Fright Night Barn

The epic equine skeleton. Picture by @BAR_XP Photo.

BY JENN WEBSTER

If you’re like us, you’ve discovered the space and diversity a barn and arena can offer. While primarily a place for equines, when done properly, hosting a Halloween in the barn is a fabulous experience. Our kids look forward to it every year.

Halloween typically takes up an entire weekend in our barn. One day for a costume ride (hosted by Ronda Cann Training,) and the other day for a Halloween party. We’re all exhausted by the end of it, but it’s so much fun!

A rider moves her horse through the “Haunted Ground Rails.”

The costume ride is open to English and western riders and is very similar to a cowboy challenge. Riders dress up and put their horses to test, navigating various rails and obstacles. Horses even get to “bob for apples” at the end.

Long table, complete with dry ice. Pic by BAR_XP PHOTO.

The next day, we completely transform the arena into a Halloween-themed abyss. There’s a long table for the kids to eat lunch and thanks to some of my talented friends, we have had some amazing tablescapes over the years. Last year, the theme was a “Witches Brew” idea and dry ice put a spectacular finishing touch on it all. (*Of course, we had to carefully watch the younger children with dry ice as it can cause severe frost bite if touched.)

Pic by BAR_XP PHOTO.

The arena is decorated with various props and decorations we’ve collected and made over the years. (It takes almost an entire shed to store them now…)

Then the arena is divided into “stations” and much like a home-made carnival, the kids go from station to station playing games.

Pic by BAR_XP PHOTO.

Next we feature a long table for pumpkin decorating. Here, the kids get to design their own pumpkin with paint, glue, googly eyes and stickers. It does get a bit messy, but we figured this is better than carving the pumpkins and having a table full of kids with knives, lol.

Of course, there’s also a parent table… A spooky charcuterie board and a bottle of champagne are the major players here.

After that, it’s trick-or-treat time. Each horse has a gift for the kids in front of their stall. Some offerings are big hits with the kids and others are not.

Take for example, my skeleton horse candy apples from last year. Each of the apples were placed on top of a caramel package, a stick was included and our “skeleton horse” had them in front of his stall.

Many of the kids wanted nothing to do with the apples and ran straight for the candy in front of other stalls instead… LOL!!

Pic by BAR XP PHOTO.

Regardless, it was a good time. And we are all looking forward to this year’s event.

Spiced Squash Soup

This creamy, cold weather soup is the ultimate in comfort food. Make it ahead and save in the freezer to suit a busy schedule, or serve it as an appetizer to really wow your family at dinner. This hearty soup combines the sweetness of butternut squash from the garden with a whipped, goat cheese finish that neutralizes the soup’s cayenne kick – offering a blend of flavours that are sure to chase the winter blues away.

By Mike Edgar & Jenn Webster

INGREDIENTS
1 Onion
1 kgs Butternut Squash, Peeled and Diced
1 Onion, Chopped
4 Cloves of Garlic
2 Tbsp. Ground Tumeric
2 Tbsp. Ground Ginger
2 Tbsp. Ground Coriander
1 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
2/3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
2 L Chicken Stock
500 ml Heavy Cream
Nasturtium for Garnish1 Cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds
1 Tsp. of Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
1 Cup Whipping Cream
100 Grams Soft Goat Cheese
2 Tbsp. Chives

Prep and chop all of your vegetables and spices.

METHOD
Prep and chop all of your vegetables up (squash, onions, garlic and chives.) Toss the onions, garlic and squash together with seasonings, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Grill in a large, cast-iron skillet, or roast in the oven at 400-degrees Fahrenheit until the squash is tender. Depending on how you cut your squash, this process could take anywhere from 10-25 minutes.

Either grill or roast the squash, vegetables and seasonings together until tender.
Finalized, roasted squash.

Puree the roasted squash mixture when cooked.

Puree the roasted squash when cooked and combine with cream.

