Tag Archives: vegetables

Recipe: Mario’s Big Batch Chili

I make only two recipes in big batches with the intention of freezing most of it – tomato sauce and chili.  They both freeze well, make prepping great dinners on rushed nights a breeze, and other than having to chop a few extra ingredients the overall time it takes to make them is the same.

There are 3,000 variations of chili, and I love every one of them.  My go-to chili however is easy, relatively quick, and I cheat by using a premixed chili mix (Organic of course).   If you want to kick it up a notch, check out our previous posts like this Mexican Chili Braised Short Ribs, Spicy Balsamic Chili, or Bacon Bison Chili.

Ingredients (4 servings + freezer portions for another 2 meals)
2-3lbs of ground meat (all ground beef, or all ground bison, or mix one of them 50/50 with ground pork.  If you use 3lbs of meat, it’ll be a meatier chili… 2lbs is fine)
4 -5 onions, diced (I like to use 1 or 2 spanish onions in the mix, but all yellow/white is fine as well – just use whatever is in your fridge)
6 or so carrots, peeled and sliced
6 or so celery stocks, peeled and diced
6 or so garlic cloves (more is fine, you can never have too much garlic)
1 package of chili seasoning
1 package of lardons (optional – this will give you a bacony smoky flavour)
3 cans of whole tomatoes
2 cans white Cannellini beans
1 can of Kidney beans  (listen, you need beans to make a chili… whether you use the combo of Cannellini and Kidney I’ve said, or Northern beans, or Black beans it really doesn’t matter – use what you have in your pantry.  And of course, you could use dried beans, but then there’s the process of dealing with them.  So for the purposes of this easy recipe, stick with canned beans)
OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS FOR THE TABLE:  Grated cheddar or other cheese, diced up green onions, diced up hot pepper like jalapeno, Fresh crusty bread.

  1. In a large pot on medium heat, cook the carrots, onions and celery (otherwise known as the mirepoix).   Give them time to reduce down – this is where the base flavour of the chili is born, don’t rush it.   When the carrots are soft and can be cut with a wooden spatula, it’s ready.
  2. In a separate frying pan, brown the meat.  You don’t have to do this in a separate pan, but I do it because I can get a good browning of the meat and also reduce the total cooking time to half. Add the chili seasoning.
  3. Add the meat to the large pot.   Depending on how much fat you have, you can choose to remove some.  I usually don’t.
  4. Add the whole tomatoes, but you need to squish them by hand one-by-one.  Keep your fist up/palm down so that the juices squirt down into the pot and not up on to you.  You might ask why I don’t use diced tomatoes… I simply find the resulting chili is better with hand crushed whole tomatoes.   But if you used diced tomatoes, that’ll be fine.  Do not use crushed tomatoes, the chili ends up with the consistency of a tomato sauce rather than a nice chunky chili.   Bring to a simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Stir occasionally, taste and adjust your seasoning.   You can add more chili, kick up the heat with cayenne, or add other spices if you wish.
  6. Add the beans and simmer for another 30 minutes or so.   The longer you simmer, the thicker your chili will be.
  7. Serve with fresh bread, grated cheese,  diced up chili peppers, or whatever else you want.



Recipe: Pork Belly – 2 ways


Everyone loves pork belly.   That’s because everyone loves bacon, and bacon is made from pork belly.   But making bacon at home is not easy; you have to brine & cure the belly, then smoke it.   Pancetta, the Italian version of bacon, is cured but not smoked and still is slightly involved.  Both of those preparations of pork belly overlook the sheer simplicity of roasting.

I can assure you that a simple roasted pork belly will be amongst the most impressive dishes you can make.  This week, we’ve selected two preparations and included instructions and video.   The first is Gordon Ramsay’s roasted pork belly – it’s simple and epic.  The second is a common chinese preparation of pork belly.

Either way, (raw) pork belly costs a fraction of the loin, ham, or even shoulder cuts of pork and is absolutely delicious and extremely easy to make.

Slow-Roasted Pork Belly – by Gordon Ramsay

  1. Score the fat side of the pork belly into diamonds
  2. Rub salt all over the belly
  3. In a roasting pan, cook  down some fresh fennel, garlic, fennel seeds, star anise, and cardomom
  4. Sear the fat side of the pork belly, and rub some fennel seeds into the cracks of the pork skin.
  5. Now with the belly in the roasting pan, fat side up, add white wine, reduce, then add stock up to the level of the skin but not covering it.
  6. Roast the pork belly for 2.5hrs at about 350C.
  7. Remove the belly, skim the fat in the remaining juice, and then bring to a simmer, add mustard, and simmer before moving to a serving jug.
  8. Slice and serve.


