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Nova Scotia’s Traditional Foods


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#61 Peter the eater

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 06:06 PM

In our family "Fat Archies" would never have raisins and were not quite as puffy as the ones shown above. The biggest difference between a fat archie and a regular molasses coookie made by my mama was that the fat archies were made with the bacon grease that was saved in a cup on the stove. When there was enough Mama would make her fat archies for us. I can still taste them now  :rolleyes: although I haven't had a cookie made with bacon grease in 25 years or more.

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Those ones sound very delish. Have you any idea where the name "Fat Archies" comes from?
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

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#62 maggiethecat

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 09:24 PM

In our family "Fat Archies" would never have raisins and were not quite as puffy as the ones shown above. The biggest difference between a fat archie and a regular molasses coookie made by my mama was that the fat archies were made with the bacon grease that was saved in a cup on the stove. When there was enough Mama would make her fat archies for us. I can still taste them now  :rolleyes: although I haven't had a cookie made with bacon grease in 25 years or more.

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Molasses, spice and bacon fat -- a delectable thrifty Caledonian triple play.As to the derivation? Dunno, just guessing. Archibald and Archie are true wha hae Scots names, ans if you ate too many of these cookies you'd be a Fat Archie?

(Not a sociologist,)

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#63 Peter the eater

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 01:10 PM

Lo and behold . . .

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This recipe comes from Boularderie Island, Cape Breton (where Petra plucked my turkeys last fall!) and possibly from the Outer Hebrides before that. "More of a biscuit than a cookie" says it's author.
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#64 Peter the eater

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 08:54 AM

L'Acadie

It’s impossible to talk about traditional Nova Scotia food without a major discussion of Acadian food. There are dozens of communities throughout the province that embrace their French ancestry with great pride. They speak the language, fly the flag and cook the food.

Characterizing a culture’s cuisine other than your own is difficult. I sometimes wish I had an authentic Acadian grandmother to answer my food questions, but I don’t. I’ve got some good friends that are steeped in the traditions and can help me translate the words and expressions that are beyond me.

Acadian cookery is all about the home kitchen, growing your own and getting through the winter. If there are fine restaurants serving the classic dishes I don’t know where they’re located. I consider the food to be hearty, practical and delicious. Breakfast is often the biggest meal and is called déjeuner, which in France and Quebec refers to lunch. For Acadians lunch is diner and dinner is souper. This confusion has translated to English speaking Nova Scotia where the noon meal is called dinner and the evening meal is called supper. Oh, and breakfast in Quebec is le petit déjeuner.

To recap:

Canadian English: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Nova Scotia English: breakfast, dinner, supper
Acadian French: déjeuner, diner, souper
Quebec French: petit déjeuner, déjeuner, diner

Edited by Peter the eater, 20 August 2008 - 10:10 AM.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#65 newbie

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 09:39 AM

My mother is an acadienne and one of my favorite dishes that she makes is a turkey fricot. It is an Acadian soup that we grew up eating regularly after Christmas and Thanksgiving. Make stock with the turkey carcass, add leftover turkey, along with some carrots, potatoes, onions, summer savory and my favorite part, dumplings. :wub:
A truly destitute man is not one without riches, but the poor wretch who has never partaken of lobster. - anonymous

#66 Peter the eater

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 10:03 AM

This is a replica of an early Acadian home:
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La Maison Acadienne is an early French settler's dwelling as it would’ve looked in the late 1600’s. This one is located at The Historical Gardens in Annapolis Royal. It’s framed with heavy timbers with wattle-and-daub walls and the roof is thatched much like you’d find in Normandy back in the day. The oven is made with clay and sits on a wood platform projecting outside the shell of the home:
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The building is flanked by a herb and vegetable garden that was vital to the Acadian diet. When the colonists first settled in the area they built a series of dykes and sluices to drain parts of the valley and create arable land. It was easier than clearing higher land and they did such a good job some of the dykes are still around today virtually unchanged:
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Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#67 Peter the eater

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 11:02 AM

My mother is an acadienne and one of my favorite dishes that she makes is a turkey fricot. It is an Acadian soup that we grew up eating regularly after Christmas and Thanksgiving. Make stock with the turkey carcass, add leftover turkey, along with some carrots, potatoes, onions, summer savory and my favorite part, dumplings.

That combo sounds irresistible - lucky you!

Fricot is so versatile. In the Chaleur Bay area of New Brunswick it's an art form with dozens of variations incorporating meat, game, poultry or seafood. In Cape Breton a fricot is usually made with red meat - if it's got fish it's a tchaude or chowder.

Edited by Peter the eater, 21 August 2008 - 06:29 AM.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#68 Shelby

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 06:33 AM

Rollmops!

