Ten Canadian Provinces of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Eight – Quebec – Tourtière

Welcome to Week Eight of the Ten Canadian Provinces of New Recipe Tuesday! This week we explore the province of Quebec, the second largest province after Ontario. Quebec is the only province to have a predominantly French speaking population. The majority of people live in its two largest cities, Montreal and Quebec City.

Here are some interesting facts about Quebec. Montreal is named for Mount Royal, the triple-peaked hill in the center of the city. Quebec almost voted for independence in 1995. The referendum failed by less than one percentage point. Montreal used to be the largest city in Canada, but was surpassed by Toronto in the 1970s. Montreal is home to Cirque de Soleil. The Algonquin word ‘Kebec’ means “where the river narrows”. And founded in 1786, the Molson Coors Canada Brewery in Montreal is the oldest brewery in North America and is still located at its original site.

When I went looking for a recipe, I actually took the advice of my friend Richard, who is a Québécois. He told me that I should make a Tourtière, so I figured it was worth investigating. What I discovered is that this pork pie is a very traditional dish that is served on Christmas Eve after midnight mass. Since it can be prepared ahead and eaten warm or cold, it was easy to put out after everyone returns from services.

tourtiere-whole
Quebec Tourtiere

Like many regional recipes, there are as many variations as there are cooks! I decided to go with a version that was fairly straight forward but still used a hearty combination of spices. Some recipes use celery and onion, but I opted for one that used onion and potato. I think you could probably use all three ingredients and no one would say you did it wrong.

Overall, everyone seemed to enjoy it, but the consensus was it needed something. I think it is a texture thing, as the whole dish is very soft and (dare I say) one note. Some recipes I saw mentioned a green tomato relish, although I never found a recipe for it, but I can see how the acidity of a tomato or something similar would brighten the dish.

I am going to give this one an A-. The family ate it up and said it was a decent dish. I think I need to go find that relish recipe to make it even better next time.

Thanks for stopping by. See you next time in Saskatchewan!

<strong> Tourtière</strong>

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 large potato (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice; about 2 cups diced potato
  • 2 pounds ground pork, or a combination of ground pork and ground beef; or meatloaf mixture
  • 1 medium-to-large onion (about 8 ounces), diced; about 1 1/2 cups diced onion
  • 1 to 2 large cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1 package refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box (or make your own pie crust, using a recipe for a double crust)
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten

Directions

  1. Put the salt, water, and potato in a medium saucepan, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.  Boil until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the potatoes, saving the water. Mash about half the potatoes, leaving the other half in chunks. Set all aside.
  2. In a large skillet, brown the meat, draining off any excess fat when finished.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, spices, salt, and reserved potato water to the meat, stirring to combine.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then lower the heat to simmer. Stirring occasionally, continue simmering the mixture for 35 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated and the onions are tender.
  5. Add the mashed potatoes to the meat mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined. Gently stir in the diced potatoes. Remove the bay leaf. Set the mixture aside and allow it to cool.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  7. Line a 9-inch pie dish with pastry. When the meat mixture has cooled to lukewarm, spoon the filling into the crust, gently patting it flat.
  8. Brush the edge of the pastry with water. Place the top pastry on the pie and press gently to seal the edge. Trim the pastry, crimp the edges and cut steam vents in the top crust.
  9. Bake the pie for 45 minutes, until it is golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and set it on a trivet or rack.
  10. Allow the pie to cool for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

tourtiere-slice
A slice of Quebec Tourtiere

Ten Canadian Provinces of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Seven – Prince Edward Island – Cottage Pie

Welcome to Week Seven of the Ten Canadian Provinces of New Recipe Tuesday! This week we explore the province of Prince Edward Island, the smallest of all the provinces. Located on the far East coast of Canada, its area is only 136 miles long and 6 to 36 miles wide. Up until 1995, the only way to get to PEI was by ferry. The opening of the Confederation Bridge now connects the island to New Brunswick. The toll is a whopping $45.00.

For my book loving folks, you may already know that Prince Edward Island was the home of author Lucy Maud Montgomery, who wrote about the province in her 1908 book Anne of Green Gables. The house that inspired the book is located in Cavendish, and today is a national historic site open to visitors.

