Recipe: Fairmont JPL’s Bacon, Lentil and Tomato Bisque

The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge‘s Executive Chef Christopher Chafe and his culinary team served an incredible number of meals to three waves of guests at this year’s Christmas in November. As part of the 30th anniversary menu, chef Chafe shared a Bacon, Lentil and Tomato Bisque that warmed my soul, and my belly.

The tasty twist in this BLT soup is the popped lentils, which give the smoky bacon soup a wonderful crunch. * You’ll need to pop the lentils overnight before making this savoury soup, but it’s worth it!

What you’ll need…

Popped lentils
¼ cup green lentils
¾ cup vegetable stock or water
¼ cup canola oil

Bacon lardons
20 strips thick cut bacon

Tomato Bisque
1 thyme spring
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp fennel seeds
½ tsp peppercorns
2 onion; chopped
1 fresh red peppers; chopped
1 celery stalk; chopped
4 cloves garlic; minced
4-500mL can of tomatoes
2 L (8 Cups) vegetable stock or water
½ bunch basil; thinly sliced
200 mL whipping cream
to taste kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper and sour cream


Popped lentils
One day prior to making the soup, Cook over low heat for 40 to 45 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain.

Set on an oiled baking sheet one layer thick, in a preheated oven at the lowest temperature setting (160 F) overnight.

The next day, heat a frying pan with ¼ cup of canola oil until oil is about to smoke.

Fry the dehydrated lentils in the shallow frying pan in the hot canola oil until crispy. Drain and reserve.

Bacon lardons
Lay out bacon on a sheet tray one slice at a time and ensure that they do not touch each other.

Bake in preheated oven, 14 minutes or until done, in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F. Drain fat and reserve aside to cool.

Chop bacon into coarse bacon bits.

Tomato Bisque
Strain the canned tomatoes, reserving the juice.

Lightly coat the tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Roast the tomatoes at 450˚F for 30 minutes and set aside.

Make a spice bag (sachet). Use a piece of cheesecloth and place the thyme sprig, bay leaves, fennel seeds and peppercorns. You can tie the sachet with a piece of string to keep it together.

In a large pot, sauté the onion, garlic and celery in 2tbsp olive oil over medium heat until the onions are translucent.

Add the roasted tomatoes and juice. Add your sachet, a pinch of salt and reduce for 10 min bringing remaining moisture from the tomatoes. Add the stock and simmer for another half hour.

Remove the sachet; add in half the basil and purée the soup in your blender until the smooth.

Using a fine sieve strain the soup back into your pot. Add the whipping cream and bring to a simmer. Set aside and keep warm.

To assemble, add half a teaspoon of crispy lentils and half a teaspoon of bacon bits to the bottom of the bowl, ladle in a serving of the soup, and spoon in a dollop of sour cream you may add some fresh ground pepper and basil as additional garnish. Enjoy!

Recipe: Chef Michael Olson’s Pumpernickel Stuffed Pork Chops with Pear Gingerbread Sauce

Chef Michael Olson shared this recipe for Pumpernickel Stuffed Pork Chops with Pear Gingerbread Sauce at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge’s 2018 Christmas in November; the golden brown chops are filled with a dark ruby jewel of a pumpernickel stuffing and the gravy is rich with splendid pear and ginger snap aromas. It smells like Christmas and this recipe is sure to impress.  The efforts are well worth the result.

Serves 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes

What you’ll need…

1 medium onion, sliced
1⁄2 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
(500 mL) 2 cups roughly diced day-old pumpernickel bread
(125 mL) 1⁄2 cup fresh or frozen, thawed cranberries
(250 mL) 1⁄2 cup dry white wine, divided
(5 mL) 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
(5 mL) 1 tsp grainy mustard
(2 mL) 1⁄2 tsp salt, plus extra for seasoning
(1 mL) 1⁄4 tsp ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
(250g) 4 x 8 oz bone-in center cut loin chops
(15 mL) 1 Tbsp butter
(15 mL) 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Bartlett pear, unpeeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges
(250 mL) 1 cup Alberta Chicken stock
(125 mL) 1⁄2 cup gingersnap crumbs


For the stuffing, pulse 1⁄4 of the sliced onion (about 1⁄2 cup/125 mL) with the celery in a food processor.