Meanwhile, mix the pumpkin seeds with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 400-degrees Fahrenheit until the seeds turn brown.

Roast the pumpkin seeds in the oven until brown.

Next, whip the whipping cream on high until you achieve stiff peaks. Add the goat cheese and chives and whip until incorporated. Set aside for the moment.

Whip the whipping cream, goat cheese and chives together.

Add the pureed squash mixture to chicken stock in a large pot and stir together on the stove. Add 500 ml of heavy cream and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Taste and check for flavour – if it is not to your liking, you may want to add a little more seasoning.

Add your pureed squash mixture to chicken stock, heavy cream and brown sugar in a large pot and stir together on the stove.

Put the soup into individual bowls and top with a spoonful of the whipped goat cheese mixture. Sprinkle each bowl neatly with toasted pumpkin seeds. Top with a few pieces of nasturtium, for a beautiful finish.

Beef Shanks

This holiday feast is juicy, full of flavour and will have your guests Ooo-ing and Ahh-ing all evening long.

If you’re up for a non-traditional Christmas dinner this year, this iconic dish is bound to become your next, family-approved classic. Slow-cooked to perfection, this show-stopping platter of beef is topped with a glaze reduction, vegetables and dainty truffle oil fries, then served on a bed of smoked blue cheese polenta. It’s a meal so filling and delicious that you may never go back to turkey dinner again.

By MIKE EDGAR & JENN WEBSTER

BEEF SHANKS

There are two ways to obtain the off-cut of beef that is desirable for this recipe. Firstly, you can ask your local butcher for a whole beef shank tied, or you can have the butcher cut the meat into two to three-inch thick pieces. Cutting them into smaller pieces makes them easier to handle. For this recipe however, we cooked the shanks whole.
 
Ingredients:
2 Whole Beef Shanks, Frenched and Tied.
3 Carrots, Chopped
4 Celery Stocks, Chopped
2 Onions, Chopped
5 Garlic Cloves
250 Grams Fresh Ginger, Chopped
750 mls Red Wine
5 L Beef Stock
5 Thyme Sprigs
4 Rosemary Sprigs
Salt
Ground Black Pepper
2 Cups Brown Sugar
 
Method:
In a large frying pan or Dutch oven heat canola oil on high heat. Generously season the shanks with salt and pepper. Sear all sides of the shanks and transfer to a large pan or Dutch oven. Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic and ginger to the pan you seared the beef in. Sauté until the vegetables start to brown. Add half the wine and scrape all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the rest of the wine, beef stock, brown sugar, thyme, and rosemary. Bring to a boil and then pour into the pan with the shanks. Cover and braise at 35-degrees Fahrenheit for five hours or until tender.

Cover and braise your beef shanks for five hours, or until tender.


When shanks are done, strain out half the braising liquid into a separate pot to make a glaze. Leave the shanks in the remaining liquid and cover to keep warm. Reduce the strained braising liquid on medium heat, until it reaches a syrup consistency. To serve the shanks, you will need help to prop them up on a platter. You can use your favourite holiday accompaniments. For this recipe, we used a smoked blue cheese polenta, balsamic roasted shallots, roasted squash and grilled bok choy. Please see below for these recipes.

Drizzle the glaze all over the shanks.


Firstly, on the bottom of your platter, pour the polenta down as a base. Then, arrange half of the vegetables around the platter and gently place the shanks in the center – moving any vegetables around as needed, to aid the shanks in standing straight up. Drizzle the glaze all over the shanks. Scatter the remaining vegetables on the platter, and you are ready to impress your guests!
 

Creating the polenta.


SMOKED BLUE CHEESE POLENTA
6 Cups Chicken Stock
2 Cups 35% Cream
2 Cups Coarse Corn Meal
60 gm Butter
200 gm Smoked Blue Cheese
1 Cup Grated Parmesan
1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
¼ Cup Parsley, Chopped
¼ Cup Chives, Chopped
 
Method:
Bring stock, cream, salt and pepper to a boil, add the corn meal and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring constantly until thick and creamy.
Remove from heat and stir in butter, blue cheese, parmesan, chive, and parsley and you are ready to serve.
 

