Nestled in beautiful Banff, The Bison restaurant is known for its spectacular traditional turkey dinner served on Christmas. Of course, winter in Banff isn’t the best time for growing ingredients, but executive chef Sal Polizzi says it’s still easy to find great local proteins and produce to incorporate into your holiday cooking.

“Alberta has such a beautiful selection of maple syrups and honey,” he says. “One of my favourite winter dishes is chestnut soup with toasted pistachios. We also get a great variety of mushrooms that grow all year round.”

Even for seasoned pros like Polizzi, turkey takes an enormous amount of time and effort. If you’re looking for a main dish that’s just as delicious and takes about half the time (and takes up less room in the fridge), try Polizzi’s recipe for crispy miso chicken.

Crispy Christmas Miso Chicken

Yield: Serves 5


Chicken brine:

1 Tbs ginger, minced

2 Tbs garlic, minced

¼ cup (60 mL) soy sauce

3 Tbs (45 mL) white miso

3 Tbs brown sugar

8 cups (2 L) cold water

One large chicken, cut into 4 to 8 pieces

Oil for frying

Miso dressing:

1 Tbs ginger

1 Tbs garlic

¼ cup (60 mL) rice wine vinegar

5 Tbs (75 mL) sesame oil

1 Tbs red chili peppers, sliced

1 Tbs (15 mL) miso

½ bunch cilantro

1 lime, juiced and zested

To taste salt and pepper


  1. Pat chicken dry. Mix all brine ingredients together and add the chicken pieces, cover or seal. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, and no more than 6 hours.
  2. Set up a steamer on the stove. Drain chicken and discard the brine. Put chicken in the steamer basket. Turn heat to medium, and set lid of the steamer ajar slightly ajar. Steam for 40 minutes, and then remove and place on cooling rack.
  3. Put the chicken in the refrigerator uncovered (preferably still on the cooling rack) for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  4. Before frying, take chicken out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes ahead of time.
  5. Pour enough oil for the chicken to be submerged into a deep skillet. Heat to 350º F (you can also roast chicken in oven). Fry chicken in batches, turning once until the skin is deep brown and crispy, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  6. For miso dressing, blend together all ingredients in a food processor.
  7. Place chicken in large bowl, toss with the miso dressing, and serve hot.

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