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This a German invention - often served at breakfast and purported to resolve hangovers. It's a pickled herring fillet wrapped around pickled cucumber and onion, secured with a broad toothpick. Very popular down the South Shore of Nova Scotia.

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Peter, I just discovered this topic! OMG these look so good and I'm not even hungover!

And that lobster :wub:

#69 Peter the eater

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 04:46 PM

Peter, I just discovered this topic!  OMG these look so good and I'm not even hungover!
And that lobster  :wub:

It's worth getting hungover just to see well they work - I'm a little surprised it wasn't mentioned here.
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#70 Adam Balic

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 05:01 AM

Interesting bread oven. From memoey they are also produced from a wattle and daub frame (Wattles burnt out in the first firing)?

#71 Peter the eater

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 06:35 PM

I've never met an Acadian meat pie I didn't like.

I've not had the moose one yet - I hear it's hard to beat - but I've had the wild rabbit kind. Lapin des bois or la lievre is a classic that's been delighting and sustaining for centuries.

This past weekend we went to a food festival that was part of a same-day province-wide picnic to showcase innovative food growers and sellers. Apparently only 10% of our diet is locally produced - activists here say that number could be well over 50% with a little knowledge and preparation.

One highlight for me was this chicken and pork pie:
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It was a sunny day and the place was packed:
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and music was playing as the hungry people showed up:
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There were good cooks showing off, such as the Hali-famous Chef Ray Bear:
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There was also a petting zoo, or maybe it was more of a holding tank for future samples:
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Hands-down best free sample was this local oyster:
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Wow, I forget how great these molluscs can be. Timing is the key - shuck and slurp in one continuous motion.

Edited by Peter the eater, 26 August 2008 - 04:39 AM.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#72 Mallet

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 04:35 AM

An interesting (but still traditional) variation on the meat pie is a vegetable pie. Root vegetables (potatoes, turnips, carrots) are boiled together then put in a crust along with some of the cooking water and baked until the crust browns and the juices are reduced. I make mine with a chive-cream sauce.

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PS: Do you remember where the oyster from?

Edited by Mallet, 26 August 2008 - 04:36 AM.

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#73 Peter the eater

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 04:46 AM

Do you remember where the oyster from?

The oysters came from Yarmouth County's Eel Lake Oyster Farm.

Nice veggie pie - looks like a perfect golden crust.
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#74 Peter the eater

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 12:03 PM

. . . . If there are fine restaurants serving the classic dishes I don’t know where they’re located.

After receiving some not-so-anonymous tips, it seems there are good places serving up real Acadian fare.

Here are some specialties from Co-op Artisanale in Cheticamp, Cape Breton.

Haddock or Cod Dinner
Lightly breaded and pan-fried to perfection, served with vegetable, roll, tea or coffee.
Cod Fish Cakes
A delightful mixture of cod and mashed potatoes pan-fried to a golden brown, served with vegetables, coleslaw, roll, tea or coffee.
Stewed Potatoes with Meat and Vegetables
A hearty meal with green beans, coleslaw, roll, tea or coffee.
Fish Chowder
Very unique. Our blend is cooked in a broth of haddock (no milk or cream added) and served with dinner roll and crackers. Bowl or Cup
Chicken Fricot
Dices of potatoes and chicken, cooked in its own broth and served with dinner roll and crackers.
Homestyle Baked Beans
Served with two dinner rolls.
Blood Pudding
A House Specialty. Old fashioned custard with pork meat.
Meat Pie
An Acadian favourite, prepared with shredded beef and pork, under a golden tea biscuit crust, served with cranberry sauce. With Tossed Salad.
Potato Pancakes
Grated potato pan-fried to a golden brown, with molasses, apple sauce or sour cream

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#75 Shelby

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 02:50 PM

Do you remember where the oyster from?

The oysters came from Yarmouth County's Eel Lake Oyster Farm.

Nice veggie pie - looks like a perfect golden crust.

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I sure with they would overnight some to me!!!! I might give them a call and see if they would.......

#76 nakji

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 07:36 PM

I miss Annapolis Valley apples! Has anyone had the chance to use any local apples this fall?

I remember all the varieties available, and I miss that! :sad:

#77 Peter the eater

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 07:51 PM

I miss Annapolis Valley apples! Has anyone had the chance to use any local apples this fall?

I remember all the varieties available, and I miss that!  :sad:

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There are apples everywhere. We went to the Fall Fair Exhibition yesterday and there were free Valley apples to sample -- they were all good but I didn't taste any new varieties. Saw a 1200lb pumpkin!

We made several litres of applesauce from a peck of Cortlands, with a bag of cranberries thrown in for good measure.

Apples really are the potatoes of the trees -- or is it the other way around?
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#78 Kerry Beal

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 05:10 AM

Lo and behold . . .