Dicing up shallots and bok choy.
Roasting the shallots, drizzled with balsamic vinegar.


BALSAMIC ROASTED SHALLOTS

10 Large Whole Shallots, Peeled and Halved
3 Tbsp. Butter
2 Tbsp. Honey
4 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme Leaves
Salt and Pepper
 
Pre-heat oven to 400-degrees Fahrenheit. Melt butter in an oven-safe frying pan over medium heat. Add honey, balsamic, and thyme. Stir to combine. Add your shallots flat side down, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in oven for 20 to 25min.

Roasted with butter, olive oil and salt, these squash wedges make a delicious addition to the beef shank dish.

ROASTED SQUASH

2 Kabocha Squash, Seeded and Cut into Wedges (leaving the skin on)
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Butter
Salt and Pepper
 
Pre-heat oven to 400-degreesFahrenheit. Heat oil, and butter in a cast iron pan. Place squash in the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. After the squash has a nice golden brown sear on one side, flip them and put in the oven to roast for approximately 20 minutes, flipping every five minutes.
 

Grill bok choy on the BBQ for a nice finish.


BOK CHOY

Cut bok choy in halves. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place bok choy flat-side down on a very hot grill and sear for 30 seconds, ensuring each one gets a really nice grill mark. Flip and sear for another 30 seconds and they are ready to eat.

Holiday Side Dishes

If you saw our recent Western Foodie post about the Holiday Beef Wellington, these are the perfect side dishes to go with. And if the Beef Wellingon doesn’t steal the show, these side dishes definitely will!

By MIKE EDGAR, Photos by TWISTED TREE PHOTOGRAPHY

ROASTED GARLIC MASHED POTATOES

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bulb Garlic,
  • Intact Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 6 Large Russett Potatoes, Peeled and Cut into 1-inch Chunks
  • 4 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, at Room Temperature
  • 1 Tsp. Salt, Plus More as Needed
  • 1 Cup Milk, Plus More as Needed
  • Minced Chives, for Garnish (Optional)

Method:
Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. Use a sharp knife to slice off the top end so that the bulb remains intact and all of the cloves are exposed. Place on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Fold the foil around the bulb so that it is completely covered and bake until the cloves are tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool at least 10 minutes before handling. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the bulb so that the softened cloves fall out. Discard the peels. Use the tines of a fork to mash the roasted garlic into a paste. Set aside.

Place the chopped potatoes in a large stockpot and cover with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Continue to cook uncovered until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 15-18 minutes. Drain well.

Return the potatoes to the warm pot. Add in the butter, salt, milk, and the roasted garlic paste. With an electric mixer, beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, adding more milk as needed. Avoid over-beating. *Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Garnish with minced chives. Serve warm.

ROASTED ASPARAGUS WITH HOLLANDAISE
Ingredients:

1 Bunch Asparagus Stalks
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Large Pinch Sea Salt
Black Pepper to Taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 400. Meanwhile on a baking sheet, toss asparagus with the olive oil. Arrange stalks evenly on the pan, then sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.

Roast for 20-25 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through for even, delicious browning.

HOLLANDAISE FOR TWO
Ingredients:

2 Egg Yolks
1.5 Tsp. Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Butter Melted
Pinch Sea Salt
Pinch Black Cracked Pepper

Method:

There are lots of methods to use when making Hollandaise Sauce. While I want to be a purist and use a double-boiler, I must admit – I have an immersion blender and it is pretty fool proof. These recipes easily double, triple, quadruple, etc. Make Hollandaise for a crowd, by golly! Whichever method you use, here are your options:

Immersion Blender: Place egg yolks and lemon juice in a tall-sided container that isn’t too wide (think a quart-sized soup container). With the immersion blender, combine the egg yolk and lemon juice briefly. Continue to run the immersion blender and dribble in the melted butter. Add a little sea salt and black pepper. You’re done!

