There is no denying winter is here and we crave comfort food. Yup, they pile on the pounds, but they’re also packed with nutrition and make us feel good.

If you were one of the 33,000 winter warriors that attended last weekend’s Alberta Avenue Deep Freeze Festival, you probably chowed down on homemade goodies from the area’s rich francophone and Ukrainian heritage.

St. Albert’s Maureen Wade, festival food co-ordinator, was in charge of cooking 200 tourtières and 30 litres of borscht among other menu items.

Using recipes passed down from generation to generation and tweaked for taste, up to 18 volunteers gathered at the NAIT kitchens cooking for two days straight.

Both the tourtière and borscht received a thumbs up and sold out before the festival finished. For anyone that missed out, Wade graciously provides the tourtière and borscht recipes. Enjoy.


3/4 lbs. of ground pork

1/4 lb. ground beef

4 tbsp. butter

1 diced onion

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. powdered cloves

1 tsp. savory

1 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley

1 tbsp. basil

Salt to taste

1 cooked mashed potato

Pie crust top and bottom

1 egg

cup milk

Melt butter, add onion and sauté about 3 minutes. Add ground beef and pork while stirring on high heat until meat separates. Add cup cold water and simmer for about 90 minutes. Season with peppers, cloves, and simmer on low heat for 1 hour stirring occasionally. Add mashed potato and mix. Add the prepared ingredients to piecrust bottom and cover with top crust. Brush top crust with milk and egg mixture for a glossy look. Cook at 350 F for 40 minutes until crust is golden brown. Serve with brown gravy.

Yield: 6 to 8 people


1 1/2 cup of diced potatoes

2 cups of diced beets

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. vinegar

1 cup sliced carrots

1 cup string beans (1 inch pieces)

1 cup green peas

2 cups shredded cabbage

1 tbsp. chopped dill leaves

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 can [28 oz.] diced tomatoes

1 stalk celery

2 cups beef broth

Salt and pepper to taste

cup onions

1 tbsp. sugar

Cover potatoes and beets with water. Add salt and vinegar. Put on to boil for 15 minutes. Add carrots, beans and peas, add water to cover vegetables boil for 15 minutes more. Add shredded cabbage, parsley, dill leaves, cup onions, tomatoes, celery, salt and pepper, beef broth. Boil 30 more minutes. Melt butter in fry pan, add 1/2 cup of chopped onions cook until onion is tender but not brown, and add 1 1/2 tsp. dill and 1 tbsp. of sugar. Add fried ingredients to soup and let boil 10 minutes

Remove from heat and let soup rest for 30 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream

Yield: 8 to10 people


About Author

Anna Borowiecki

Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.