For many of us lucky revellers, the holidays are a time of over indulgence, when we gather with loved ones to feast and imbibe a little more than we might at other times of the year. Of course, all that excessive alcohol consumption can come with a nasty side-effect: The hangover.
There are plenty of ways to combat the morning after blahs, but for many of us the first step (well, maybe the second after that vital first cup of coffee) is to refuel with food. Is there a more ideal dish or kind of food to eat to quell a raging hangover? It often comes down to preference, but for many of us, the cravings land squarely in the realm of fat, sweet, salty, spicy, and comforting.
If you’re planning on enjoying a few drinks over the holidays, besides ensuring you are doing so responsibly and are leaving the driving to someone sober, there are a few things you can do when it comes to food that might make the cold light of morning a little less harsh. We talked to Canadian chef Andrea Buckett, who works with the PC Insiders Collection, to get some tips and recipes to take a bite out of the hangover hurt.
“I think that what happens is that people’s bodies are looking for high caloric intake,” explains Buckett of the psychology behind post-drinking eating. “There’s very little science behind what makes up great hangover eating–the body has expended so much the night before, so when the body is getting back to normal it does require a high amount of nutrients.”
Here are seven tips for hangover eating (and three recipes) to help you get through the holidays:
1. Make sure your hangover foods are on your holiday grocery list
Turkey and cranberries might be a given on your holiday shopping list, but make sure you plan out ahead for eating your favourite foods for the day after any nights of heavy drinking. “Ideally you’d be using fruits and veggies, but chances are you’re in your robe, and not wanting to go through a drive through,” says Buckett, who advocates for making sure you don’t have to leave the house.
2. Take it a step further and make something ahead for the morning
“My ideal thing, if I had the energy, would be to make the Mixed Mushroom Strata–it’s like a savoury bread pudding, mixed mushrooms, a Comté cheese, kale and chard, spinach (recipe below). If you’ve having a New Year’s Eve party, if you’re having people over you can make it the day before, and have it in the fridge and bake it off the next day.” That way, points out Buckett, if you’ve got a bunch of friends hanging out in morning, everyone can grab a spoon and dig in.
3. …And clean your kitchen before you head out for a night of drinking!
You’ve got your “recovery kit,” of foodstuffs, but don’t forget to leave the house clean so you’re not facing a big mess in the morning. “There’s nothing worse than waking up to a messy kitchen,” laughs Buckett, who prefers the guilt-free method of getting right into that tidy kitchen and getting the morning after eats going.
4. Look for foods that will satisfy your cravings and needs
Think high fat, high carb, and big flavours. Poutine is a perfect hangover food, says Buckett. “A Butter Chicken Poutine Kit would be great to have on hand, then you don’t have to leave your house,” she adds. hen again, if you’re more the type who wants to just scoop something right out of a container and plant yourself on the couch, you might want to go for a jar of Speculoos Cookie Butter (and a spoon) or Chocolate Covered Sea Salt Popcorn (and your hands). For those with a sweet tooth and the motivation to do some cooking, something Buckett suggests is a Black Forest Stuffed French Toast (recipe below). (Psst, Buckett says making a Creamy Speculoos Fudge in the microwave is super easy to do, which just uses four ingredients and not a lot of effort, for a tasty result.)
5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Stock up on liquids to help replenish your body. Buckett leans towards anything sparkling, preferably something with a bit of salt and sugar to kick in the hydration.
6. Consider the “hair of the dog” approach
“Some people say having a drink eases your body into the transition,” notes Buckett. For something “breakfasty,” she’s got a recipe (included below) for a Maple Bacon Rye Sour, for what she calls a “savoury cocktail with a twist.” Then again, you can just add a shot of liqueur to your strong cup of coffee, too.
7. Eat well before drinking, too
Lest you think we’ve forgotten about pre-gaming, Buckett is an advocate of getting nutrients in the body before consuming alcohol. Something like a crostini or flatbread is ideal–a dish that offers a bit of protein, fat, and B vitamins, like a flatbread with arugula, prosciutto, and pesto. Or, if you’ve got the flatbread base on hand, you can also go the sweet route and load it up with Speculoos and fruit and enjoy it at room temp before heading out for the night, too.
