Recipes From Christmas In November – Part 2 The Olsons

Savouries From Anna and Michael Olson For The Holidays and Beyond

Part of the fun at Christmas in November, the annual festival at Jasper Park Lodge, is learning a few new takes on recipes, and sometimes new recipes altogether. Anna and Michael Olson’s main stage performance this year involved Bacon Okonomijaki ( a Japanese pancake), Pork-a-Leekie Pie and Pork Sausage Square. These two are super entertaining and their recipe work. Make sure you source your pork locally with BC and Alberta Pork!

 Bacon Okonomiyaki

Bacon Okonomiyaki

Makes 24 bite-size pieces Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 12-15 minutes

Okonomiyaki is an inexpensive snack served in beer joints across Japan. It’s a cabbage pancake cooked on a griddle with whatever toppings you wish and then brushed with a sweet sauce and mayonnaise. The traditionalists top it with “hanna katsuo” (dried tuna flakes) so go for it if you want the real deal. The basic batter is easily modified with any topping or garnish you have, kind of the like the versatility of making pizza (and by versatility, I mean clean the fridge). The good news is that one of these can be cut up into a couple dozen pieces so it makes appetizers an easy chore.


1 cup/250 ml all-purpose flour
½ tsp/2 ml salt
1 tsp/5 ml granulated sugar
1 tsp/5 ml baking powder
1 cup/250 ml water
2 Tbsp/30 ml beer
2 eggs
2 cups/500 ml grated green cabbage
1 tsp/5 ml canola oil
6 slices cooked bacon, drained on a paper towel

1 Tbsp/15 ml mayonnaise (look for Kewpie brand)
2 Tbsp/30 ml okonomi sauce (in Asian grocery stores, or equal parts soy sauce, ketchup and Worschestershire)
* you can substitute sour cream and salsa for the mayonnaise and okonomi sauce

  1. Combine the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, water, beer, and eggs in a bowl, blend well. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to allow the batter to rest.
  2. Add the grated cabbage to the batter and stir to coat.
  3. Heat the oil in a 10-inch (25 cm) nonstick pan over medium heat and pour in the batter. Cook 4 to 6 minutes until the bottom starts to brown a little and the pancake begins to rise and firm up at the edges. Shake the pan occasionally to loosen the pancake. Crumble the cooked bacon over the top of the cooking pancake.
  4. To flip it, slide the pancake from the pan onto a dinner plate and then carefully invert the hot pan over the plate and flip it back letting the pancake fall onto it, lifting up the plateso that the other side can now cook another 4-6 minutes or until golden and firm.
  5. Using the plate, turn over again to make sure the bacon is cooked.
  6. Squeeze or brush the top side with mayonnaise then drizzle the okonomi sauce over in a criss-cross pattern. Cut the pancake into 24 squares and eat while hot.

pork a leekie pie

Pork-a-Leekie Pie

Makes 1 9-inch (23 cm) pie Serves 12

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 35 minutes

This meat pie is great for a crowd and even better served chilled as a lunch the next day when no one is looking. Mustard, pickles or chutney on the side, thanks very much!

1 pork hock (about 1 ½ lbs/750 g)
2 large leeks
1 recipe double-crust pie dough, divided into 2 discs (1/3 and 2/3 of dough) and chilled (recipe follows)
1 lb/454 g ground pork
1 tsp/5 g salt
1 tsp/3 g ground black pepper
¼ tsp/1 g ground cloves
¼ tsp/1 g ground cardamom
2 large eggs
1 cup/250 mL ham stock (reserved from cooking ham hock)
1 cup/250 mL dry breadcrumbs
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
1 egg plus 2 Tbsp (30 mL) of water, for brushing

