I love Canada. Its scenery, wildlife, people and its cuisine; it’s hard to define Canadian cuisine, but I always tell friends and family that it tends to comprise of locally produced ingredients, and is very diverse, with elements from the First Nations people, the first European settlers and recently arrived immigrants contributing to the melting pot of modern Canadian cuisine. The cuisine is also very seasonal, with the 'Farm to Table' movement being very evident in nearly all of the restaurants I visited.
This recipe takes inspiration from a recent trip to Arctic Canada in Northern Manitoba, where I walked with the polar bears of Churchill and Hudson Bay, and on returning to the cosy lodge where I was staying, Seal River Heritage Lodge, I was served some of the best food I think I’ve ever eaten whilst travelling around Canada, with this Cranberry-gazed turkey fillet recipe being based on a chicken dish I enjoyed there.
Nearly all of the meals that are cooked in the lodge, from breakfast to evening dinner, come from a series of excellent Canadian cookbooks by authors Helen Webber and Marie Woolsey; the cranberry-glazed chicken dish I mentioned above, is featured in their last cookbook called 'Icebergs and Belugas', which is based on 'the pristine northern wilderness of the Hudson Bay are the setting and inspiration for this collection of delicious recipes'.
As well as the cranberry-glazed chicken dish, I noticed there was an excellent recipe for wild rice poultry stuffing, which I adapted to accompany my recipe. The two recipes make use of two of Canada’s most prolific ingredients – cranberries and wild rice, which isn’t actually rice but a type of grass. As well as these two ingredients, Canada is also famous for its seafood and maple syrup, both of which I highlighted in my two previous recipes for Blueberry soufflé with maple drizzle and Atlantic surf and turf with ice wine sauce.
I have created this latest Canadian-inspired recipe with Christmas and the festive season in mind, and with the idea that not everyone wants a big whole turkey – so this recipe suggests a whole turkey breast fillet, but you could also use a small whole chicken or chicken pieces if you wish.
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