Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chez Piggy: Kingston's Historic Culinary Landmark

Located in the heart of Kingston's historic downtown, the whimsically named Chez Piggy is the culinary offspring of Rose Richardson and Zal Yanovsky. Nearly 20 years ago, the couple renovated an abandoned limestone stable and launched a dining experience that helped make Kingston a destination for food lovers from all over the province. Both Zal, who was the co-founder and lead guitarist for The Lovin’ Spoonful, and Rose are now gone, but the Kingston institution, known locally as 'The Pig' lives on, continuing to attract both newcomers from far and wide, as well as a longstanding, faithful clientele.

Chez Piggy's sun-dappled courtyard on a balmy October afternoon

The last of the season's blooms were still making a show

Local art is on display throughout the restaurant

Vicki Newbury, Head Chef of Chez Piggy, who was born in Newfoundland, has worked at the restaurant since the day it opened in 1979. Committed to bringing locally sourced seasonal produce to Chez Piggy's culinary creations, Chef Newbury shops for much the restaurant's fresh produce at Patchwork Gardens and the nearby Kingston Public Market. She also works with local farmers, getting chicken and turkey from Lyon’s Family Farms and beef strip loins from the Enright Cattle Company. Even the wild smoked salmon Chez Piggy serves is local, coming from near Perth. With a broad and inspired international menu, Chez Piggy offers everything from Vietnamese Spring Rolls, Spanish Gambas al Ajillo and Memphis Pork back Ribs to Mediterranean Shaved Lamb Sandwich with Olive Lemon Salsa & Tzatziki on Fattoush, Classic Steak Frites and their famous Stilton Paté.

Orange Ginger Glazed Sea Scallops with Beet Carpaccio 
& Microgreens on a bed of Boston Lettuce

The Daily Half Sandwich Special: Ham & Cheese Sandwich on Olive Bread 
with Leek & Stilton Soup and Calico Cabbage Salad

Chez Piggy's Shoestring Frites & Mayonnaise

The longstanding success of Chez Piggy brought about the inevitable publication of The Chez Piggy Cookbook in 1998, which is still available for sale at the restaurant or online through Amazon. After Zal and Rose passed away, his daughter Zoe Yanovsky with actress Jackie Burroughs, took over the ownership of both restaurants, and launched The Pan Chancho Cookbook, with recipes from her popular Kingston Bakery, Café. Serving gourmet foods prepared daily to-go, Artisan breads and a popular catering arm, Panchancho is located just around the corner from Chez Piggy. For anyone visiting the Kingston, Ontario area, a trip to Chez Piggy or Panchancho are both 'pigs with a peel.'

Panchancho Cookbook

Chez Piggy Chocolate Raspberry Torte
Serves 8
Recipe courtesy of Chez Piggy Cookbook

1 lb unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups fresh raspberries, reserve 1 cup
2 tbsp framboise liqueur
1 cup hot coffee
12 oz semisweet chocolate, melted
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
6 eggs, room temperature
6 egg yolks, room temperature

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the sugar. Remove from the heat, and add 1 cup raspberries, liqueur, coffee and melted chocolate, and stir until mixture has a smooth consistency.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs and egg yolks until frothy. Then lightly whisk the eggs into the chocolate mixture until it thickens.

Preheat over to 325°F. Line the sides and bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Pour in the batter and place pan on baking sheet, in case there are any leaks. Bake for 1 hour.

The torte will be cooked, but not set in centre, so let cool for 20 minutes before springing the pan and removing the parchment paper from sides. Refrigerate until completely chilled.

Purée the reserved 1 cup of fresh raspberries, and sweeten with sugar to taste. To serve, slice the torte and top with raspberry purée.

Chez Piggy Stilton Paté
Serves 8-10 as an appetizer
Recipe courtesy Chez Piggy Cookbook

1 lb Stilton, at room temperature
10 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp brandy
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Blend the stilton, cream cheese and butter in a food processor until smooth and well combined. Gradually add the brandy and some fresh ground black pepper to taste. Serve the paté with warm crusty baguette or artisanal crackers.

Moroccan Chickpea Salad with Mint
Serves 4-6
Recipe courtesy Panchancho

1 3/4 cup yellow onion, diced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp crushed dried chilies
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 19oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish

In a large cast-iron pan over medium heat, cook the onion in olive oil with sea salt, paprika, dried chilies, cumin and cinnamon, until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Then add the tomato paste, mix well and cook for another 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, stir together the onion mixture, parsley, mint and drained chickpeas. Season to taste and add some more salt if needed. Serve at room temperature with a garnish of chopped cilantro.

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