Chinese-Style Juicy Braised Pork Belly with Garlic, Chili and Tofu

This recipe is a modified version of the one found here: https://kitchenstories.io/en/recipes/braised-pork-belly

Ingredients (4 servings)
9 g ginger
1 stalk green onion
2 cloves garlic
500 g pork belly
50 g sugar
1 l water
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 chilis (dried)
2 star anise
0.5 cinnamon stick
5 bay leaves
5 g soy sauce
2 tsp shaoxing wine (or a dry sherry  or Japanese Sake)
vegetable oil for frying

  1. Cut ginger into thin slices and green onion into large chunks. Mince garlic. Cut pork into bite-sized cubes.
  2. Fill wok one third of the way full with hot water. Place pork belly in water, bring to a boil, and cook for approx. 5 – 7 min. Strain and set aside.
  3. Add vegetable oil and sugar to wok and cook over medium-low heat for approx. 3 – 5 min. until it begins to lightly caramelize . Carefully add a bit of water to thin out caramel. Remove caramel from wok and set aside .
  4. Heat oil over medium-high heat, return pork to pan, and cook until fat has rendered, approx. 4 – 6 min. Discard excess oil from pan and then add green onion, ginger, garlic, chilis, star anise, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Return caramelized sugar to pan and cook for approx. 1 – 2 min. until all ingredients are evenly coated in sugar. Next, add soy sauce, wine, and water. Reduce heat to low and cook for approx. 1 – 2 hrs. until volume has reduced by half and sauce has thickened. Enjoy with aromatic rice



Recipe: Ratatouille


We received multiple positive comments regarding last week’s White Wine Braised Bison Stew with Figs and Raisins… so this week we are sticking with a stew theme but instead featuring a classic vegetarian stew.

Ratatouille was made famous by the Pixar animated movie by the same name (if you haven’t seen Ratatouille, definitely watch it – it is brilliant for adults and children alike). In that movie, a rat named Remy cooks up a version of Ratatoille called “Confit Byaldi”. Aside: famous Chef Thomas Keller was the food consultant for the movie. The Confit Byaldi is a very pretty version of Ratatouille, but the dish at its heart is a simple to make, peasant stew.

We’ve provided the recipe and a quick video to the simple version… and if you’re feeling courageous and have time on your hands, we’ve also provided a video for the Confit Byaldi version.

Either way, this dish should be in everyone’s repertoire.


Simple Ratatouille:


  • 2 red onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 aubergines
  • 3 courgettes
  • 3 red or yellow peppers
  • 6 ripe tomatoes
  • ½ a bunch of fresh basil
  • olive oil
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 x 400 g tin of quality plum tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ a lemon


  1.  Prep your ingredients before you start – peel and cut the onions into wedges, then peel and finely slice the garlic. Trim the aubergines (eggplants) and courgettes (zucchini), deseed the peppers and chop into 2.5cm chunks. Roughly chop the tomatoes. Pick the basil leaves and set aside, then finely slice the stalks.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large casserole pan or saucepan over a medium heat, add the chopped aubergines, courgettes and peppers (you may need to do this in batches) and fry for around 5 minutes, or until golden and softened, but not cooked through. Spoon the cooked veg into a large bowl.
  3. To the pan, add the onion, garlic, basil stalks and thyme leaves with another drizzle of oil, if needed. Fry for 10 to 15 minutes, or until softened and golden.
  4. Return the cooked veg to the pan and stir in the fresh and tinned tomatoes, the balsamic and a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
  5. Mix well, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Cover the pan and simmer over a low heat for 30 to 35 minutes, or until reduced, sticky and sweet.
  6. Tear in the basil leaves, finely grate in the lemon zest and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Serve with a hunk of bread or steamed rice.

Pixar Style Ratatouille



Real Recipe: Bison (or Beef) Braised in White Wine, Finished with Figs and Raisins

By Mario Fiorucci, Co-Founder of The Healthy Butcher

About this recipe.

This recipe is one of my all time favourites.  Most people automatically assume that beef or bison, being big red meat, must be paired with red wine when stewed; on the contrary, white wine works wonders to bring out the delicate flavour of quality red meat.  The addition of figs and raisins brings sweetness at an equal level to the savoriness of a meat stew.