Blender: Place egg yolks and lemon juice in the blender. Pulse briefly to combine. Turn the blender on a low setting, take either the whole lid or just that little plastic part in the top off and slow drizzle in the melted butter. Add a little sea salt and black pepper. You’re done!

Double-boiler: Fill a medium pot with a few inches of water. Set on medium-high heat. Place a bowl over the top of the pot, making sure its large enough that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the boiling water underneath. Place egg yolks and lemon juice in the bowl. Begin whisking until combined. Slowly dribble melted butter in, whisking continuously. Add a little sea salt and black pepper. Finito.

Stove-top: NOTE: Don’t pre-melt your butter! Simply cut the butter into little pads. Set a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Moving quickly, whisk the eggs and lemon juice together in the pan. Slowly add a pad or two of butter at a time, whisking continuously and removing the pan from the heat if you feel a curdle coming on. Add a little sea salt and black pepper. Again, you’re all finished!

If however, you’re not done, and your hollandaise broke and isn’t a gloriously, smooth sauce – beat an additional egg yolk in a separate bowl and slowly whisk into the broken sauce, bit by bit. That should do the trick.

This spin on Christmas dinner is pleasing to the eye and palate – and gloriously festive.

Holiday Beef Wellington

Complimented by porcini mushrooms and a prosciutto wrap underneath melt-in-your-mouth pastry, this beef wellington is what dreams are made of.

A twist on a classic. This crowd-pleasing beef wellington is a perfect centrepiece for your next Christmas dinner.


By MIKE EDGAR, Photos by TWISTED TREE PHOTOGRAPHY

BEEF WELLINGTON

Ingredients:
1.5 Kg Beef Fillet
2 Tsp. Vegetable or Sunflower Oil
2 x 50g Pack Dried Porcini Mushrooms
25g butter, plus extra for the sauce
500g (1 lb. 2oz) Shitake Mushrooms, Finely Chopped
Handful Fresh Thyme Leaves
6 Slices Prosciutto
1 x 500g Pack Lighter All-Butter Puff Pastry
Plain Flour, for Dusting
1 Egg, Beaten to Glaze
1/2 Cup of Dijon Mustard

For the Sauce

500ml (½pt) Good-Quality Beef Stock
1 Bottle 750ml Shiraz

METHOD

Season the beef with salt and black pepper. Heat the oil in a large frying pan.

Seasoning the meat.

Sear the meat for 30 seconds on all sides until turning golden. Leave to cool.

Searing the meat.

Meanwhile, soak the porcini mushrooms in 250ml (8fl oz) boiling water until softened. Remove from the liquid, squeeze dry, then chop finely. Reserve the soaking liquid. 

Heat the butter in a large frying pan. Add the mushrooms and the thyme. Cook until golden and the pan is dry (up to 20 minutes). Leave to cool completely. Reserve a quarter of the mushrooms in the pan.

Rub the beef with the Dijon Mustard.

Rub the beef generously with the Dijon Mustard.

Put two large sheets of clingfilm on a work surface, overlapping slightly. Place the prosciutto on top, overlapping the edges to make one ‘sheet’ large enough to wrap the beef. Spread with three quarters of the mushroom mixture, then sit the meat on top and spread with the remaining mushrooms.

The beef on the cingfilm with prosciutto and mushroom mixture.

Roll the prosciutto around the beef, using the clingfilm. Wrap tightly and chill for 10 minutes.

Roll the prosciutto around the beef, using the clingfilm. Wrap everything tightly together in the clingfilm.

Set aside a quarter of the pastry. On a floured surface, roll the rest into a square or rectangle big enough to wrap the fillet: approximately 35cm (14-inch) square. Trim to neaten, then roll the edges of the joining sides a little more thinly.

