July 4, 2018
The Stampede pancake breakfast is an annual tradition in Calgary. Back in the era of the first Stampedes, free breakfast was an easy lure for crowds, and pancakes were a quick and easy breakfast you could scale.
Pancakes are also the ultimate cowboy food; they're fast, can be made easily at camp, the ingredients are few and when they’re cooked right, they require minimal cleanup. Despite the relative ease of a traditional Stampede breakfast with its staple hotcakes, bacon, sausage and maybe some hash browns, breakfast at this time of year can sometimes get, well, a little repetitive.
If you’re throwing a Stampede breakfast for family and friends, there are some easy ways to shake up the menu while still providing good down-home nourishment.
Shake Up Your Pancakes
Traditional Calgary Stampede pancakes are made with wheat flour, but there are many other variations. Try using buckwheat flour for a more robust, nuttier flavour, use cornmeal and canned corn for corncakes, or try chickpea pancakes for tasty twists on the original. Of course making simple additions to your basic batter, such as mashed banana and walnuts (banana bread pancakes), carrot puree, cinnamon, spices and raisins (carrot cake pancakes), or fruits like blueberries and lemon zest can all take breakfast from basic to, ‘Bravo!’
Break Out of Bacon Boredom
Sausage, ham and bacon are all typical Stampede breakfast meat fare. You can mix things up by asking the butcher for beef bacon, swapping in pea meal bacon, or just giving your average bacon rasher a makeover.
Making flavoured bacon is easy. By laying out your bacon on a cookie sheet, and brushing or sprinkling it with flavours, sauces and spices, you can have bacon that’s elevated above the everyday.
Try Making These Bacon Flavours (or make a tray of each and serve like candy!)
To make flavoured bacon, brush a light coating of sauce on both sides of each piece of bacon, add spices or seasonings then bake until crisp. For rosemary bacon, lay each strip of bacon on a twig of fresh rosemary. The rosemary will dry out and peel right off afterwards, but it infuses the bacon with an amazing aroma that’s unique and savoury.
Whatever you make, whether it’s basic or bold, the point of a Stampede breakfast is community and communing. Get out and enjoy a neighbourhood Stampede breakfast this year, or throw your own.
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