Earlier this year The Marconi Multicultural Event Centre in the Sault saw the transformation of the original old hall into Tempo, a totally new concept specializing in Mediterranean fare and formatted to be wholly COVID-compliant at this time.
Spearheading the kitchen are two young chefs, Dan Gauthier and Brennan Cummings, and they are dedicated to serving delicious food beautifully presented. What follows is a dinner consisting of three of their dishes – Tomato Chutney with Seared Haloumi, Chicken Ballotine, and Profiteroles with Red Velvet Cream Filling and Chocolate Glaze.
You will notice that most of the work, aside from applying heat and assembling, can be done ahead of time. That said, we can recognize that, while it is all manageable, it could be more work than one might be comfortable undertaking, considering that there is labour in making the chutney and the pastry for the profiteroles. Still, it can be done if we put our minds to it, and the results would be delicious. Or…we could skip the work and just head to Tempo for dinner!
Basically, however, it gives us some insight into the kind of work that can go on behind the scenes in a fine restaurant such as Tempo.
Tomato and Peach Chutney
- 3 litres tomato juice
- 6 peaches, peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsp. grated ginger
- 1 tsp. coriander seeds, toasted and ground
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 tsp. ground mustard
- 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup Cider Vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
Combine all the ingredients in a stock-pot and gently cook over medium heat until thickened and chutney-like in consistency. It could take one or two hours, roughly. When done, it can be placed in sterile jars and refrigerated for up to a month. Alternatively, you could put some in plastic containers and then freeze, or you could follow the procedures for sterilizing mason jars and lids and then preserve the chutney that way.
Halloumi, which originated in Cyprus, is a semi-hard, un-ripened and brined cheese made traditionally from goat’s and/or sheep’s milk. Tangy and salty with a high melting point, it is perfect for grilling or frying.
For this recipe, Tempo cuts the halloumi into 2-inch (5 centimetre) squares and then sears it on medium heat just until golden, then flips it and repeats.
Place a few dollops of chutney on a plate, place the cheese on top of the chutney, and then drizzle with a balsamic reduction – you can find this at grocery stores – and serve. (If you wish, you could garnish with green onion.)
Originally, this recipe involved deboning a whole chicken. Often, however, as in this example, the process begins with a boneless chicken breast, which is butterflied, covered with what will ultimately be a stuffing, and then rolled tight.
In the Tempo version, the stuffing, reflecting the Mediterranean nature of the restaurant, consists of salami, provolone cheese, and Arborio rice, with prosciutto wrapped around the breast.
- 10 chicken breasts, filleted open, but still intact
- 2 cups Arborio Rice
- 1 red onion, diced small
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 5 cups of chicken stock – adding some bouillon paste or a cube will enhance the flavour: it is all about taste.
- 20 to 30 pieces of thinly sliced prosciutto
- 20 pieces of thinly sliced salami
- 20 pieces of sliced provolone
Begin by making the Arborio risotto.
In a pan, sauté the garlic and onion with butter over low heat, just until soft – don’t brown it.
Add the Arborio rice and toast it in the butter.
Slowly add the stock, roughly a cup at a time, stirring frequently as it incorporates. When the stock is absorbed and the rice is still a bit firm (“al dente!”), spread it on a baking sheet and cool. As part of the filling, the rice will cook further while the chicken breast is roasting.
Preparing the Breast
Having sliced the breast so that it opens like a book, we will be stuffing it, and then rolling it up in the prosciutto.
Lay down two to three slices of Prosciutto seasoning lightly with pepper, and then place the butterflied breast on top, open side up.
Cover the chicken with two slices of salami, and then two slices of provolone. On top of that, spread out 1/4 cup of the cooled risotto. Then roll up the breast, wrapping it in the prosciutto. Then, unless you are cooking it immediately, wrap it tightly in cling wrap, which will help keep the form.
The Chicken Ballotine can be prepared to this stage ahead of time and then frozen or kept refrigerated briefly until ready to cook. If frozen, remove a day ahead to thaw before cooking. At Tempo, this is done in a 400° - 450°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Check with an instant-read thermometer for doneness. You might want to turn it during the baking to sear the prosciutto as you go. Check with an instant-read thermometer for doneness after10 minutes, and monitor so that it’s cooked to perfection, not too well done.
I am thinking that if you wanted to prepare fewer breasts, it is easy to cut down on most of the ingredients. I would cook the risotto as suggested, though –what’s left can always be used later as a side dish.
Red Velvet Profiteroles with Dark Chocolate Glaze
Chefs Dan and Brennan think this is a great dessert to go with this dinner. As you can tell, this menu involves a fair bit of “prep work” and that goes for the dessert as well; however, this too can be done ahead of time, and everything can be “finished” when needed.
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 cup of flour
- 4 eggs
Over low heat, melt the butter in the water, and slowly incorporate the flour, stirring and kneading until the dough comes away for the sides of the pot.
Using either a stand mixer or hand mixer with a paddle on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, allowing the dough to mix thoroughly before adding each additional egg.
Spoon the dough into little balls on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 22 minutes.
Red Velvet Cream
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
- 1/4 cup icing sugar
- 1tbsp. cocoa powder
- 1/ 2 tsp. red food colouring
Whip the cream until stiff, and then add the icing sugar and cocoa.
Mix in the food colouring.
Dark Chocolate Glaze
- 3 oz. dark chocolate
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 tbsp. butter.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a hot water bath.
Bring the cream, honey and butter just to a boil. Remove the cream from heat and pour over the chocolate to combine.
To assemble: cut each profiterole in half, the top from the bottom. Fill with cream, replace the top, cover with the chocolate glaze, and serve.
At the end of the day, there is a lot of work going into this dinner; whether or not we want to take it on is a good question. It will undoubtedly be delicious: so, we can be brave and prepare this, either all or in part… or, as I suggested at the beginning, we can just head to Tempo at the Marconi Multi-cultural Event Centre and let Dan and Brennan cook it for us. We are winners either way!
I can imagine starting this dinner with a good Prosecco. The excellent Rotari Brut Prosecco Rosé, $19.95, in Vintages would be a very good match with the Chutney and Haloumi. What sets this apart from most proseccos is that it is made in the traditional “Champagne” method, with a secondary fermentation in the bottle, giving it as toasty character to accompany fine flavours of nectarine, citrus, and wisp of cranberry tartness.
With this Chicken Ballotine, consider serving a lively Italian red that is not too heavy. Coming on October 31 to Vintages is the Vigneti del Salento I Muri Primitivo 2016, $!3.95. Vintages tells us “this wine delivers notes of dark fruit, plum, spice and earth. A vibrant core of acidity keeps this feeling fresh.”
Scoring it 90, Natalie MacLean describes the Remo Farina Valpolicella Ripasso 2018, $18.95 as “a vibrant, medium-bodied Ripasso with bright dark cherry, pepper, clove and licorice flavours on the palate. A crowd-pleaser and excellent value under $20.
A Mediterranean Journey
On Tuesday, Nov. 10, Tempo is featuring a wine and food tasting that will take us from Portugal to Turkey with stops in Spain, France and Italy. The dishes will be expertly prepared by Chefs Dan and Brennan, and we are selecting wines to accompany that should hit the spot. For further information, call the Marconi Multicultural Event Centre at 705 -942-5556 for further information or to book your table.