Remove the clingfilm from the beef and position it in the middle of the pastry. Wrap the pastry up along the length of the beef, overlapping slightly at the join. Brush the edges with beaten egg and seal. Fold up each end like a parcel. Transfer to a lightly greased baking tray, seam side down. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut shapes to decorate.

The beef is placed inside the pastry.

Brush the Wellington all over with egg, press on the decorations and brush again. Chill for 20 minutes (or up to 12 hours if you like).

Brushing the pastry with egg with help it seal and allow the details to stick.

Preheat the oven to gas 8, 230°C, fan 210°C and put a baking sheet in the top third. To make the sauce, pour the wine into the pan with the reserved mushrooms. Bring to the boil and simmer until the wine has reduced to about one tablespoon. Add the stock and the porcini mushroom liquid and boil for 10 minutes until syrupy. Season, then stir in one teaspoon of butter. Set aside. 

Put the Wellington and its tray onto the heated baking sheet in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C, then cook for another 20 minutes for medium-rare meat (15 for rare, 25 for medium). 

Leave to rest for 10 minutes. Warm the sauce through. Serve slices of the Wellington with the sauce and vegetables.

If you’re interested in side dishes to go with this exquisite meal check out our blog here.

Equestrian Halloween

A spooky charcuterie. Because the only thing better than a night of candy, eats, ghosts and goblin fun – is doing it all in the barn! Photo by Twisted Tree Photography

This edition of Western Foodie isn’t so much of a “dish” per se, as it is an event. However, the pièce de résistance charcuterie board prepared by Chef Edgar, does take centre stage! As Halloween is fast approaching, we thought it would be fun to focus on a spooky, equestrian-style party for kids and parents alike. With the ample space that an indoor arena offers and the concept of trick-or-treating through the barn, this party can be as socially-distanced or together as you’d like. Plus, it gives the little ones a chance at Halloween candy within your bubble, if you’re still not comfortable with the idea of going door-to-door.

Trick-or-treating in the barn.

SPOOKY CHARCUTERIE
All parties need a charcuterie board, but one with a Halloween twist might just be a little more exciting than a traditional meat and cheese tray. Featuring foods of specific colour hues (like orange, white, burgundy or olive), this charcuterie board prepared by Chef Edgar is a frightful (but fun!) treat to snack on. Since there are no hard and fast rules to creating these grazing appetizers, charcuterie boards can either be sweet or savoury. However, the key to a truly fascinating one is a spread that presents a range of colours and textures – and it must be served on an interesting platter. Plus, when each of the food items seems to fit within the “haunted” theme, this board will appeal to both children and their parents.

It’s true that Chef Edgar is an artist when it comes to comes to arranging a charcuterie feast, but there’s really no right or wrong way to assemble one. Opting for a large, circular wood plank (which is convenient when it comes to using knives,) Edgar choose seven different types of cheeses for our Halloween platter. The cheese was placed strategically around the wood board first and most of it was kept whole, allowing guests the option to slice it themselves with individual cheese cutters provided to each adult.

Next, some of the signature inedible, decor was positioned into the dish. This included a small white pumpkin, a skull head (complete with soft white cheese and olive eyeballs), a meat cleaver and a unicorn skull figurine.

Then, four different types of meat were stationed on the board. Unlike the cheeses, meat should be pre-sliced. Edgar fashioned some of the thinner, circular meats (like prosciutto or Fennel Salami) into rosettes and spread other types like the cured sausages in heaps throughout.

He finished off the board filling up empty spaces with specialities like raisins on-the-vine, figs, dragonfruit, cape gooseberries, olives, figs, grapes and fresh honey comb. The result was astounding and a haunting display everyone could enjoy!

