Friday, July 15, 2011

Les mets d'chez nous! (2ième partie)

Bonjour encore!

My deepest apologies for straying from this topic for so long. So many new experiences and adventures in the culinary arts have distracted me from this cultural examination.

Mais là, ciboire, on va ben examiner d'la bouffe québecoise!

1 - Cipâte (Meat pot pie)

Imagine a massive pot pie with all kinds of meat and veggie goodness! Cipâte is one of the other French Canadian treats my mother would make when I was a kid, albeit occasionally. Like tourtière, it comes in as many variations as there are families. And in Quebec, that's a LOT!



1 ½ lbs chicken meat, cubed
½ lb sliced mushrooms
4 cups chicken stock (Mom uses her own, but for simplicity's sake, use store bought. Your local butcher probably has really good stuff for fairly cheap)
2 lbs boned pork shoulder
2 cups diced potatoes
2 lbs boneless stewing veal
2 tsp salt
1 lb boneless stewing beef
½ tsp pepper
2 cups chopped onion
½ tsp savory
1 ½ cups diced celery
1 recipe for double pie crust (see previous post)
1 cup thinly sliced carrots


- Remove fat from pork, dice finely and fry, until crisp, in fry pan coated with 1 tsp butter. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
- Cut pork, veal and beef in ¾ inch cubes and mix with chicken in bowl.
- Mix vegetables and seasonings in a large bowl.
- Scatter fried pork fat over bottom of large heavy casserole [18 cup] or Dutch oven. Fill dish with alternate layers of meat mixture and vegetable and seasoning mixture.
- Prepare pastry. Roll out to fit top of casserole. Seal pastry to edges of dish and cut several steam vents on top of pastry.
- Refrigerate dish overnight to blend flavors.
- Next day, pour in enough chicken stock through steam vents to fill pie.
- Cover dish and bake at 300 degrees until meat is tender, 4 ½ to 5 ½ hours.
- After 2 hours cooking, if pie seems dry, add a little more stock.
- Uncover dish for the last 30 mins to brown pastry.
- Remove from oven and cool for 15 mins.
- Serve with a home-made [or store bought] relish or chili sauce.

2 - Fèvres au lard (Baked Beans, literal translation: Beans au Fat)

Baked beans have never been a favourite of mine. In fact, I couldn't bring myself to eat them until the past couple of years and even then under very specific circumstances - those circumstances essentially being "when served with a metric frakton of maple syrup". But in the past couple of years, I've had samplings from various high-end restos and a sugar shack that made me change my opinion somewhat. The key is not to over or undercook the beans, because it's not the flavour that makes baked beans unpalatable, it's the texture. If they're underdone, they're this chalky mouth-torture that is the edible equivalent of a soap-beat. When they're overdone, it's more like oral waterboarding. Of course, all this can be solved (like most culinary problems) with a cup or so of maple syrup. Conversely, you can cook them well!

So, once again taking my Mother's culinary expertise in hand, here is another taste of quebecois cooking:



- 1 lb navy beans, dried
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 5 cups water
- ¼ cup molasses
- 2 tsp dry mustard
- 2 tbs sweet pickle juice or 2 tbsp vinegar
- ¼ tsp pepper mixed with specks of ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 3 quartered onions
- ¼ lb piece of salt pork
- freshly ground pepper


- Pick over beans for dirt, etc. and wash. Place beans in a large pot, pour in 3 cups of water, cover pot and let beans soak for 8 hours or overnight.
- Add 2 more cups of water and rest of ingredients except salt pork and ground pepper.
- Bring to a boil over med-high heat. Reduce heat to simmer, and boil, covered, for 1 hour or until skins of beans begin to wrinkle.
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
- Cut salt pork at ½ inch intervals almost all the way through. Place the salt pork in a 2 quart bean pot or casserole dish. Cover with the hot beans and their liquid. Generously sprinkle with fresh pepper.
- Bake for 6 to 8 hours, covered, until tender.
- When beans are 2/3s baked, add about ¾ cup water, or enough to just cover.
- Uncover for last ½ hour of baking.

Makes 4-6 servings.

According to my mother, this isn't "authentic" but awfully tasty. However, I did some research and so-called authentic recipes are fairly similar. I did notice a lack of tomato in a lot of recipes, some in others. So, if you like a more tomato-ey flavour, add a teaspoon or so of tomato paste or a tablespoon of ketchup.

Et voilà mes amis! D'autre bouffe s'en vien plus tard.

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