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Delicious cuisine served in Rocky Mountaineer's GoldLeaf carriages
30 May, 20196 minute read

Rail recipes: Rocky Mountaineer

Rocky Mountaineer has been taking travellers through the dramatic Canadian Rockies in style for nearly 30 years now. And we’ve been with them every step of the way, even sending a group of lucky Titan travellers on the very first departure of the train.

While the scenery definitely steals the spotlight on these trips (when there’s snow-tipped mountains, glistening lakes and wildlife-rich forests outside, it’s hard to compete), the onboard experience is still pretty special.

One factor that sets Rocky Mountaineer apart from the others is the cuisine. There’s no bland buffet selection or dry sandwiches here – instead, you can expect restaurant-worthy meals plated and served at your seat. To whet your appetite for this iconic journey, the onboard chefs have shared their recipes for two favourite Rocky Mountaineer dishes: roasted sockeye salmon and braised beef short ribs.

Bon appétit!

Lightly Roasted Wild BC Sockeye Salmon

With shaved fennel slaw, warm vegetable salad and drizzled mustard seed vinaigrette

Sockeye salmon served on a white plate beside a glass of red wine. Recipe from Rocky Mountaineer

Serves 4


Sockeye Salmon

900 g sockeye salmon fillets

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

To taste black peppercorn, ground

To taste sea salt, fine

Shaved Fennel Slaw

1 bulb fennel with greens

Juice from one lime

1 tbsp olive oil

To taste pepper, ground

To taste salt, fine

Mustard Seed Vinaigrette

2 tbsp whole-grain old-fashioned mustard

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

60 ml extra virgin olive oil

To taste pepper, ground

To taste sea salt, fine

Warm Vegetable & Roasted Potato Salad

4 yellow flesh potatoes

1 red bell pepper

60 g butternut squash, peeled and cubed

60 ml olive oil

To taste salt

To taste pepper

8-10 sugar-snap peas

60 ml mustard seed vinaigrette


Sockeye Salmon

Preheat oven to 190°C / 375°F. Portion four equal pieces of salmon. Heat up the oil in an oven-safe skillet, season each piece of salmon with salt and pepper and pan fry on both sides until browned (on a high heat). Finish off the cooking process in the oven until cooked medium at the centre (approximately 5 minutes).

Shaved Fennel Slaw

Cut fennel greens from bulb, rough-chop 6 g / 1. tsp and set aside. Using a sharp mandoline or vegetable peeler, shave the fennel bulb very thinly (paper thin). Place shavings in a bowl, add lime juice, salt, pepper, olive oil and chopped fennel greens. Set aside in the refrigerator until needed.

Mustard Seed Vinaigrette

In a bowl, mix together the mustard and vinegar. Whisk in the olive oil gradually until smooth. Check the seasoning (salt and pepper) and set aside.

Warm Vegetable & Roasted Potato Salad

Preheat oven to 190°C / 375°F. Wash, deseed and remove the ribs from the red pepper and cut into 1.5 cm pieces. Wash, peel and cube the butternut squash. Set aside the red pepper and squash. Wash and cut the potatoes (skin on) into 1.5 cm cubes and place in a bowl. Season, drizzle the potatoes with olive oil, and transfer to a roasting pan. Place in a hot oven and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and add in the red peppers and butternut squash. Roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until cooked and browned. Wash and blanch the snap peas separately (dip into boiling water, then quickly remove and dip into ice water). Chop into 3 cm pieces, add in to the rest of the ingredients, toss in the vinaigrette and coat evenly using a stainless steel bowl.

Braised Alberta Beef Short Ribs

Simmered in Okanagan Valley Merlot and served with horseradish mashed potatoes

Braised beef - a recipe from Rocky Mountaineer

Serves 6


Braised Short Ribs

1 bottle Okanagan Valley Merlot

2 tbsp vegetable oil

900 g short ribs, trimmed

To taste sea salt

1½ tsp black peppercorns, crushed

10 garlic cloves

8 shallots, large, trimmed & split

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 leek, chopped

6 sprigs Italian parsley

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

2 tbsp tomato paste

2 litres 8 cups beef or chicken stock, unsalted

To taste white pepper, ground

3 pcs pappadum

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

1.4 kg yellow flesh potatoes, cut

3 litres salted water

120 ml heavy cream

60 ml milk

To taste horseradish

60 g butter

To taste pepper, ground

To taste sea salt


Braised Short Ribs

Pour the wine into a large saucepan set over medium heat. When the wine is heated, carefully set it aflame. Let the flames die out, then increase the heat so that the wine boils. Allow it to boil until it cooks down by half. Remove from the heat.

Centre a rack in the oven and preheat to 175°C / 350°F. Place the pappadum on the oven rack and bake until bubbles start to appear on the surface and the pappadum starts to brown (approximately 5 minutes). Immediately remove from the oven and set aside.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large casserole dish big enough to hold 6 ribs. Season the ribs all over with salt and crushed pepper. When the oil is hot, slip the ribs into the pot and sear for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until well browned. Transfer the browned ribs to a plate.

Remove all but 1 tbsp of fat from the pot. Chop the carrots, celery and leek into 3 cm pieces. Lower the heat to medium, and toss in the vegetables and herbs. Brown the vegetables lightly for 5 to 7 minutes, then stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute to blend. Deglaze with the reduced red wine and add browned ribs and stock to the pot. Bring to a boil. Cover the pot tightly and slide it into the oven to braise for about 2½ hours, or until the ribs are tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork. Every 30 minutes or so, lift the lid and skim and discard whatever fat may have bubbled up to the surface.

Carefully transfer the meat to a heated serving platter with a lip and keep warm. Boil the pan liquid until it thickens and reduces to approximately 1 litre. Season with salt and pepper and pass through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Discard the solids, and set aside the sauce.

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

Bring 3 litres of salted water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Add in the washed, peeled and cut potatoes and cook until very soft (35 to 55 minutes) at a medium boil. Drain all water and mash potatoes. Add in the cream and milk. Check seasoning (salt and pepper), and add horseradish to taste. Finish off with fresh butter.

This is just a taste of the delicious cuisine you can expect on board Rocky Mountaineer, included on a number of our Canadian escorted tours.

Image of blog author Laura Weeden

Although she loves a lie-in at home, Laura is often up and about before dawn on holiday. She’s watched the sun rise over the Grand Canyon, Uluru and Angkor Wat, but her favourite was seeing the first light of the New Year sweeping across the yacht-dotted waters of Sydney Harbour.

Laura | About the author

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