FRIGHT NIGHT GAMES
A Halloween party isn’t complete without some festive games. Classics like the egg-and-spoon race are always good for a chuckle when everyone is racing in your arena in full-on costume – but here’s a suggestion, don’t use real eggs or you might have a mess in your arena dirt. Opt for the cardboard egg versions instead.

Spider web game created with streamers and jump standards. Photo by Bar XP PHOTO.

We used trick or treat bags for a take on the “potato sac” race, and a Jack-O-Lantern with its mouth cut-out along with some skull head balls served well for a target toss game.

The favourite of the youngsters however, was our “Spider Web.” In this game we used some jump standards, duct tape and paper streamers to create a web. The kids then had to crawl, bounce or maneuver their way through the web without breaking or touching a streamer. It was a total hit! Then we amped up the contests with some fun prizes for the kiddos – did someone say full-size chocolate bars..?

A pumpkin craft table. Photo by Bar XP PHOTO.

BARN TRICK-OR-TREATING
There’s something about the idea of trick-or-treating with horses that is exceptionally special for youngsters. We placed a treat in front of each stall in the barn and had the stall windows open, so the horses could stick their heads out to watch. Then each child was given a candy sac, instructed not to run (so as not to spook the horses) and turned loose. By the end of the barn alleyway, each child had a full trick-or-treat bag and it all happened within our social bubble.

The concept of having the horses hand out treats was a real hit. Photo by Bar XP PHOTO.

Treats like individual candy bags made from surgical gloves, graveyard puddings, hand sanitizer, Halloween headbands, chip bags, reusable pumpkin cups, spooky socks, toothbrushes and a medley of other items were “handed out” by the horses to each child.

Photo by Bar XP PHOTO.

PHOTOBOOTH
Because, is it really a party if no pictures were taken? The dollar store is a great place for items like spider webs or balloons to help you with a spooky backdrop. Add a fog machine for a truly, haunting vibe!

Birria Tacos


Not your average “Taco Tuesday” evening dinner.

By MIKE EDGAR, Photos by TWISTED TREE PHOTOGRAPHY

Birria tacos are becoming all the rage and after one bite, you’ll want them for supper every night too. Birria is traditionally a Mexican dish consisting of a meat stew made from goat meat, and occasionally beef or mutton (but never pork). The stew is slow-cooked and has a savoury, sweet and sour flavour, with a hint of spice.

In Birria tacos, the stew is placed inside a tortilla shell with cheese, dipped in broth and fried up. This isn’t an easy dish to prepare, but once you taste a bite of a Birria taco’s sizzled, cheesy, crispy, goodness – you’ll never want a normal taco again.

BIRRIA STEW INGREDIENTS
 
For the Meat:
1 lb Beef Chuck
1 lb Beef Shank
1 lb Beef Shortrib
2 Tsp. Salt
2 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
2 Tsp. Ground Cumin
 
For the Broth:
4 Dried New Mexico Chilies
4 Dried Ancho Chilies
1 Can Chipotle Pepper in Adobo
2 Tsp. Whole Peppercorns
2 Cloves
10 Whole Star Anise, Dry
4 Bay Leaves
5 Three-Inch Cinnamon Sticks
1 Tsp. Ground Cumin
1 Tsp. Ground Ginger
8 Garlic Cloves
1 Spanish Onion, Sliced
2 Cups Crushed Tomato
1 Litre Beef Stock
2 Oranges Sliced
1 Tbsp. Salt
1 Cup Brown Sugar
 
For the Tacos:
Tortillas of Your Choice
Diced White Onion
Fresh Cilantro
2 Cups Oaxaca Cheese, Shredded 
Fresh Lime
Fresh Jalapeño
Shredded Stew Meat

METHOD FOR THE MEAT
Remove stems and seeds from chilies. In a pot, bring two cups of water to a boil. Add the chilies and simmer until tender (around two minutes). Add chillies and half the water to a blender and puree until smooth, then add the canned chipotle and puree again until smooth. Set aside until its time to build the stew.
 