A good portion of the island is rural and its rich soil makes it the perfect place to grow potatoes. It is by far their largest cash crop, with over 89,000 acres planted annually. It is also famously known for its fresh seafood, especially lobster.

When I went looking for a recipe, there were plenty of seafood soups and stews, but since no one in the house loves fish, I decided to focus on potato instead. What I discovered was a dish that has its roots in Ireland (another potato growing island). The dish is called Cottage Pie, and is essentially Shepherd’s Pie made with ground beef. I learned that for the dish to be a Shepherd’s Pie, it need to be made with lamb (makes sense).

pei-cottage-pie
Prince Edward Island Cottage Pie

I liked the many seasonings that were in this filling, and also the use of a tomato base. It is very different from the Irish versions I have had before and I really liked it. My son tasted it and said ‘no thanks’ and headed to the freezer for a frozen pizza. Oh well. He isn’t a vegetable fan and mashed potatoes aren’t his thing either. I can’t believe he is part Irish and doesn’t like potatoes! Where did I go wrong?

I give this one an A-, mostly because it has what I would consider to be too many ingredients and I am the only one eating it. Not a whole house winner. Looks like I will be eating this for lunch for the next few days. If you are looking for something a little different on a cold winter night, give this one a try. Don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list. You probably have most of it in your pantry already. And you just might like it as much as I did.

Thanks for stopping by. See you next time in Quebec!

Cottage Pie

Ingredients

For the Potato Topping:

  • 3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered (about 2 lbs)
  • 4 Garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 tbsp soft butter
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • ¼ cup grated cheese of choice (I used cheddar)
  • 1 egg yolk

For the Filling:

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ large red pepper, chopped
  • ½ c. each frozen corn and frozen peas (or 1 cup mixed vegetables)
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ c beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ tsp Tabasco
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A pinch of each – ginger, cinnamon and coriander

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease an 8”x8” baking dish and set aside.
  2. Place the potatoes and garlic in a pot of lightly salted, cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 12-14 minutes or until tender. Drain.
  3. Rice or mash the potatoes and garlic. Add the milk, butter nutmeg and cheese. Beat the egg yolk slightly, and then add to the potato mixture. Combine well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, then ground beef; cook until the meat is browned. Add onions and peppers; cook until tender.
  5. Drain off the fat, return skillet to heat and add in the remaining vegetables, broth, tomatoes, seasonings and spices. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Transfer mixture to baking dish and press it down. Top with the garlic mashed potatoes and lightly sprinkle paprika over top. Place the baking dish in oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

pei-cottage-pie2
Cottage Pie

Ten Canadian Provinces of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Six – Ontario – Habitant Pea Soup

Welcome to Week Six of the Ten Canadian Provinces of New Recipe Tuesday! This week we explore the province of Ontario, the second largest province in area, but with over 13 million residents, it is the largest in population. One in three people in Canada live in Ontario.

I am pretty familiar with Ontario, as I grew up in Western New York and a day trip to Niagara Falls was something we did almost every summer. I also attended the University of Buffalo and crossed over the border to get some Brador beer more than once. Or if we were low on funds, maybe just some Molson. The first concert I ever attended was in the mid 1970s at Ontario Place in Toronto. It was a science center/amusement park, which had outdoor concerts during the summer. I think I was 14 or 15 at the time. My sister and I went with some friends and saw KC and the Sunshine Band. Yep, I’m that old. It was actually a whole lot of fun and I am proud to say that I was a big fan back in the day.

When I went looking for a recipe, I discovered that a soup you are all most likely familiar with traces its roots back to Ontario. During the 400th anniversary of the French explorer Samuel de Champlain’s mapping expeditions along the Ottawa River, it was celebrated that these early settlers relied on provisions brought over from Europe to sustain them. These ingredients included cured meats and dried peas, which were cooked into what is known as Habitant Pea Soup. With the addition of locally available fresh vegetables, this hearty soup has become a staple in Ontario cooking.

habitant-pea-soup
Ontario Habitant Pea Soup

The recipe that I used is actually from several sources, but all used similar ingredients and techniques. I have made split pea soup before, but have always made the green stuff; never using the yellow peas. I also have never made a ham stock which adds a ton of flavor. If you want to shorten the overall recipe, you can skip the stock making and just use chicken stock.

