NEWS: Nunavut December 16, 2014 - 3:12 pm

Here’s how to dish out something tasty this Christmas

Nunavummiut share their favourite local and exotic recipes


As Christmas nears, families across Nunavut and Nunavik are planning for holiday celebrations, which inevitably include food.

As we’ve done the past couple of years, Nunatsiaq News offers our readers some recipes to consider including in their holiday menus this year.

The first is a holiday staple of many Christmas meals: the turkey. Iqaluit resident and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. policy analyst Dennis Kuluguqtuq said he experimented with different ingredients until he got it right.

Here, he shares his classic recipe with a fruity twist:

Turkey with apple stuffing

• 1 1/2 cups chopped celery

• 3/4 cup chopped onion

• 3/4 cup butter — cubed

• 9 cup day-old cubed whole wheat bread

• 3 cup finely chopped apples

• 3/4 cup raisins

• 1 1/2 tsp salt

• 1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

• 1/2 tsp rubbed sage

• 1/4 tsp pepper

• 1 turkey (about 15 pounds)

Sauté the celery and onion in butter until tender. Remove from heat. Stir in bread cubes, apples, raisins, salt, thyme, sage, and pepper.

Just before baking, loosely stuff turkey with at least four cups stuffing. Place remaining stuffing in a greased baking dish. Refrigerate until ready to bake.

Bake turkey, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 3 ½ to 4 hours or until meat thermometer reads 180 degrees.

Bake additional stuffing, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 minutes longer until lightly browned.

Cover turkey and let stand for 20 minutes before removing stuffing and carving.

Recipe courtesy of Dennis Kuluguqtuq/NTI.

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When Cambridge Bay lawyer Gloria Song and justice outreach worker Christine Aye aren’t busy working or making music as synth-pop duo Scary Bear Soundtrack, they’ve been known to devote entire evenings to making kimchi.

Kimchi is a popular Korean dish made of pickled cabbage, which used to be made in large batches, put into large urns and buried in order to ferment it over winter.
It’s still better left to ferment for weeks, Song says, but the fridge will do the trick. Kimchi is eaten as a condiment, with rice and different kinds of meat, but Song says you can eat it on almost anything.

“My mother showed me how to make regular kimchi, but we decided to try experimenting with it to make it ‘northern’ style,” Song said. “We used Arctic char jerky bought from Kitikmeot Foods Ltd., which adds a very subtle flavour.”

Arctic Char Kimchi

• 1 115 g package Arctic char jerky

• 10 pounds napa cabbage (Chinese cabbage)

• 1 cup salt

• 3 cups water

• 1/2 cup rice flour (can be substituted with regular flour, as my mother does)

• 1/4 cup sugar

• 1 cup fish sauce

• Up to two cups of hot red pepper flakes (depending on desired spicy level — note, if you do not put any in, it will not have its signature red colour and will not be spicy at all)

• 2 tsb of crushed or finely chopped garlic

• 1 cup minced onions

• 10 chopped green onions

• 2 cup chopped leeks (optional)

• 1/4 cup carrots (optional)

Chop the Napa cabbage into bite size pieces, removing any discoloured leaves. Place the cabbage in a large basin and soak it with water so cabbage is completely submerged. Add one cup of salt to the water and stir it.

Let the cabbage soak for three hours, while stirring every half hour to make sure the cabbage is being salted evenly.

Drain the water from the cabbage. Let the cabbage sit and drain for one hour.

While the cabbage is soaking and draining, you can make the porridge. To make the porridge, mix the water and rice flour in a pot and bring it to a boil while stirring. Once it has been boiling for a few minutes, add the sugar and continuing stirring while it cooks for a few more minutes. Take the pot off the stove and let it cool down naturally (do not place it in the fridge or put it outside.)

Once the porridge is cooled down, prepare the kimchi paste. Combine the porridge with fish sauce, hot red pepper flakes, garlic, onion, and Arctic char in a blender or a food processor, and blend it.  Add green onions, along with chopped leek and carrots if desired. Mix with wooden spoon (do not use your bare hands). Now you have your kimchi paste.

Once the cabbage is drained, mix the kimchi paste with the cabbage in a large basin. It’s important to note that when mixing, make sure you wear plastic gloves or some kind of protective covering. Do not handle the kimchi paste directly with your bare hands, or else your skin will have a burning sensation for hours. Mix thoroughly, massaging the paste into the cabbage.

You will want to keep the kimchi in an air-tight container such as a jar while it ferments. When putting it into the container, pack the kimchi down firmly so that air bubbles can escape and so that the cabbage is completely covered in the kimchi paste. 

Song likes to wait between three weeks to a month before eating the kimchi, but she says some people eat it sooner. Once fermented, the final product will last for months.

Song also suggests this instructional website for those making kimchi for the first time.
* * *

The aqpiq or cloudberry is among the most plentiful of berries that grows on the tundra in both Nunavik and Nunavut, and around the bogs of Newfoundland, where Canadian chef and restauranteur Lynn Crawford found her inspiration to make this chutney.

“When ripe they are a gorgeous golden amber colour and are soft and juicy with a distinctive tart taste,” Crawford writes in her 2012 recipe book Pitchin’ In. “They are mostly made into sweet jams, tarts, and syrups.

“I wanted to capture their unique taste in a savoury chutney, which becomes a perfect condiment for game and meats.”

Cloudberry Chutney

• 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil

• 1 onion, thinly sliced

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• ½ tsp (2 mL) chili flakes

• ¼ cup (60 mL) sherry vinegar

• ¼ cup (60 mL) honey

• 1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard

• 1 cup (250 mL) cloudberries

• 1 tsp (5 mL) chopped thyme

• salt and black pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are golden brown. Stir in the chili flakes, vinegar, honey, and mustard; cook for two minutes.

Reduce heat to medium and add the cloudberries and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cloudberries start to break down and the chutney has the consistency of a thick sauce, another 20 to 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

From Lynn Crawford’s Pitchin’ In: More than 100 Great Recipes from Simple Ingredients by Lynn Crawford. Copyright Lynn Crawford, 2012. Reprinted by permission of Penguin Canada Books Inc.

— compiled by Sarah Rogers