A trail of bread crumbs…

By / Food / March 5th, 2016 / 5

It’s less than a month away and the anticipation and excitement is building. Ontario’s annual wine celebration, Cuvée, originally dubbed the ‘Oscars’ and the “who’s who” of the wine industry, all in one room. Fast forward 27 years and you still have THE coolest wine event of the year. Winemakers personally reveal their favourite wine of the vintage, celebrity chefs showcase their signature dishes and a sparkling and Icewine bar cap off the after-party.

And, of course, the wines are cool too. They are fresh, lively and bright. For me, it’s like coming home. Growing up a Niagara winemaker’s daughter I first developed a taste for Ontario and now other cool climate wines. My father was a firm believer in making his wines in a Canadian style, not looking to mimic or copy wines from other regions but instead looking to create wines that best represented what he could best grow in our climate. His natural affinity to coax maximum fruit flavour in his wines with a balanced acidity showcased what Ontario does best in creating clean food-friendly wines.

While grapes grown in warm wine regions ripen quickly, the fruits grown in cooler regions ripen and accumulate their flavour slowly. These wines, from countries like New Zealand, Germany and of course Canada tend to be more complex, making them some of the most food-friendly wines in the world. Intricate flavours and a higher acidity level help to accent the flavours in the food you’re eating. And that’s a ‘win-win’ for me or a ‘wine-win’ for me, as I live right in the heart of wine country, now also a culinary mecca.

Even with so many amazing local food choices, it is perhaps no surprise that I also find myself drawn to what I enjoyed most growing up. My parents and grandmother, all Austrian-born, perfected the art of schnitzel so it is not surprising that last Cuvée Celebration, I was drawn to Chef Timothy Mackiddie’s tantalizing bites of veal that were carefully and lovingly dipped in flour, egg and then bread crumbs. Amazing that such a simple set of ingredients can create such a satisfying culinary experience. And of course – what pairs best with breaded fare? You guessed it …bright, lively food-friendly wines. There is a strong trail of bread crumbs drawing me back to those flavours that my memory craves most. Looking forward to tasting what’s old made new at this year’s Cuvée Celebration and you can join me – tickets are on sale now

Fried Veal Croquette

6 cross cut veal shanks (Osso Buco cut)
1 onion, roughly sliced
1 carrot, cut in half (length wise)
1 celery, cut in half (length wise)
2 large garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a knife
2 cups Le Clos Jordanne Chardonnay
4 cups beef broth
3 bay leaves
2 thyme sprigs
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
6 beaten eggs + ¼ cup of water, whisked together
4 cups panko breadcrumbs

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large casserole pan heat roughly 4 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat.

Season the shanks with salt and pepper, then place in your pan and brown on all sides. This should take 8-10 minutes.  When brown, add in the remaining ingredients. Cover with a lid and place in your oven. Cook until the meat is pulling from the bone, this should take roughly 4 hours. Remove the shanks and shred the meat (as you would pulled pork) into a large bowl, reserve warm.

Strain the braising liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a clean sauce pot. Place the pot over high heat and reduce until 3/4 cup of liquid remains.  Pour the liquid over the shredded shank meat, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper then mix well.  Evenly spoon the mixture onto a 10”x 10” baking sheet and place in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. When the veal shanks are completely firm, cut into 10 2”x 5” bars.

To bread and fry the croquettes,

Heat 12 cups of canola or vegetable oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, set up a “breading station” with three separate bowls. The first bowl will hold the seasoned flour, the second will hold the egg and water mixture and the third will hold the panko. Bread the croquettes by dredging in flour, then egg and finally in panko. Deep fry the croquettes until golden brown and warm in the center, this should take roughly 3-5 minutes.

2015 Cuvée Recipe shared by Chef Timothy Mackiddie – Jackson Triggs, Inniskillin and Le Clos Jordanne


Andrea Kaiser grew up in Niagara, and is no stranger to the Ontario wine industry. You could say she was born into a life of food and wine and now shares this passion for Niagara Flavours through her writing, teaching and work. Well, we will call it work for lack of a better word.

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