Posted Image

Posted Image

This recipe comes from Boularderie Island, Cape Breton (where Petra plucked my turkeys last fall!) and possibly from the Outer Hebrides before that. "More of a biscuit than a cookie" says it's author.

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Just pulled a batch of Fat Archies out of the oven. Great recipe, but next batch I think I'll just mix the boiling water with the molasses and soda, rather then creaming the molasses with the butter, sugars and eggs. It was too soft to roll and cut as directed, but worked nicely with an ice cream scoop.

Would also benefit from some plumped up raisins I think.

#79 Peter the eater

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 07:45 AM

Saw a 1200lb pumpkin!

And here's what a 1200lb pumpkin looks like:
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Hard to see just how big it really is -- if you want a sense of scale try googling Manuel Uribe, the 1200lb man.
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#80 Peter the eater

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 10:07 AM

Fish and Brewis

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Pronounced "broose" or "bruce" and not "bruise" as the Wiki suggests -- this is an extremely traditional dish from Newfoundland and Labrador, but one can find similar stuff here in Nova Scotia. The idea is to use up old bread and salt fish when you're floundering off the Grand Banks in foul weather or simply having a Sunday meal at home.

You'll need:

- salt cod, or fresh white fish
- hardtack, also known as seabiscuit or hardbread
- salt pork, diced
- onion

Brown the pork and soften the onion, add fish. Soak the bread until soft and add to the mixture and mix it all up in the pot.

There are many, many variations but that's the gist. Often the scrunchions are sprinkled on top. Most versions are one-pot help-yourself affairs.

For my own version, I used my homemade pancetta with a monkfish steak and diced brown bread. The only place I've ever seen actual hardtack is at the Marine Museum, held by an able-bodied mannequin dressed like Frank Sinatra in Anchors Aweigh. It was not made of plastic.

Posted Image

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Fish and pork together is a bit unusual, and the bread turns into a kind of strange porridge. When it comes to monkish, I'm afraid I have an unnatural affection -- so that was my favourite part. The pancetta adds a nice crunchy-salty dimension . . . but I don't think I could eat this way very often.

Edited by Peter the eater, 27 October 2008 - 12:50 PM.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#81 Magictofu

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 10:48 AM

To recap:

Canadian English: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Nova Scotia English: breakfast, dinner, supper
Acadian French: déjeuner, diner, souper
Quebec French: petit déjeuner, déjeuner, diner

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Désolé mais on devrait lire ceci:

Canadian English: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Nova Scotia English: breakfast, dinner, supper
Acadian French: déjeuner, diner, souper
Québec French: déjeuner, dîner, souper
European French (France, Switzerland, Belgium...) : petit déjeuner, déjeuner, diner

:wink:

#82 Peter the eater

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 01:20 PM

To recap:

Canadian English: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Nova Scotia English: breakfast, dinner, supper
Acadian French: déjeuner, diner, souper
Quebec French: petit déjeuner, déjeuner, diner

View Post


Désolé mais on devrait lire ceci:

Canadian English: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Nova Scotia English: breakfast, dinner, supper
Acadian French: déjeuner, diner, souper
Québec French: déjeuner, dîner, souper
European French (France, Switzerland, Belgium...) : petit déjeuner, déjeuner, diner

:wink:

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Bien sûr, je vous remercie. That's what happens when an Anglo-Canadian gets taught French in Ontario by teachers who've never been to Quebec. Although, I should've known better having spoke my first words in the late 60's whilst living in Beloeil, PQ.

I wonder what meal words are used in Haiti, Senegal, Vanuatu, et. al.
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#83 Adam Balic

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 02:09 PM

Fish and Brewis

Posted Image

Pronounced "broose" or "bruce" and not "bruise" as the Wiki suggests -- this is an extremely traditional dish from Newfoundland and Labrador, but one can find similar stuff here in Nova Scotia. The idea is to use up old bread and salt fish when you're floundering off the Grand Banks in foul weather or simply having a Sunday meal at home.

You'll need:

- salt cod, or fresh white fish
- hardtack, also known as seabiscuit or hardbread
- salt pork, diced
- onion

Brown the pork and soften the onion, add fish. Soak the bread until soft and add to the mixture and mix it all up in the pot.

There are many, many variations but that's the gist. Often the scrunchions are sprinkled on top. Most versions are one-pot help-yourself affairs.

For my own version, I used my homemade pancetta with a monkfish steak and diced brown bread. The only place I've ever seen actual hardtack is at the Marine Museum, held by an able-bodied mannequin dressed like Frank Sinatra in Anchors Aweigh. It was not made of plastic.

