Thursday, August 20, 2009

East Coast Delicacy

Donairs are a variation of the Turkish doner kebab. They are said to have originated in Halifax, Nova Scotia in the 1970's. King Of Donair claims to be the originator. Wherever it originated from, I am thankful. The spiced meat is formed into large loaves and put on a spit. It turns as it cooks and is shaved off to serve. They are usually so large, so stuffed full of meat, they are a two handed eating expedition.
They are popular all over Eastern Canada, and you can find them in many other parts too. They can be served in a rolled pita, on flat pita, in a sub or burger or on a pizza. In the east, the generally accepted toppings are diced fresh tomatoes and onions. In the west, they try to turn it into a salad. Personally, I am just a meat and sauce kind of girl. The sauce is sweet and tangy white sauce, also good for dipping those garlic fingers in. I lived on Recardo's donairs and garlic fingers in high school. I stopped in there on my trip home and indulged till I thought I would explode. Same folks still work there that worked there in my high school years.
When I first moved to small town Alberta, I asked where I might be able to get a donair and garlic fingers (another popular item in East Coast pizza joints). The cowboys and girls looked at me like I had bull horns growing from my head. Oh, they didn't know what they were missing!
You can find good ones in the city, not so much otherwise. The best donair I have ever had in Alberta is in Red Deer at Cleopatra's. They grill them on a panini press for crisp the pita. So good!
I usually make my own at home. I got this recipe from my Uncle Mark. I don't have a spit, so I form it into a loaf and bake.

I make my own sweet sauce too. Most recipes I have seen call for evaporated milk. I find this is too runny, regardless of how long I beat it for. I use a sweetened condensed milk in mine. Thank goodness for the stand mixer because it has to be mixed for quite some time.

When the loaf is cooked, I slice into thin slices. I run my pita bread quickly under the tap to moisten, and put in hot frying pan. Brown on both sides and top with some sweet sauce. Add the meat and drizzle more sweet sauce. Top with veggies if you like and enjoy.

Still can't get the large pita in small town Alberta, so I just eat mine flat like a pizza.


Donair Meat

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (or to taste)

Mix thoroughly in large mixing bowl. I knead mine for at least 5 minutes. Form into a flattened loaf and place on cooling rack onto a foil lined baking sheet. This will allow the grease to run off. Bake for 45 minutes on 350 degrees or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. It should be cooked through.

For leftover meat, I fry them in the frying pan. I like the meat crispy.

Donair Sauce

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can sugar
  • 1/2 can vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Empty can of milk into a mixing or stand mixer bowl. Fill milk can with sugar and add to bowl. Fill milk can half full of vinegar and add to bowl. Add garlic powder. Mix for at least 10 minutes. If it is not mixed enough, sauce will be gritty from the sugar. Must be refrigerated at least overnight before serving. It will thicken after refrigerating.

1 comment:

  1. This is great! A bunch of us were talking about this the other night. I sent my friend the link to your blog so she can get your recipe!