PHOTO: Rocky Mountaineer; Executive Chefs Jean Pierre Guerin, left, and Frédéric Couton are pictured in the kitchen aboard a Rocky Mountaineer train.
Laura Brehaut/Postmedia News
Originally published on November 26;
From Okanagan Valley wines to wild BC mushrooms and Alberta beef, Executive Chefs Jean Pierre Guerin and Frédéric Couton highlight the best of Western Canadian produce in the dishes they serve guests on the Rocky Mountaineer. “We believe in ingredients more than anything else,” Guerin says. “So we use the freshest possible ingredients that we can get; obviously a lot of seafood, vegetables, and potatoes. It’s also regional; everything has to be inspired by regional cuisine, regional ingredients, local produce, local everything.”
The chefs put together a collection of their favourite recipes, 95 per cent of which are being served on the train, in Eat Play Love: Regionally Inspired Cuisine. The pair designed the book as a memento for guests who want to recreate some of the Rocky Mountaineer dishes in their home kitchens. “It’s first and foremost a book that is aimed towards the people at home who may not have formal cooking training, and are still able to reproduce these recipes that are very simple,” Guerin says. “The key is to source the right ingredients.”
Recipes excerpted from the cookbook Eat Play Love: Regionally Inspired Cuisine by Rocky Mountaineer; recipes created by executive chefs Jean Pierre Guerin and Frédéric Couton.
for sautéed sablefish:
600 g (24 oz) Pacific sablefish fillet
60 ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste
for sautéed mushrooms:
240 g (1 cup) fresh morel mushrooms (brown, oyster or shiitake mushrooms can be substituted)
30 ml (2 tbsp) canola oil
salt, to taste
ground pepper, to taste
for hazelnut vinaigrette:
30 ml (2 tbsp) red wine vinegar
20 g (1½ tbsp) Dijon mustard
salt, to taste
ground pepper, to taste
60 ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
14 ml (1 tbsp) hazelnut oil
14 g (1 tbsp) shallots, chopped
for grilled asparagus:
454 g (2 cups) asparagus
30 ml (2 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
salt, to taste
ground pepper, to taste
1. Sautéed Sablefish: Preheat oven to 190°C / 375°F. Portion sablefish, rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat up an oven-safe frying pan and sear fillets on both sides. Finish in the oven until cooked to medium at the core (approximately 4 minutes).
2. Sautéed Mushrooms: Wash and trim the morel mushrooms. Heat oil in a skillet and add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and cook until soft. Remove from the heat and reserve.
3. Hazelnut Vinaigrette: Whisk together the vinegar and mustard. Add salt and pepper, and gradually add olive oil and hazelnut oil to create a homogenous dressing. Add shallots and reserve until ready to use.
4. Grilled Asparagus: Wash and trim asparagus to about 8 cm / 3 inches from the tip and peel the stalk to about 3 cm / 1 inch from the bottom. Mix with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on grill and grill mark quickly on both sides until cooked and browned. Reserve until ready to use.
5. Plating: Place the sautéed sablefish in the centre of the plate. Drizzle the hazelnut vinaigrette around the fillet and garnish with morel mushrooms and roasted asparagus. Serve immediately.
serves 4
for braised short ribs:
1 bottle Okanagan Valley Merlot
3 pieces pappadum
30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
1 kg (2 lb) short ribs, trimmed
sea salt, to taste
7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) black peppercorns, crushed
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 leek, chopped
10 garlic cloves, crushed
8 large shallots, trimmed and split
6 sprigs Italian parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
30 ml (2 tbsp) tomato paste
2 l (8 cups) beef or chicken stock, unsalted
ground white pepper, to taste
for horseradish mashed potatoes:
1,400 g (3 lbs) yellow flesh potatoes, cut
3 litres (12 cups) salted water
120 ml (½ cup) 33 per cent heavy cream
60 ml (¼ cup) milk
horseradish, to taste
60 g (¼ cup) butter
ground pepper, to taste
sea salt, to taste
1. Braised Short Ribs: Pour the wine into a large saucepan set over medium heat. When the wine is heated, carefully set it aflame. Let the flames die out, then increase the heat so that the wine boils. Allow it to boil until it cooks down by half. Remove from the heat.