Add the pumpernickel and cranberries and pulse until everything is quite finely chopped.

Transfer this to a bowl and stir in 1⁄4 cup of the white wine along with the thyme, mustard, and 1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) of salt & 1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) of pepper.

Really stir this well to break it down and soften it, almost to a paste consistency. Spoon this into a large disposable piping bag (no tip needed).

To prepare the chops, use a paring knife and insert the tip into the base of the chop, close to the bottom of the rib bone.

Wiggle the knife from one side of the chop to the other, in an arc, to create a pocket for the stuffing – try not to cut through the chop.

Insert the tip of the piping bag into the small gap where the knife went in and push as much stuffing as you can (the chop will swell).

Repeat this with the remaining chops until all of the stuffing has been used. Chill until ready to cook.

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat and add the butter and oil.

Once the butter foams and then subsides, drop in the chops, seasoning lightly on each side when in the pan, and flipping over once browned, about 4 minutes.

Remove the chops from the pan and reduce the heat to medium.

Add the remaining 3⁄4 of the sliced onion and the pear and toss to coat in the butter.

Arrange the chops on top of the onion-pear mixture and place in the oven, uncovered, to roast for about 30 minutes, until an internal temperature of 150F is reached.

Remove the pan from the oven to the stove and remove the chops from the pan to a cutting board to rest.

Have the pan on medium heat (take care – the handles will be hot) and add the remaining 1⁄4 cup of white wine, stirring with a wooden spoon until the liquid reaches a simmer, gently pulling any onion or pear stuck to the bottom.

Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle in the gingersnap crumbs and stir until the sauce thickens and becomes glossy – this only takes a minute.

Season to taste and serve the chops over the sauce. Enjoy!

Recap: Swine & Dine at Salz

Oktoberfest, the world’s largest beer festival held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, was the inspiration for the latest Swine & Dine at Salz Bratwurst Co. in Edmonton.

While executive chef and Salz partner Allan Suddaby confessed the menu was more Austrian than German, guests at last week’s two-seating Swine & Dine at the bratwurst and beer hall weren’t picky about the geography specifics for the European inspired Alberta-pork packed menu.

The three-course menu for $40 was a sold-out, two-seating event; the optional $10 craft beer pairing from Salz partner Mike Forgie may have had something to do with it.

Chef Suddaby started each of the seatings with Brettljause – which translates to board snacks. Suddaby, who has spent time in Austria, was inspired to share a sampling of food commonly served at Austrian taverns known as Heurigen.
Each board included a cut of house-cured pork shoulder called Schopf, their house pepperoni stick, and my personal favourite of the evening – a minced ham spread called Schmalzfleisch. Chef Suddaby explained that the spread is made with ends of cured meat, which are ground and mixed with pork fat, mustard, and black pepper.
The assortment of meats was complimented with rye bread from Boulangerie Bonjour, Josef cheese made by Winding Road Artisan Cheese, as well as house made gherkins, fresh radishes, dill, and mustard.
Mike pairing the first course with the 4:30pm Stout by Bent Stick Brewing out of Edmonton. He assured everyone that this session stout is the perfect brew to start a meal with and explained that the underlying acidity would help balance the saltiness of the cured pork cuts on our board.
Our main dish was Salz’s version of Sacherwurst, or Sacher Sausage. The menu description of a ‘ridiculously long sausage’ was not an understatement. Chef Suddaby explained how Sacherwurst, a ridiculously long sausage invented at the Hotel Sacher in Vienna, is traditionally served in pairs.
As is customary, our dish was served alongside traditional condiments of mustard and fresh horseradish. Our duo of sausages were served with a beet salad dressed with Styrian pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil. Chef Suddaby shared that the oil, a beautiful forest green with the aroma of roasted nuts, is a very special product from the Austrian province of Styria.
The second beer pairing, a wheat beer with a gentle hop characteristic, was a new taste to many in the room. Mike paired the ridiculously long sausages with a glass of light tasting citrus tasting White Hat Wit by Red Bison Brewery out of Calgary.
For dessert, chef Suddaby shared a simple plum tart. His Obstkuchen, fruit tart, featured a sweet pastry made with leaf lard, cream cheese, a black plum compote, and bacon.
The final pairing of the evening was the Force Majeure IPA by Calgary’s Annex Ale Project. The cloudy and bright IPA is packed with floral, citrus and spearmint. Mike saved this brew for last as it pairs wonderfully with dessert, leaving the palate feeling minty fresh.
Whether Mike and Allan do this Swine & Dine menu again (for those who couldn’t snap up a ticket fast enough), or another S & D menu- I am sure it won’t be their last. Salz is the perfect place to Swine & Dine. A huge thanks to Allan, Mike, and the entire team at Salz for sharing their passion for Alberta Pork and craft Alberta beer with us.
Alberta pork made brats and Alberta craft beers are always on the menu at Salz, so pop in for a bite at this great addition to Edmonton’s Oliver neighbourhood.
Salz Bratwurst Co.
10556 115 St., Edmonton, AB