Cut your meat into manageable pieces and season with salt pepper and cumin. In a heavy dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil until you start to see it smoke. Brown your meat a little at a time, ensuring you get a good sear. Then remove it from the pot.

Using the same pot, sauté the onion and garlic until soft. Add peppercorns, cumin, ginger, bay leaves, clove, star anise, cinnamon sticks and salt. Sauté for another two minutes. Add your beef, crushed tomato, beef broth, oranges, sugar, and chillie puree.

If the meat is not covered by liquid, add an appropriate amount of water to cover. Bring to a boil, cover and place in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for four hours. If after four hours the meat is not tender enough to shred, then put the lid back on and continue to cook until tender.
 
After the meat has reached desired texture, remove from the oven and let the meat cool in the broth. Once cooled, remove the meat from the broth and shred with a fork or by hand. Set aside in a bowl.
 
Strain the broth into a pot, making sure all the spices are removed. Keep the broth in the fridge until needed.
 

The stewed meat is placed inside a tortilla with cheese, dipped into broth and then placed into your cast iron pan for frying.
Once one side is fried to crispy goodness, fold the tortilla and fry the other side.

METHOD FOR THE TACOS
Mix the oaxaca cheese into the shredded stew meat. Remove the broth from the fridge and place half of it into a bowl or shallow plastic container. Warm the other remaining half of the broth on low heat, on the stove.

In a large cast iron pan on medium high heat, warm some vegetable oil. Fill your tortillas with the shredded meat and cheese, then quickly dip into the cold broth (which was set aside in a bowl) and fry in your cast iron pan on each side – until golden brown and until the cheese melts.

Place the now fried Birria tacos on a serving platter. Pour the warm broth into a ramekin or bowl and place next to the tacos for dipping. Garnish with chopped onion, sliced jalapeños, lime wedges, and cilantro. Grab a taco and plunge it into the warm Birria broth and enjoy! 

When you are ready to enjoy your Birria tacos, dip into the warm broth and enjoy!

Fireside Trout

This beautiful trout recipe is so easy to cook and a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors. Photo by Twisted Tree Photography

By Chef Mike Edgar

This Rainbow Trout dish is best enjoyed next to the fire with your favourite people and a setting sun. Fireside Trout Pouches go amazingly well with Fennel Roast Baby Potatoes and Bannock on a Stick. Make these recipes over the campfire on your next trail ride and it’s a trip no one will forget!

Trout Pouches
 
INGREDIENTS:
6 Whole, Deboned Rainbow Trout (Roughly, two pounds each)
1 Package Fresh Cherry Tomatoes
250 Grams Whole Olives
1/2 Pound Sliced Butter
4 Lemons Sliced
Fresh Basil
Fresh Parsley
Salt 
Pepper
6 Large Sheets Tinfoil
18 Slices Sliced Pancetta
2 Bulbs Fresh Fennel
2 Pounds Baby Potatoes
24 Fresh Clams
 
Pancetta Method:
In a cast iron, pan fry the pancetta until crispy. Set aside for garnish.

These roasted fennel baby potatoes are a delicious and hearty side-dish, cooked easily over a grill. Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

Fennel Roast Baby Potatoes Method:
Cut potatoes in half and boil in water for five minutes to soften them up. Remove from water and set aside. Slice your fennel as thin as you can and sauté over medium heat in butter or oil in a cast iron pan. When the fennel starts to caramelize, add the potatoes and another tablespoon of butter or oil, cover and continue to cook. Stir often until potatoes are nicely roasted and fennel is sweet and crunchy – approximately 20 minutes. Wrap in a tinfoil pouch and set aside to reheat.
 
Trout Method:
To begin, cut your sheets of tinfoil to make your pouches. Place lemon slices and fresh torn herbs down first. Season the trout inside and out with salt and pepper, stuff with some herbs and some lemon slices. Place two to three slices of butter over the trout. Add four tomatoes, four olives and four clams.