2. Centre a rack in the oven and preheat to 175°C / 350 °F. Place the pappadum on the oven rack and bake until bubbles start to appear on the surface and the pappadum starts to brown (approximately 5 minutes). Immediately remove from the oven and set aside.
3. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large casserole dish big enough to hold 6 ribs. Season the ribs all over with salt and crushed pepper. When the oil is hot, slip the ribs into the pot and sear for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until well browned. Transfer the browned ribs to a plate.
4. Remove all but 14 ml / 1 Tbsp of fat from the pot. Chop the carrots, celery and leek into 3 cm / 1 inch pieces. Lower the heat to medium, and toss in the vegetables and herbs. Brown the vegetables lightly for 5 to 7 minutes, then stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute to blend. Deglaze with red wine and add browned ribs and stock to the pot. Bring to a boil. Cover the pot tightly and slide it into the oven to braise for about 2. hours, or until the ribs are tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork. Every 30 minutes or so, lift the lid and skim and discard whatever fat may have bubbled up to the surface.
5. Carefully transfer the meat to a heated serving platter with a lip and keep warm. Boil the pan liquid until it thickens and reduces to approximately 1 litre / 4 cups. Season with salt and pepper and pass through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Discard the solids, and set aside the sauce.
6. Horseradish Mashed Potatoes: Bring 3 litres / 3 quarts of salted water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Add in the washed, peeled and cut potatoes and cook until very soft (35 to 55 minutes) at a medium boil. Drain all water and mash potatoes. Add in the cream and milk. Check seasoning (salt and pepper), and add horseradish to taste. Finish off with fresh butter.
7. Plating: Serve short ribs with horseradish mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Drizzle the sauce over the braised short ribs. Garnish with a crisp pappadum as a finishing touch. Short ribs can be served with or without the bone in.
serves 6
7 g (1 tsp) salt, coarse
90 ml (1/3 cup) apple cider vinegar
4 farm-fresh whole eggs
15 g (1 Tbsp) fresh tarragon, finely chopped
240 g (1 cup) butter
4 egg yolks
2 whole wheat English muffins
240 g (1 cup) Montréal smoked meat, thinly sliced
fresh chives, finely chopped, to taste
1. Poached Eggs: Pour 1 litre / 4 cups of water into a small saucepan. Add salt and 30 ml / 2 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar. Bring water to a boil and gently crack open each whole egg into the simmering water.
2. Cook eggs until the white part has cooked to a soft touch. Delicately remove all eggs from the water using a strainer, and place into a cold water bath to stop the cooking process.
3. Tarragon Hollandaise Sauce: Separate the leaves of the tarragon and chop them finely. Place the remaining 60 ml / ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar in a small saucepan, add the tarragon leaves and reduce at a low heat for approximately 10 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Note: this mixture will be used at a lukewarm temperature.
4. In another saucepan, melt butter over very low heat until the butter has separated. Use only the clear clarified liquid; discard the milky substance at the bottom.
5. Place the egg yolks in a small stainless steel bowl and add the lukewarm vinegar tarragon mixture. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water (bain-marie) and whisk the mixture until eggs have doubled in size and start to thicken. Remove mixture from the bain-marie and gradually add the clarified melted butter. Continue to whisk together. Check the seasoning and use immediately.
6. Plating: Cut each English muffin in half and toast in a toaster. Warm up the poached eggs in simmering water for 1 minute. Warm up the sliced smoked meat in a non-stick frying pan and place a piece on each muffin half. Strain eggs and place on top of the smoked meat, then spoon approximately 60 ml / ¼ cup of the tarragon hollandaise sauce over each egg. Finish with finely chopped chives sprinkled on top. Serve immediately.
serves 4
Rocky Mountaineer’s First Passage to the West departs three times per week, both eastbound and westbound, from the end of April until the beginning of October.
Visit or call 1.800.665.7245 for more information.
– The author was a guest of Rocky Mountaineer, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, and Tourism British Columbia, none of which reviewed or approved this article before publication.
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