MEUWLY’S – Home to a new breed of Alberta Pork Artisans

In July, MEUWLY’S, an Edmonton artisan food market selling house-made charcuterie, sausages, and preserves, opened up in the lower level of 10706 124 street.

While the space to the brick and mortar location was under construction, the crew behind MEUWLY’S – Will Kotowicz, Peter Keith and Glendon Tan – introduced their products and built a loyal following of fans through their Secret Meat Club monthly subscription.

I was lucky to get in on the club on more than one occasion – and like those who tasted their product in those boxes, or in local restaurants around Edmonton, I was eager for their doors to open for daily business. (At a MEUWLY’S event hosted at NAIT I probably ate my weight in pate and ham – I couldn’t wait to buy more of their products).


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by (Secret Meat Club) (@secretmeatclub) on

The trio have been preparing for the doors to open for some time – slowly ageing high-quality cuts of Alberta pork for more than a year. When I popped in earlier in September, the guys had just sliced into a country ham that had been ageing for 16 months. The Bear and The Flower Farm ham was a huge hit; the same is to be expected for the Prosciutto that has been hanging for over a year, and are being rationed for special events.

Will, Peter and Glendon were eager to create an opportunity for urban dwellers to access fresh, local goods. For their pork products, that means always working with fresh, local Alberta Pork. In addition to The Bear and The Flower Farm, MEUWLY’S also sources pasture pork from Spragg’s Meat Shop in southern Alberta, as well as Berkshire pig farmers – Irvings Farm Fresh.

A lunch menu featuring a number of sandwiches – like the mortadella, capocollo, and salami topped sandwich – is helping to introduce customers to ingredients and products that are made and sold in house. Among the assortment of cold-cut deli meats, terrines and pates, along with pickled vegetables, chorizo popcorn and house-made condiments, MEUWLY’s a one-stop shop for the ultimate charcuterie board.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Meuwly’s (@meuwlys) on

Peter told me they are presently bringing in 5-10 pigs per week, putting 1-2 legs away for slow ageing and curing. In addition to walk-in customers, they produce charcuterie for a growing list of Edmonton eateries including District Cafe, Three Boars, Woodwork, and Clementine.

Pop in for a sandwich or a take-away assortment of their artisanal meats -the quality is a Alberta pork-packed flavour that is unique to the MEUWLY’s brand.

10706 124 Street NW
Edmonton, AB T6M 0H1
+1 (587) 786-3560
Monday10:00 — 6:30
Thursday10:00 — 6:30
Friday10:00 — 6:30
Saturday10:00 — 6:30
Sunday10:00 — 5:00
(Closed statutory holidays)