PC® Mixed Mushroom and Comté Strata
Strata recipes can be assembled hours ahead of time, making them the ultimate make-ahead meal for a crowd or any special occasion. This gooey version features three types of cheese and lots of veggies, and is perfect for dinner or brunch.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Chill time: 1 hour
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Per serving: 430 calories, fat 27 g, sodium 870 mg, carbohydrate 28 g, fibre 2 g, protein 19 g
3 tbsp (45 mL) PC® New World EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise and sliced
1-1/1 tsp (7 mL) salt
1 pkg (200 g) PC® Chef Blend Sliced & Whole Mushrooms, torn or roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup (50 mL) white wine
4 cups (1 L) lightly packed PC® Organics Kale, Chard, Spinach Salad Mix
8 large eggs
2 cups (500 mL) 2% milk
1 cup (250 mL) 35% whipping cream
13 cups (3.25 L) cubed French or Italian bread, cut in 1 –inch (2.5 cm) cubes (about loaf)
1 pkg (150 g) PC® black label Comté Hard Ripened Cheese, shredded
1 cup (250 mL) shredded mozzarella
2/3 cup (150 mL) finely grated PC® Splendido Parmigiano CheeseDIREC
Heat 2 tbsp (25 mL) of the oil in large frying pan over medium-high heat. Stir in leeks and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) of the salt; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until softened. Add mushrooms, garlic, pepper and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) of the salt; cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender.
Stir in wine; cook until evaporated, about 1 minute. Add salad mix; cook for 1 minute or until wilted. Remove from heat; set aside.
Whisk eggs in large bowl; whisk in milk, cream and remaining 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt; set aside.
Brush 13 X 9-inch (3 L) baking dish with remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil. Arrange half of the bread cubes in a single layer; top with a layer of half the leek-mushroom mixture and sprinkle with half of each of the cheeses. Repeat layers with remaining bread cubes, leek-mushroom mixture and cheese. Pour egg mixture evenly over top; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Remove plastic wrap; bake in centre of oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until puffed and browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
TIP: Leeks are often quite sandy when purchased. To clean, slice off the root and top end, which is darker green and tougher. Cut in half lengthwise. Rinse under cold running water, prying apart layers while rinsing to ensure a good clean.
PC® Black Forest Stuffed French Toast
Elevate a classic breakfast dish by using delectable chocolate cherry bread and stuffing it with juicy Montmorency cherry spread. It’s great for entertaining or just a lazy weekend brunch with your family.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Per serving: 580 calories, fat 18 g, sodium 310 mg, carbohydrate 97 g, fibre 4 g, protein 9 g
8 slices PC® The Decadent Chocolate Cherry Loaf
1 cup (250 mL) PC® Black Label Ontario Montmorency Sour Cherry Fruit Spread
1 large egg
1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) 2% milk
2 tbsp (25 mL) PC® Black Label Normandy Style Unsalted Cultured Butter
1/4 cup (50 mL) very cold 35% whipping cream
2 tbsp (25 mL) icing sugar
Place four slices of bread on work surface; divide 3/4 cup (175 mL) of the cherry spread among the four slices, spooning an equal amount onto the centre of each slice. Sandwich with remaining bread slices.
Whisk together egg and granulated sugar in wide shallow bowl until frothy. Whisk in milk until combined.
Melt butter in large frying pan over medium heat. Dip one sandwich in egg mixture, carefully turning to soak; transfer to hot pan. Repeat with remaining sandwiches; discard any remaining egg mixture. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Using metal spatula, carefully turn over and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes or until bread is golden and crisp at edges; transfer to cutting board.
Meanwhile, using electric hand mixer, whip cream with sugar for 2 minutes or until soft peaks form.
Cut French toast in half diagonally; arrange two halves on each of four plates. Spoon 1 tbsp (15 mL) of remaining cherry spread into the centre of each plate; top each with a generous dollop of whipped cream. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings, if desired. Serve immediately.
PC® Maple Bacon Rye Sour
We made the ultimate Canadian cocktail with our new bacon maple syrup and rye whiskey. If there’s a more patriotic cocktail recipe, we don’t know what it is!
Ready in: under 5 minutes
Difficulty Level: Easy
Per serving: 190 calories, fat 0 g, sodium 230 mg, carbohydrate 27 g, fibre 0 g, protein 0.3 g
1/3 cup (75 mL) rye whiskey
1/4 cup (50 mL) PC Smoky Bacon Flavoured Maple Syrup
2 tbsp (25 mL) fresh lemon juice
2 leaves PC Fresh Sage
Fill two rock glasses and a cocktail shaker with ice. Add whiskey, syrup, lemon juice and salt to shaker. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds; strain into glasses. Top with sage leaves.