Posted Image

Posted Image


Fish and pork together is a bit unusual, and the bread turns into a kind of strange porridge. When it comes to monkish, I'm afraid I have an unnatural affection -- so that was my favourite part. The pancetta adds a nice crunchy-salty dimension . . . but I don't think I could eat this way very often.

View Post


Amazing to see another very old recipe preserved in N. S. Thanks very much for posting this.

#84 nakji

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 11:08 PM

Fascinating pictures, Peter! My mum's family always pronounced it 'brew-is', with two syllables, but they're from 'up Labrador way'.

As for hardtack, wouldn't Purity biscuitsbe a good substitute? If the Newfie shop is still open on North street, you might be able to source them there.

eta: link

#85 Peter the eater

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 02:18 PM

Fascinating pictures, Peter! My mum's family always pronounced it 'brew-is', with two syllables, but they're  from 'up Labrador way'.

As for hardtack, wouldn't Purity biscuitsbe a good substitute? If the Newfie shop is still open on North street, you might be able to source them there.

eta: link

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Great link, thanks. Yes I think a Purity biscuit would be perfect -- they even mention fish & brewis in the ad.

I'm desperate to get my hands on the stuff for a genuine seal flipper pie but I'm getting nowhere. I've heard the stories and collected the recipes -- getting the actual flipper is the hard part. My brother-in-law in Conception Bay is looking for me but the timing hasn't worked out. I believe the seal meat canneries have all disappeared too.
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#86 Peter the eater

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 08:25 PM

Acadian Meat Pie or Pâté à la Viande

Who doesn't love a meat pie? I've made such things as chicken pot pie and steak N kidney pie, but until now I'd never made an authentic Acadian meat pie.

What makes a meat pie Acadian? I'm not sure I know -- most old recipes call for a flaky lard crust and salted herbs. In New Brunswick you might get diced potatoes in the filling. As for the meat you can use pork, chicken, beef, venison, rabbit or something else handy.

I decided to follow the recipe as best I could from the best I know (note the meat pie at five and six o'clock):
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I'm pretty sure there's an English language version of this book out there but I rather enjoy fumbling through the French. I've lived and worked in both Quebec and France -- and partied in Saint-Pierre & Miquelon -- yet I'm still far from bilingual. Besides, it's not hard to translate "1 gros oignon haché".

I suppose I could have just used some boneless pork chops. Instead I decided to attack the giant pig shoulder in the freezer. These last few years I've been lucky enough to help raise a pig on my in-law's farm in Cape Breton as I've posted here. I didn't weigh the cut, but the aluminum sheet is almost two feet long and just barely fits in my oven:
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The meat sans bones:
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The bone sans meat:
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The bones were gently simmered for an hour and yielded enough pulled pork to fill the pie:
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The big onion was hatchet-ed and softened in butter, then flour was sprinkled in and allowed to brown a bit, then the stock was used to make a thick porky sauce. Thyme from my garden was salted, bagged and frozen months ago for this very purpose. I tasted the hot filling and then snuck in vinegar and sugar, a tablespoon of each. You can probably tell from the photo that I don't do much pastry baking. The bottom crust was blind baked to perfection but I allowed the top crust to dry out while I finished the filling:
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Served with mashed potatoes and maple carrots:
Posted Image
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#87 Magictofu

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 08:07 AM

This looks like a great tourtière! I really like to see the big chunks of meat in it... so many people use ground meat these days.

#88 chromedome

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 07:30 PM

FWIW, Peter, the Newfoundland side of my family does in fact pronounce it "bruise." Of course, each part of Newfoundland is somewhat different, too.

Purity's "Hard bread" (not the "sweet bread") is the standard brewis across the Rock, as far as I'm aware. You should find it in Superstore or Sobey's in the seafood section, usually merchandised near the lobster tank. The fish would traditionally be salt cod, aka baccalhao etc. The fish is soaked and then simmered; the brewis is soaked until soft and then gently heated in the same water. Drain both, and serve with scrunchions. Onions in one or another form are ubiquitous, too...fried, raw, or sometimes marinated in a bit of vinegar. Leftover brewis would become dessert with a drizzle of molasses.

Of course, brewis was "back-up" food. It was what you fell back on if your potatoes weren't enough to carry you through until spring.
Fat=flavor

#89 Peter the eater

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 09:17 PM

FWIW, Peter, the Newfoundland side of my family does in fact pronounce it "bruise."  Of course, each part of Newfoundland is somewhat different, too. . . .

Thanks, yes I've heard a few variations since I first wrote that part. Depends on the bayman your talking with.

. . . . Leftover brewis would become dessert with a drizzle of molasses. . . .

Without the fish, I presume?
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#90 CaliPoutine

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 08:05 AM

I'm waiting for you to make those Oat Cakes we enjoyed in NS.