Honey dill

An amazing Winnipeg accident!

Britt was astounded yesterday to find out that, outside of our city, the world has not embraced Honey Dill Sauce. They eat things with their chicken fingers like honey mustard sauce or BBQ sauce. Like savages.

Before I moved to Winnipeg it was one of the very first things recommended to me, “You HAVE to have the chicken fingers at Mitzi’s with honey dill sauce.” It’s a toss up between honey dill sauce and imperial cookies for what is the most “Winnipeg” food.

I had no idea until I got here though that the reputation of honey dill sauce was deliciously well deserved and that the story behind it was even cooler.

Mitzi’s, owned by Shirley Eng and her late husband Peter, is where it all started. The two were out for dinner about 30 years ago and they were served a dipping sauce they’d never had before.

They didn’t ask the ingredients but Peter went back to his kitchen and tried to duplicate it from memory. He never did get it but Shirley liked one of the attempts so much they started serving it with their chicken fingers.

“It was a mistake; he was trying to make a different sauce and he ended up making our honey dill (sauce) instead,” Shirley said in the Free Press. “All the time we get out-of-towners asking, ‘What is it?’ I tell them it’s an acquired taste, kind of like our weather.”

Now, the Mitzi’s recipe is a closely kept secret but Toronto writer David Sax tried to do what Peter attempted 30 years ago – recreate a dipping sauce from taste and memory. Here is Sax’s recipe from a 2011 Saveur magazine article “All Grown Up: Chicken Fingers for Adults.”

Honey-Dill Dipping Sauce

1½ cups mayonnaise
¼ cup honey
2 tbsp. roughly chopped dill
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. dry mustard powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In medium bowl, whisk together mayo, honey, dill, lemon juice and mustard powder. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir until smooth. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.

That’s it!! Don’t get me wrong, it won’t be as delicious as Mitzi’s but there’s a special comfort in stuffing your face at home, isn’t there?