I give this one a solid A, and the whole house really liked it. The taste between green and yellow peas is really minimal, but the cooking time for yellow is shorter than green, so you could make this on a weeknight if you wanted to. Very yummy, give it a try!

Thanks for sticking with me and stopping by. See you next time in Prince Edward Island!

Habitant Pea Soup

Ingredients

For the Ham broth:

  • 2 small smoked ham hocks
  • 1 c diced carrots
  • 1 c diced celery
  • 1 c diced onion
  • 10 -12 cups cold water (enough to cover everything)
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 10 sprigs Italian flat parsley
  • 15 whole black peppercorns

Soup:

  • ¼ lb bacon, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 c ham broth (or store bought chicken broth)
  • 1 lb Split Yellow Peas
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ½ c each of diced carrots and celery
  • ½ c diced green or yellow pepper
  • ground pepper to taste

Directions

For the Ham Broth:

  1. In a large stock pot, place ham hocks, carrots, celery, onion and cold water (adding more cold water if needed to cover.)
  2. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a slow simmer.
  3. Add the thyme, bay leaves, parsley and peppercorns. Simmer for 1½ hours, skimming any foam from time to time.
  4. Drain stock through a colander, discarding vegetables but setting the ham hocks aside to cool. Cool and refrigerate the stock. Once the ham hocks are cool enough to handle but still warm, clean the meat from the bones, discarding the fatty and skin parts. Chop the meat into bite-size pieces and store in the fridge or freezer until needed.

For the Soup:

  1. Sort and rinse peas.
  2. In large soup pot, cook bacon, onion and garlic until bacon is crisp; if desired, drain off excess fat.
  3. Add ham stock, yellow split peas and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and boil gently 30 minutes.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, including the ham hock meat, and cook about 30 minutes longer or until peas and vegetables are tender.

ontario-pean-soup
Ontario Habitant Pea Soup

Ten Canadian Provinces of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Five – Nova Scotia – Oatcakes

Welcome to Week Five of the Ten Canadian Provinces of New Recipe Tuesday! A very Happy New Year to everyone. The holidays were such a whirlwind around here, with family from both sides visiting.  I again am forced to apologize for my inconsistency with my posts and I resolve to do better from here on out. Canada has been a bit more challenging than I had thought it would be, mostly because I have a household of non fish eaters and our neighbors to the north love their seafood. But I am trying and we will get through this.

This week we explore the province of Nova Scotia, the second smallest province.  The province itself is almost completely surrounded by water, with a mainland peninsula connected to New Brunswick and Cape Breton Island, which is across the Canso strait.

The name Nova Scotia is from Latin and means New Scotland. When I went looking for a recipe, I found that a simple baked good gives a serious nod to the Scottish heritage of the region. The item is called an Oatcake, and is super simple to make (one bowl, one baking sheet) and is found all over the province as a simple snack, usually served midday with tea. It is a sweet but also salty and has a light crunch to it. I have already bagged up a couple for my son to take to school tomorrow. He thought they were great.

oatcakes
Nova Scotia Oatcakes

I give this one a solid A, with a little work needed to get the thickness and baking time perfect to make it crunchy all the way through (the center was soft like an oatmeal cookie). Some recipes actually used a cutter to make them individual cakes before baking, but that seems to be too much work for something meant to be so simple. I think I will keep them just the way they are and look forward to making these again

Thanks for sticking with me and stopping by. See you next time in Ontario!

Nova Scotia Oatcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Oatmeal
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ tsp Baking Soda
  • ¾ cups Brown Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Boiling Water

Directions

  1. Preheat an oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or your fingers to work the fat into the dry ingredients.
  3. Pour in the hot water and stir until everything comes together into a thick, sticky dough.
  4. Turn the dough onto the baking sheet. Flatten and shape it with your hands or roll it with a rolling pin to make it about ¼ – ½ inch thick and rectangle shape.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes until they are golden brown. They should be crisp and crunchy, not chewy.
  6. While still warm, cut into squares, and then allow them to cool.

ns-oatcakes
Nova Scotia Oatcakes