  1. Place the ham hock in a saucepot and cover with water. Bring it to a simmer and cook for an hour, uncovered over medium heat. Remove the hock to cool and reserve the liquid.
  2. Wash and trim the leeks, then cut the white part into 3 cm slices. Poach these in the ham hock stock uncovered over medium heat for 20 minutes, until they are tender. Remove the leeks with a slotted spoon to drain and set aside the stock.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger disc of pie dough  into a circle about ¼-inch (6 mm) thick and line the bottom and sides of an ungreased 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan so that the dough hangs over the sides a little.  Roll out the smaller disc to a circle that is about 10-inches (25 cm) across and ¼-inch (6 mm) thick, and cut out several holes to vent steam as the pie is cooking. Place this on a parchment-lined baking tray and chill this and the pastry-lined pan for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the meat from the ham hock bone, trim away any skin or tough stuff and discard, and then dice the meat into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Blend together the ground pork, salt, pepper, cloves, cardamom, cooked leeks, diced ham, eggs, ham stock, and bread crumbs. Press half of the ground meat mixture into thepastry-lined springform pan and make 6 slight indentations in a circle using the back of a tablespoon or ice cream scoop to hold the eggs. Place the hard cooked eggs into these spaces and then pack in the remainder of the meat mixture to cover the eggs.
  6. Place the top layer of pastry directly over the meat, and pinch the edges to seal, trimming off the excess dough. Make a mark by scoring the pastry where one of the eggs is in order to be able to slice through for each of the portions, revealing the egg once sliced.
  7. Brush the top of the pie with the eggwash and chill in the refrigerator 20 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C).
  9. Place the pie on a parchment-lined baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 °F (180 °C) and bake about an hour, until an internal temperature of 150 °F (66 °C). Let the pie cool on a rackt for at least 15 minutes before slicing into 12 wedges, or allow to cool completely and then chill overnight to serve cold.

Pie Dough
Makes enough for a 2-crust pie

2 ½ cups/375g all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp/12 g sugar
1 tsp/5 g salt
3 Tbsp /45 ml vegetable oil
1 cup/225 g cool unsalted butter, cut into pieces (does not have to be ice cold)
¼ cup/60 ml cool water
2 tsp/10 ml white vinegar or lemon juice

  1. Combine the flour, sugar and salt together.  Add the oil and blend in using a pastry cutter, electric beaters or a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until the flour looks evenly crumbly in texture.
  2. Add the butter and cut in until rough and crumbly but small pieces of butter are still visible.  Stir the water and vinegar (or lemon juice, if using) together and add all at once to the flour mixture, mixing just until the dough comes together.  Shape the dough into 2 disks, wrap and chill until firm, at least an hour.

The dough can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored chilled, or can be frozen for up to 3 months, thawing in the fridge before rolling.

Sausage Dressing Squares


Squares aren’t reserved only for the sweets.  These savoury squares, cut easy into bite-sized pieces, perfect for passing around your holiday get-together. Plus making them involves weaving bacon…anything topped with a bacon weave must be cool!

Makes one 8-inch (20 cm) square pan
36 bite-sized portions

1 Tbsp/15 mL olive  oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 lb/450 g uncooked pork sausages (hot or mild Italian)
1 cup/250 mL dry breadcrumbs
2 large eggs
½ cup/70 g dried cranberries
1/3 cup/50 g coarsely chopped shelled pistachios
¼ cup/60 mL maple syrup
2 Tbsp/30 mLchopped Italian parsley
1 ½ tsp/7 g celery salt
12 strips bacon

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 °F (190 °C). Lightly grease and line an 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with parchment so that it comes up the sides of the pan.
  2. Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat and add the oil, followed by the onions and celery. Sauté the mixture until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the vegetables to cool while preparing the sausage.
  3. Cut open the sausage casings (or you can buy sausage meat, without the casings) and remove the meat to a large mixing bowl.  Add the breadcrumbs, eggs, dried cranberries, maple syrup, parsley and celery salt and mix well to combine – your hands will make fast work of this task, but you can also use a spoon.  Add the cooled onions and celery and mix in well.  Spoon this into the prepared pan, pressing down to level it.  Arrange the bacon slices over the sausage, covering it completely.  Bake this for 30-35 minutes, until the bacon has browned and the meat registers 165 °F (74 °C) on a thermometer.  Cool the pan on a rack to room temperature and then chill for 2 hours (or up to 2 days) before slicing into squares (they slice nicely once chilled)

* This is one of those recipes that reheats brilliantly.  You can make and fully cook the pan of sausage dressing ahead of time, chill it (or it can be frozen for up to 3 months and thawed overnight in the fridge) and then portion it while still cold.  Arrange the squares on a parchment-lined baking tray with the bacon-side down and warm them in a 325 °F (160 °C) oven for about 10 minutes – the bacon will crisp up and they are a delight hot or even at room temperature.

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