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A recipe that’s been kept under wraps for years is finally shared
The picturesque island of Newfoundland is home to — arguably — some of the best comfort foods the culinary world has produced.
My childhood holidays abroad in the mainland instilled in me a guilty love of fast-food-chain tacos as a pet comfort food. I now sit in my Ontario loft study, craving a plate of Nan’s Jiggs’ Dinner with a chunk of salt meat the size of my fist, all slathered in bottled moose gravy with lassy duff for dessert — much to my anguish.
When you’re a true food lover, comfort foods come and go. During my days as a mining camp cook in Labrador, the hard work and endless nights left me seeking comforting soul food. I found that in the form of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies and a pint of cold milk. When I was growing up in Newfoundland my comfort food was Nan’s moose soup, and she made sure to make enough to last days at a time. When my father got sick with cancer and we started cohabitating in Dover, my need for comfort foods, understandably, came back with a vengeance and Dad provided the bane for that well enough in the form of his famous goulash. Now, when I say this goulash is famous, what I really mean is that the recipe is so good that I’ve added it to menus in restaurants.
It’s so good that every single time I serve it at potlucks or for company, people have gotten visibly upset after I refused to give out our family recipe.
Truly, only Dad knows how to make it that perfect way and I’ve only ever been able to do a similar homage dish based on watching him cook, that barely manages to hold a candle to it. But recently, my father did divulge this recipe to me, and I followed it to the letter for supper last week.
It was delicious beyond words and exactly like Dad used to make for our Friday suppers. I’ve thought about keeping the recipe secret or perhaps passing it on to my own son some day along with the countless others I’ve accumulated over the years. However, to truly immortalize something this special, perhaps sharing it with all of you would be the best thing possible. Without further ado, Food Dudians — I give you:
- Yields six portions.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 medium-sized onion
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 large can of tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup Heinz ketchup
- 1 large can of diced tomatoes
- 2 cups dry elbow macaroni
- 1 cups beef broth
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add oil to a large skillet and set at medium heat. Add the onion and cook for five minutes or until translucent.
- Add garlic and cook an additional minute while stirring.
- Add ground beef and cook while stirring continuously until fully browned.
- Stir in tomato paste and Dijon mustard. Pour in beef broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and ketchup.
- Blend with a wooden spoon and remove from heat.
- Add ample water to a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Stir in a small amount of olive oil and add the macaroni.
- Let the macaroni simmer until halfway cooked, about five minutes, and drain. Return the skillet to heat and add your drained macaroni.
- Season with listed spices and let simmer for 15 minutes after simmering starts or until the macaroni is tender.
- Add shredded cheese, blend slightly until melted and remove from heat. Season to your liking and serve.
Gretchen S. – Sackville, Nova Scotia
Dear Food Dude,
Your last article mentioned a citrus crust but there was no actual crust recipe to speak of and that sounds really good. Could you please try to get the full recipe with a dash of citrus in the crust? I’d greatly appreciate it.
RELATED: Leona's Texas-style pecan pie
I really tried, I promise. At the time of the interview my correspondent glazed over that part in our conversation and it was left a bit dangling, I agree. She instead said the filling went well with any crust and left it at that. The cool part is that she did give me this tidbit of information: to make a normal pie crust with that citrus hint, simply add one tbsp of orange zest to the flour along with a teaspoon of lemon juice once you start kneading it into dough. I hope that helps! I plan on trying it myself.
Gus P. – St. John’s, NL
Write a cookbook!
Dear Food Dude,
Wassup B’y! I reads everything you puts out whenever I sees it coming online and I’ve tried out a few of yours at home with great results! Your way with words makes the recipes a lot easier to follow than the ones I’m used to as a cook and so I was wondering if you were planning to publish a cookbook anytime soon? You’d be a bestseller! Contact me anytime you’re back on the rock for a free meal!
P.S. How come you don’t end your columns with Happy _____ anymore?
Dude ... thank you! I’m glad you’re digging my column and I hope to have tons more material very soon to really lift some eyebrows and tingle some taste buds. I’ve got a few old tomes here that I would love to turn into a cookbook one day, even one day soon if I met the right publishing contact or a sure-thing offer.
As for the Happy _____ thing, I dunno. It just phased itself out. That’s the way these things go sometimes. Here’s another one though for old times sake.
Happy Comfort Fooding!
Terry Bursey, otherwise known as the Food Dude, is a Newfoundland chef transplanted to Ontario who enjoys putting his mark on traditional recipes and inventing new tasty treats with unexpected ingredients.
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