Today's sponsored post was written by Justine Ethier, a writer who lives in Alberta, but whose grandparents were from Quebec (and they passed along many family recipes). She loves to visit this beautiful province to enjoy its pleasures and look back into her family tree.
Quebec has its own cuisine that is different from the rest of Canada and is influenced by its history of French and Irish settlement. The two largest ethnic groups in Quebec are the Irish and French, whose influences make up most of the cuisine (although there are also contributions from Canadian aboriginal culture as well). It is a warm and hearty cuisine that gives you energy and comfort in the middle of the cold winter.
The traditional cuisine of Quebec dates back to the fur-trade period and includes many comforting winter dishes, such as tourtiere (meat pie), pea soup, ham dishes, baked beans, and maple desserts and molasses treats. Maple syrup is a very important ingredient and is poured over a breakfast of ham, bacon, eggs and baked beans. Another traditional use for maple syrup is to pour it into snow. Once it hardens it is eaten like a Popsicle.
These days, contemporary Quebec cuisine follows traditional inspiration with a contemporary twist, still using ingredients native to the land, but in innovate ways. Due to recent immigration, more cultures from around the world have further influenced Quebec cuisine. For example, Jewish immigrants have lent their bagel tradition to the Montreal Smoked Meat Bagel, which is now an iconic meal of the city.
During your travels in Quebec, there are some local dishes that you can try:
This delicious and hearty meat pie is usually made with finely diced veal, beef or pork, and often wild game, such as deer or moose, can be added to enhance the flavor. There is no one “correct” filling for a tourtiere, as the meat traditionally would have depended on what the early immigrants had available. In coastal areas, salmon might have been used, while rabbit, game, pork and beef would have been used inland.
This dish was introduced by early 20th century immigrants in Quebec and has been served by generations of French-Canadian families throughout Canada, as well as the bordering areas of the USA, such as New England.
Tourtiere is commonly eaten during Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, but it is available in grocery stores all year long. The pie usually contains finely ground meat and potatoes chopped into very small cubes. It is often eaten with ketchup as a condiment, but molasses can be used as well. Be sure to make time for a hearty and filling piece of this meat pie while you are in Quebec.
Montreal-Style Smoked Meat
This mouth-watering deli meat is made by curing beef brisket with spices and salt for a week, so that it can absorb all the flavors. It is then hot smoked, so it is cooked through, and then steamed to completion. The meat then needs to be cut by hand because it is so soft and tender that it would simply disintegrate in a meat slicer.
Montreal smoked meat is similar in some ways to New York pastrami, but is has different seasonings, much less sugar and is made with brisket rather than the navel/plate cut. The best way to enjoy this sumptuous, salty and flavorful meat is to have it coated with mustard on thick rye.
This fast-food dish originated in Quebec and can now be found all across Canada, from pubs to diners to roadside chip wagons. Poutine had its origins in rural Quebec in the late 1950s, and although several Quebec towns claim to be the birthplace of this dish, no one really knows for sure where it came from.
The basic concept for poutine is French fries topped with brown gravy and fresh cheese curds. The fries should be thick and crunchy on the outside and soft on the outside. The gravy should be a light and thin turkey or chicken gravy (not a thick beef or pork gravy) and often contains vinegar to balance the richness of the cheese and fries. The cheese should be fresh cheese curds, which give the chewy and “squeaky” texture.
Of course, many restaurants will experiment with the traditional recipe, offering poutine with bacon, smoked meat, sausage, lobster or other variations, so try those as well if you are curious.
These are just a few examples of the warm and hearty cuisine that you can look forward to on your trip to Quebec.
Who's hungry now??
*Note: This post was written and submitted by a third party.