – 4 portions
4 apples, thinly sliced
1 pc Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp oil
4 pc, 600 g smoked pork chops
½ cup apple juice
4 tbsp maple syrup, dark
In a bowl, mix the apples and onions together. Sprinkle the cinnamon evenly on top and then mix into the apples and onions. Add lemon juice and mix.
In a large pan, add oil and heat on medium high. Sear the pork chops (1 minute each side). Remove the pork chops to the side. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add apple juice to pan, stirring to deglaze.
Add the apple, onion mixture and spread in evenly around the pan. Place pork chops on top. Top each pork chop with 1 tbsp of maple syrup.
Cover the pad and let simmer on medium-low for 15 minutes.
Use a little juice from the pan to pour over the chop.
I was hesitant at first about this course. I felt there were people far better than me creating recipes. I couldn’t really add to the culinary library.
However after having experimented with the process, I enjoyed myself. I won’t seek a career in it but will look at recipes now with a more critical eye. Maybe I’ll even change some ingredient that I think would be more to my liking.