Gourmet at Home: Recipes from Chef Steven Galvin

Wow. When I asked Chef Steven Galvin to create a menu highlighting Nova Scotia’s winter fare, I did not expect this. Embracing the season, Chef Galvin sent me to the farmer’s market for turnip, beets, line-caught haddock, apples, winter pears, and goat’s cheese.


Beet Salad with Honey and Apple Cider Vinegar

Line Caught Haddock and Baked Turnip Cassoulet

and Local Goat Cheese Cake with Nova Scotia Apple Caramel Sauce

This beet salad is no ordinary beet salad – trust me. Only a professional chef would come up with this. The secret, according to Chef Galvin, is the mix of raw and cooked, tender and crunchy, hot and cold. The recipe is not difficult but does require a few steps. It is a perfect dinner party salad. With the amazing array of beets being grown by Nova Scotia farmers, this dish can be bright and vibrant.

To make this recipe at home, begin by cooking a few larger beets – purple or golden – in a pot of water. Once they are cooked, their peels should come off easily. Slice the beets thickly. Glaze. While that is in the oven, grate a few beets – purple, golden and candy cane-striped – into a bowl.

The main course was perfect for a winter’s night – warm, flavourful and filling.

Dessert. Goat’s cheese cake with an apple caramel sauce. Need I say more?

Okay, okay. This dessert was amazing – and oh, so Nova Scotian. (How can you go wrong with Ran-Cher Acres cheese and NS apples.  Unfortunately, we haven’t yet been able to snag the recipe for this one.  (And forgot to write it down during the class.)

Here are the recipes for the beet salad and haddock with turnip cassoulet if you’d like to try these out at home:


Ingredients for 4 people
The Salad:
3 red beets (equal in size)
1 honey crisp apple
Fresh mint to taste
Beet shoots (optional)

The Vinaigrette:
2 tbls apple cider vinegar
8 tbls grape seed oil
1 tsp local honey
1 tsp dijon mustard
1tbls lemon juice

The Glaze:
¼ cup honey
¼ cup apple cider
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt

The Garnish:
Toasted sesame seeds

The Method:
Add 2 of the beets to a pot of acidulated water with sea salt and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until the beets fall off the tip of a knife, this will take about an hour so please don’t keep jabbing the beet with the knife. When cooked, remove from heat and let cool in the water until you can easily handle them. When cool enough, gently peel away the skin with your fingers (it will be wise to wear gloves if you are worried about staining). Slice the beets into 4 nice thick slices and set in a pan with the glaze.

Place the pan in a 300 degree oven for about a ½ hour until the beets with a nice shiny glaze on them.

While the beets are cooking you can make your glaze. Combine all the ingredients in a pot and simmer to reduce slightly, by doing this the glaze will thicken slightly. You can tell when it is ready when the bubbles start becoming large, and holding the bubble longer. Once at the right consistency, remove from the heat and set aside so you can start the beet and apple slaw.
Before cutting the vegetables you will want to make the vinaigrette, to do this you will measure out the vinegar, cider and mustard into a mixing bowl, then measure out the oil and slowly in a steady stream add it to the vinegar mixture while vigourously mixing to emulsify the oil and the vinegar. For the slaw you will take your remaining beat and peel it. I would suggest gloves as raw beet juice stains. You will then slice your beet as fine as you can and then julienne it, meaning to cut into fine strips. If you have a mandolin, a tool that does this for you, consider yourself lucky. If not, this will be a great knife skill practice, once julienned, place in a bowl of cold water to leach out some of the colour. This will make it possible to distinguish the other ingredients otherwise everything will be a dark ruby red. Next you will julienne the apple and add it to the beets, tossing together. Next, chop or tear the mint into small pieces and add to the apple and beet, again toss together. Finally add some vinaigrette, just enough to coat, season, toss again and set aside.

In a frying pan over medium heat, add the sesame seeds and toast to a golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Remove the beets from the oven; they should have a nice shiny glaze to them. Place a slice of the beet on the plate and top with the beet and apple slaw, then sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds. Drizzle with the excess glaze and vinaigrette and ENJOY!


The Parsley Crust:
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 cup parsley

The Fish:
4 fillets of Haddock

The Beans:
500 g white beans
1 onion
1 bay leaf
5 cloves
200 g smoked bacon
1 head of garlic
4 sprigs of thyme

The Cassoulet
Cooked  beans
1 turnip
½ head of cabbage
300 g bacon
500 g chorizo sausage
4 onions
1 cup celery root
4 cloves garlic
6 sprigs fresh thyme

The Method
Soak the beans overnight. After the beans have soaked, strain them and give them a good rinse. Add to a pot with a large amount of water. Half the onion and stick with the cloves, then add to the water and beans along with the bay leaf, garlic, bacon, and thyme. Bring the pot to a boil, lower heat and simmer the beans until tender. When tender remove from the heat and allow them to cool in the water. This keeps the beans from drying out, giving them a nice sheen.

While the beans are cooking cut up all the vegetables into a 1 cm dice. Dice the bacon as well and add to a pot to start rendering the fat. Fry the sausages at the same time, remove and set aside. Omit the bacon and the sausage to make it vegetarian. Add your diced vegetables to the pot and cook for a couple minutes. Stir to coat all the vegetable with the fat and season with a pinch of salt, this releases the juices in the vegetables.

Now that the beans are cooked and cooled, strain them of their cooking liquid. Be sure to reserve the liquid. Add the beans to the vegetables, and toss together along with the sausage that you will slice. Add the reserved liquid to just cover. Bring everything up to heat on the stove then place in the oven and bake for about an hour. Until the veg is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.

To make the bread crust, simply add the panko crumbs with the parsley to a food processor, and process to a bright green.

Trim the fish to equal sizes and coat the top half with the parsley bread crumbs. When the cassoulet is just about finished, remove and place the fish (bread crust up) on top of the cassoulet. Return to the oven and bake until the fish in finished, about 5-8 minutes. Remove and ENJOY!

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