Fold the tinfoil around everything to make a sealed pouch. Ensure there are no leaks and is everything is sealed, (you can always wrap a second tinfoil sheet around if need be.) Place your pouches either next to the fire as close to the heat as possible, or over the fire on a grill. Depending on the heat of your fire, the trout should take no more than 20 minutes to cook. Flip the pouches every five minutes. Make sure you put your pouch of fennel potatoes on the fire as well to heat up again!
 
Open your pouches. If you feel that your fish needs more time, just wrap it back up and put back on the heat. Discard any clams that have not opened. Top your trout with chopped parsley and basil, the crispy pancetta and a drizzle of olive oil. Place your potatoes around the trout and dig in.

Bannock on a stick is a great recipe to enjoy with kids! Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

Bannock on a Stick
 
INGREDIENTS:
1 Cup Flour
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Powdered Milk
1 Tbsp. Melted Butter
 
Once you have combined all the above ingredients and created your dough, take the dough and role into a long thin shape. Start wrapping the dough around a carefully chosen stick, (an ideal stick is one that would work for cooking hot dogs or marshmallows over a fire.) As you wrap, spiral the dough down down the stick and compress and spread it, so the dough is half-an-inch thick.
 
The inside of the dough needs to cook before the outside over-cooks. Therefore, you need to find the perfect distance from the fire. The best way to do this is to find a spot where you can hold your hand over the fire for 15 to 20 seconds.
 
Once you have found the perfect cooking spot, hold the bannock in place, rotating so all sides cook evenly. This should take 10 minutes. The dough should easily come off the stick when cooked. If it sticks, the dough is not cooked.
 
Serve with warm butter and jam of your choice.

Wojabi
 
Wojabi is an American Indian Berry sauce. You can use any mix of berries you like. For this recipe, w used Saskatoon berries and blueberries.
 
2 1/2 Cups of each Berry
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Honey
 
After washing your fruit, place all ingredients into a pot and mash with a fork or potato masher. Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for an hour stirring occasionally so nothing burns. Let cool and enjoy! 

For some expert trail riding advice, check WHR’s recent article here. Photo by Monique Noble.

Johnny Cakes


These old fashioned pancakes are best served stacked high and with sides of Saskatoon blueberry compote or vanilla whipped cream. Sunday morning breakfast will never be the same again.

By MIKE EDGAR, Photos by TWISTED TREE PHOTOGRAPHY

Ingredients
• 1 Cup Flour
• 1 Cup Cornmeal
• 2 Eggs
• 2 1/2 Tsp. Baking Powder
• 2 Tbsp. Sugar
• 1 Tsp. Salt
• 3/4 Cup Buttermilk
• 1/2 Cup Water
• 1/3 Cup Melted Butter
• 1 Tsp. Vanilla
• 1/2 Tsp. Nutmeg
• Butter or Oil for frying.

METHOD
1. In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients; cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.
2. Mix the wet ingredients.
3. In the center of your dry ingredients, make a well and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until combined and smooth.

4. Heat a lightly oiled cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Scoop about two tablespoons each of the batter onto the skillet.
5. Fry each Johnny Cake until brown and crisp; turn with a spatula, and then brown the other side.
6. Plate and serve immediately with syrup and/or butter.

SASKATOON / BLUEBERRY COMPOTE

Ingredients
1/2 lb. Blueberries
1/2 lb. Saskatoon Berries
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 lemons
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar

Place all ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until it has reduced by half. Let cool and serve.

VANILLA WHIPPED CREAM

Ingredients
1 Cup 35% Cream
2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 Vanilla Bean, Scraped.
1/4 Cup Sugar

Scrape the inside of the vanilla bean with a knife and add to your stand-up mixer bowl with all the other ingredients. Whip until you reach stiff peaks. Serve.