Heliskiing Chef Shares His Passion for Snow and Food
By Sean Peltier, Chef, CMH McBride
When I was a young boy growing up in northern British Columbia winter was a harsh reality. It was not uncommon to see the mercury dip below 40 degrees celsius. Unfortunately, the nearest big powder mountain was almost 4 hours away and if we left home at 5:30am we would be able to make it to the hill for first tracks thanks to a conveniently placed time zone change. Several times we would arrive at the hill only to have it shut down due to extreme cold and wind. Most of the people at the hill would get back in their cars and drive home wallowing in sadness for their powder dreams had been thwarted by Ullur the god of snow. On these days we would drive 20 minutes down the road to a truck stop in the middle of the pine pass that made the most amazing home cooked meals for all the weary travelers, jittery from the icy roads and near snow blindness. Our favorite meal's by far were the spaghetti with meat balls and the homemade cheddar and bacon perogies with fried onions. There was nothing fancy about the food, just honest and delicious, huge portions and enough energy packed inside to make us brave any weather. Many times we would stay at the truck stop until noon and then head back up to the hill to see if the chair was open for the afternoon, sometimes it was, sometimes it wasn't. Regardless, perogies have a special place in my heart when it comes to cold winter days, here is a version that I like to do, but of course you can fill them with whatever you like.
Crispy pumpkin and braised pork perigies
Apple and shallot relish
I have many variations of the dough all based on the same idea so an exact recipe is hard to come up with. I like to use mascarpone cheese and flour, mixed in roughly the same amounts by weight.
I have also used sour cream, yogurt, cream cheese and creme fraiche as the base for the dough. The wetter the dairy the more flour you will need. What you are trying to achieve is a dough that you can roll out evenly with a rolling pin. You can roll the dough as thin or as thick as you would like. The common fillings are of mashed potatoes with cheddar cheese or bacon and so on. However, feel free to use whatever you like. Smoked salmon makes a great filling as well and different cheeses and meats. Go crazy.
Making perogies can become a family affair as well seeing as how the stuffing and folding lends it self extremely well to a production line. I usually use a round cutter but a glass or cup would do just as well. Once all your rounds have been cut the dough can be re rolled up to three times before it gets to tough to work with. Then place some of your chosen filling in the center, brush the edges with a little bit of water and fold it over. Give the dough a good pinching all the way around to make sure that there is no place for the filling to leak out. At this point they can be frozen until needed or cooked right away. Placing them in boiling water until the float and then letting them cool until they dry off. Then crisp them up in a pan with some oil and butter. You can boil them both from fresh or from frozen, either way they will be delicious.
If you would like to make your own creme fraiche that is very easy as well. Take a litre of whipping cream (33% or higher) and add 3 tbsp of buttermilk. Mix this up really well and them poor into a glass jar. Cover is with a cloth and allow it to sit out at room temperature for 24 hours. That's it, creme fraiche. Keep it in the fridge for up to a month. This goes great anywhere that sour cream would go and also very well with a lot of fish dishes.
The season is upon us now, I hope to see you all soon.
Chef, CMH McBride
Do you share Sean's passion for hearty food and deep powder? If so, contact CMH Reservations to secure your heliskiing space for this winter. CMH McBride is one of our 2 private lodges, hosting a maximum of 10 skiers with 2 guides and your own Bell 212 helicopter. Managed by long-time CMH guide Kevin Christakos, CMH McBride offers one of our largest ski terrains and personalized service for your private heli-ski group.