GUELPH, ON [January 30, 2024] – Ontario farm fields may be dormant for the winter, but Ontario meat and poultry is always in season.
Ontario meat and poultry farms operate ethically, conscious of environmental impacts, animal welfare and food safety. They are a key link in the province’s food supply chain, drive economic activity in their communities and, most importantly, help feed Ontario — and the world — with healthy and delicious food, year round.
There are a lot of tools and utensils you can use when cooking meat or poultry, but by far the most important will be a good and reliable meat thermometer. The best meats are cooked to temperature and not time. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) offers a few hearty meal ideas that are perfect for these winter days. (See links or below for more detail on recipes and the cooking method.)
There are so many options with chicken, it can be hard to pick one. For a twist on a classic, homemade chicken burgers are unbelievably moist and flavourful, and ideal for cooking on a grill or in a cast iron skillet. Check out this recipe — and many more — at chicken.ca. (Remember when cooking chicken to avoid cross-contamination by thoroughly cleaning all surfaces, utensils and wash your hands with soap and water.)
While some die-hards keep the backyard grill going all year long, this is the perfect time of year for a juicy and delicious oven roast. There are several cuts from which to choose — among them prime rib, top sirloin, sirloin tip, inside round, strip loin rib eye — but all have basically the same procedure for that perfect cook. For reference, Beef Farmers of Ontario have a great instructional site at ontbeef.ca for preparing and cooking all different cuts of beef.
A high quality, nutritious and flavourful red meat that, from Ontario, mostly comes from male Holstein dairy cattle. Like beef, it can be cooked a variety of ways — braised, broiled, grilled, fried, roasted, in a stew or on a rotisserie. Clear up some misconceptions about veal, and pick up some delicious recipes along the way, including Grilled Veal Stuffed Cheesy Bread, at ontariovealappeal.ca.
There are so many great cuts of pork, from bacon to ham to roasts to chops. Each is distinct in its own way, with a variety of ways to cook and enjoy. In keeping with indoor alternatives to barbecuing (which is, by the way, a great method for enjoying sausages or slow cooking a butt or shoulder for pulled pork sandwiches), Ontario Pork offers a delicious pan-seared pork steak recipe.
Ontario lamb is tender, mild, lean and local. Available in a variety of cuts, it is easy to prepare with plenty of recipes from which to choose. Lemony yogurt lamb souvlaki is a simple dish that is perfect for a weeknight meal.
The centrepiece of the late-year holiday feasts (namely Thanksgiving and Christmas) is the turkey. But it is a delicious menu centrepiece at any time of the year, and is the perfect meal for big gatherings of family or friends. To keep it easy, Ontario Turkey Farmers offer a “Deliciously Simple Herb Roasted Turkey” for your table.
About the Ontario Federation of Agriculture
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 38,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer. For more information, visit www.ofa.on.ca.
About Home Grown
A public awareness initiative of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Home Grown is a campaign to advocate for the importance of Ontario farms as a source of food, fuel and fibre. Arable farmland is our most important natural resource, but Ontario is losing an average of 319 acres of farmland every day; that is the equivalent of nine family farms paved over every week. It is the objective of Home Grown to raise awareness about the importance of protecting and preserving Ontario farmland, while helping develop a workable plan to guide responsible development in Ontario that will ensure growth to provide housing and support local tax bases in a way that does not encroach on farmland.
For more information, contact:
Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-821-8883 ext. 218
Recipes and Cooking Methods
Start by preheating a grill or frying pan over medium heat. In a bowl, combine a pound of ground chicken with 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup milk, ¼ cup chopped green onions, a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce and a ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Grill or fry patties for about five minutes per side, or until a meat thermometer reaches 165°F. Serve on a bun or pita shell of your choice, with your preferred burger toppings.
Pre-heat the oven to 450°F. Season the roast to your liking (but a simple salt and pepper rub will do the trick) and place in shallow roasting pan with no water and no lid. Insert the oven-proof thermometer into the centre of the roast, avoiding bone and fat. When the oven reaches temperature, place the uncovered roast in the oven and “oven sear” it for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 275°C and cook to desired doneness (145°F for medium rare, 160°F for medium or 170°F for well done). Remove from the oven, cover with foil and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. Slice it against the grain and serve.