  • 2-3 lbs beef stew or bison stew or beef blade steaks or bison blade steaks
  • Olive oil and butter
  • 3 carrots
  • 3-4 celery stalks
  • 6 or so garlic cloves
  • 4 cups beef stock (if bison or game stock is available, go with that!)
  • 2-3 cups white wine
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Good handful of dried figs
  • Good handful of raisins (I prefer golden or Sultanas, but any raisins will do)
  • Salt and pepper
  • A large pot, preferably an enameled cast iron French oven about 5-6 litres.


1. Season the blade steaks generously with salt and pepper. Heat the pot and place butter and olive oil inside. Sear the meat on both sides (you’ll have to do this in batches, don’t crowd the meat), then remove from heat and set aside.

2. Add vegetables and garlic and sweat over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen the browned bits (deglazing).

3. Add wine and reduce at least half way.

4. Place meat back in pan, add stock to just barely cover the meat, then bring to a bare simmer (add more wine if you wish as well).  Add thyme and bay leaves, and check the seasoning of the liquid. It should be fully seasoned now so add salt and pepper if it is needed. Cover with a tight fitting lid and continue cooking on stove top or in oven at 300˚F to 325.

5. After about 2 hours, remove the meat and strain the liquid.  Add back the meat, figs and raisins, bring back to a bare simmer.   Depending on the pot you are using and the exact quantity of meat, it will another hour or two before it is finished.  Remove the meat when “fork-tender”.  The meat will get very tough during the cooking process so don’t worry.  If you are using blade steaks instead of stewing meat, they will fall apart so you may find it best to separate nice pieces of meat and serve on top of a bed of mashed potatoes or yams.

6. About 15 minutes before serving, strain some of the braising liquid into a pot or saucier and reduce it until thick; drizzle this sauce over your finished dish.  Enjoy!


Real Recipe: Green Sweetie Smoothie

Original Recipe by Kim D’Eon for KimDeon.com

Green Sweetie 5If you’re not used to drinking your greens, this smoothie is a great entry point. It’s super simple to make and deliciously creamy and sweet. I promise, it’ll turn you into a green-drinking bad ass in no time.

We all know we need to get our greens in. Leafy greens with the darkest, most intense colours contain the highest levels of nutrients. Think of it as getting a lot of bang for your buck or a lot of love from your leaves. It can be difficult to incorporate greens into a busy morning routine, but this is where smoothies save the day! Just throw a heaping handful into your blender and you’re good to go. Continue reading

Real Recipe: Peachy Green Smoothie

Original Recipe by Kim D’Eon for KimDeon.com

Peachy Green Smoothie 8Peaches are one of my favourite fruits to eat in the summer months. Their delicate, sweet and tangy taste make for a refreshingly bright-tasting smoothie. Because they’ve got a milder taste to, say, berries, I’ve paired them with romaine in this Peachy Green smoothie because this leafy green won’t overpower the subtle flavours going on here.

Peaches can be almost as finicky as avocados when it comes to ripening and then decaying soon after. So, it’s best to get fresh peaches and eat them within a few days of purchase. (Tip: make sure to choose peaches with taut, fuzzy skin that give in slightly when pressed. To ripen peaches, place them in a paper bag or near a windowsill with plenty of sunshine.) Alternately, you can use frozen peaches.

The tropical vibes come from the addition of coconut and mango. When buying your coconut flakes/shreds make sure to look for organic, unsweetened. Coconut is a great source of good fats (yes, we need saturated fats in our diet!). Along with the EFAs in the hemp and chia, the healthy fats in coconut provides nourishment for your skin, nervous system and brain as well as tasting delish!

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Real Recipe: Hearty Beef Stew

Original article published by Katherine Mossop for KatherineMossop.com

Beef_Stew_IGAbout this recipe.

There is nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of beef stew on a cold wintry day. Stews are hearty, versatile and satisfying. Their meat and vegetable combos can vary, as can the thickness of its soup-like broth. Low and slow cooking renders tougher cuts of meat into mouth watering deliciousness. Ah yes, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

The versatility in its nutrition is incredibly varied, from its array of vitamins and minerals from the meat and veg, to its collagen-rich gelatin content depending on whether you use a stock or bone broth as the base. Stews can be whatever you imagine just by changing up your ingredients and spices. Much like soups, they can be good for what ails you.

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