Happy Thanksgiving everyone! So much to be thankful for isn’t there. Not the big things you have around you, but the things you can’t put value on – parents, siblings, kids (no matter how old, they will always be our kids) and good friends! Health, so much to be thankful for here, no matter how bad, it could always be worse. I know, sometimes it seems like it couldn’t get worse and it bogs you down, it is okay to feel that way! Just don’t get locked down there, come up for air every once in a while. So I’m thankful for a lot of things mentioned above, and so many more that aren’t listed here, like my country – Canada!

If you are celebrating Thanksgiving at your house this weekend, here’s a great hors d ‘oeuvres recipe for you to try. It doesn’t require many ingredients. Most in fact, you will probably have at home. I like sharing recipes where the only variant is the flavoring. So this was originally a mushroom and spinach gougère. But, when I went to make it, I realized I didn’t have mushrooms or spinach in the house. I know, don’t you just hate when that happens to you!?! So I looked around the fridge and saw a piece of salmon from the previous night’s dinner. That was it! I sautéed some onion in a pan, salted them, and when it was off the fire, added the salmon (which I flaked) and arugula, and mixed lightly with the onion (yes of course there were diced Thai chilies in there, for goodness sakes. Running out of mushrooms I can understand, but chilies – that’s just so uncivilized!) mixture.

I had about 1 cup of salmon/arugula and onion mixture loosely packed. My gougère dough is a basic pate choux recipe but the only difference is stock instead of milk. The end result is a light and airy puff with a spicy hint of salmon, arugula and chili. You can make this with really any filling, just keep the proportions the same and it will turn out. I typically use a piping bag when I make gougeres, it’s how we learned it at school. But I couldn’t be bothered dirtying up my piping bag and tips. I also find that when you have a filling that is chunky, it clogs up the piping tip, so, I used a teaspoon to make mounds and then baked them. Just ensure your mounds are all about the same size as you want them to bake evenly. I should add that in my “What’s for Dinner” classes at the PC Cooking Schools, I am doing the original version with mushroom and spinach. Try this recipe and make lots, they go quite quickly. As always – enjoy! This makes about 24 mini-muffin sized puffs.

½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup vegetable broth
1 tbsp. Dijon or other type of full flavor mustard
¼ cup butter
2 eggs, room temperature
⅛ – ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

For the Filling:
150g cooked salmon
1 cup arugula
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 Thai chilies (or more), finely diced
Olive oil, salt and pepper – 1 ½ cups of salmon filling – flaked, not mashed – really any filling you like!

Preheat oven to 400f, line a baking sheet with parchment paper
In a small heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the oil over medium high flame, add the onion and sauté until soft and wilted, add the chilies and sauté until softened
Remove from the heat and add the arugula, stir; then add the salmon, break up the salmon with a fork – don’t mash it, just flake it
Ensure the salmon is mixed well with the onion mixture – set aside to cool
In a medium-sized saucepan, add the broth, mustard, and butter and bring to a boil over high heat
As soon as it boils, add all the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon – reduce the heat to low
Stir for 2 minutes or until a ball of dough forms – it needs to come clean from the pan, be patient it takes about 20 seconds to come together. You just want to cook the raw flour taste out of the paste – about 1 – 2 minutes
Remove from heat and pour into bowl of stand mixer or you can do this by hand as well (Chef Josh made us do this by hand) – cool slightly
Add the eggs one at a time, stirring/mixing well to incorporate before adding the next egg
Add the flaked salmon mixture and cheese stir gently to incorporate
Using a tablespoon, spoon out balls of dough and place onto the lined baking sheet or into a muffin tin
They won’t spread too much, so about 1” of free space around it will work fine or use the mini muffin tins (lightly sprayed with oil if not non-stick)
Bake for 15 – 17 minutes, or until nicely brown and puffs are firm
Best eaten right away, but if you have to re-heat, 350f for about 5 – 7 minutes
As always – enjoy!
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