Fire up your grill to medium high heat, 450-550 degrees F. Cut three crusty French bread rolls (about 6-7 inches long) in half lengthways and scoop out a cavity in the center of each bread half, making a little trough. Take the bread that was removed from the bun and chop it finely. Set both aside. In a large bowl mix together 1 ½ pounds ground veal, one finely chopped onion, a package of onion soup mix, three cloves minced garlic, ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, 2 tbsp potato starch, 2 tsp frehly ground black pepper and left over breadcrumbs. Mix well to fully incorporate and divide into six equal parts. Brush the cut side of each bun half with tomato sauce, about 1-2 tbsp per bread half. Take a piece of Havarti cheese and place it into the sauced cavity, pressing it firmly into place. Spread one portion of the ground veal mixture evenly over the surface of the cheese/sauced stuffed bread, pressing firmly so that the meat adheres to the bread. Make sure to spread the meat all the way to the edge of the bread, and that you have a uniform thickness to ensure even cooking. Brush the meat side with a little canola oil, place evenly onto a plate or platter. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, this will help the meat stick to the bread. Place the cheesy meat bread loaves meat side down onto the grill and grill for 8-10 minutes, carefully turn over, reduce heat to medium low, 325-350 degrees F, close grill lid and continue to cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the veal mixture is fully cooked (160 degrees F) and the cheese is just starting to ooze. Remove from grill, season to taste with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve with extra warmed tomato sauce for dipping.
Pre-heat the oven to 425°F. As the oven warms, pat two Frenched bone-in pork chops dry and season liberally with steak spice, and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place a cast-iron skillet on the stove over medium-high heat until almost smoking; add a tablespoon of canola oil and move skillet around to coat the bottom. Place pork chops in the bottom and sear for two minutes or until evenly browned. Flip, and place skillet in the oven for five to eight minutes or until the thermometer registers 150°F. Remove from skillet and let stand on a cutting board for five minutes. As the chops rest, return the skillet to medium heat and pour in a 1/3 cup beef or vegetable broth, bring to a boil then add three tablespoons of butter, a tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley and a teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme. Whisk until butter melts and sauce begins to thicken slightly. Remove from heat. Slice each pork chop and drizzle with the sauce to serve.
Lemony Yogurt Lamb Souvlaki
In a bowl, stir together, two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, a tablespoon of white wine vinegar, a cup of yogurt, ¼ cup of lemon juice, two tablespoons dried oregano, one minced garlic clove and ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. In a large freezer bag, combine 1 ½ pounds of cubed Ontario lamb and half of the yogurt mixture and let marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. Cover remaining yogurt mixture and set aside in the fridge. Preheat a lightly oiled barbecue to medium-high heat. Pat the lamb dry and thread onto skewers. Brush with one tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the skewers in a single layer and grill for 10 minutes, turning occasionally. During the last two minutes, toast four Greek-style pitas, if desired. Meanwhile, toss a sliced cucumber, three tablespoons chopped mint, a small, sliced red onion and ½ teaspoon salt in a bowl. To serve, divide pitas between plates. Top with cucumber salad, lamb kebabs and drizzle with remaining yogurt sauce.
Make sure the bird is completely thawed and the giblets have been removed (put them aside to make stock for the gravy!). Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels to help ensure a nice crispy skin, then rub it all over ‑— inside and out — with olive oil. Generously coat with a rub made from two tablespoons salt, 1 ½ tablespoons pepper and one tablespoon each of garlic powder, ground sage and ground thyme. Halve two lemons, quarter two large onions, and peel three large garlic cloves then place them in the cavity with a large bunch of fresh thyme. Place the bird in a roasting pan with a cup each of turkey or vegetable broth and white wine and put in the oven. Roast the turkey for 2 ½ to three hours or until the juices run clear and the thermometer reads 170°F. Let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes begore carving.
For a quick and simple gravy, strain the pan juices and skim off the fat. Heat on low in a saucepan. Mix two tablespoons of cornstarch with some water until dissolved, then add to the gravy and simmer until thickened.