Delicious French-Canadian Comfort Food.
Let’s brave the winter together; with future forecasts expecting a colder Winter than usual, we thought a good way to prepare for this would be to bundle up and whip up some Quebecois classic comfort food to keep you warm and fuzzy throughout the entirety of Winter. With Quebec and more specifically Montreal, being such a huge food destination, it’s important to revisit these classics that’ve kept us warm for generations and generations. For many Quebecois these dishes bring back fond childhood memories or are just our guilty pleasures but whatever it may be we can promise that these dishes are as authentic and delicious as they come. Here is MontrealTips’ Top 5 Quebecois Winter Comfort Foods.
We thought we’d start off with an absolute classic, the poutine. Enjoyed across Canada but born in Quebec no list can ever be complete without the mention of poutine. It is the quintessential Quebecois dish as it not only plays on childhood memories but is also an authentic guilty pleasure for most. The ingredients are incredibly simple consisting of gravy, fries and cheese curds. Poutine is also messy by nature but dont let that fool you as it is way too delicious for its own good. While we won’t pick a side on who has the best poutine in Montreal any time soon (because frankly there are too many good choices) we can introduce you to how easy it is to make a homemade version for yourself.
Of course if you are not feeling up to it you can pretty much order or get one basically anywhere but If you’re feeling adventurous you can try your hand at making some at home. The gravy is relatively easy to make (look for an easy recipe online) and the cheese curds are also easy to find. You can actually usually find them at your local Couche Tard, of course you can get some higher quality ones at the grocery store. You can also use some fresh hand cut fries and add additional toppings if you’re feeling up to it and voila, you’ve made one of Quebec’s classic hardy meals!
- Pâté Chinois
Which oddly translates to Chinese Pie, is basically Quebec’s version of a shepherds pie. Another staple of the Quebecois diet it mainly consists of layers of mashed potatoes, minced meat, onions and corn. The dish while definitely filling and hardy is again quite simple to make. For many Quebecois this is a classic meal that would be frequently eaten during any time of the year but really hits the spot when Winter is upon us. Finding this in restaurants is harder to find than expected unless you go to a real authentic Quebecois restaurant. However, most of the time this dish was made at home when there weren’t a lot of options left to eat. Due to its simplicity it is frequently enjoyed and relatively easy to make. We challenge you to give it a try and make your own this winter!
My all time personal favorite, tourtière is simply just a Quebecois version of a meat pie. Traditionally, it is made with minced beef or pork and baked with pie crust, an assortment of spices and topped with ketchup just before eating. For many Quebecois, myself included, tourtière is a dish that is often enjoyed during the holidays. Christmas eve is just not the same without my moms tourtière and I’m sure it is the same with many other Quebecois. Each household has their own version of it whether they use different meat, spices or baking techniques, they are always delicious. While this dish takes a bit more effort and love put into it we promise it’s worth the extra work. It truly falls under the comfort food category and will keep you trying different recipes to find the perfect version for you.
- Split Pea Soup With Ham Hock
What’s winter comfort food without a sort of hearty soup? When thinking of French-Canadian foods the first two things that come to mind are poutine and smoke meat. While of course they are staples in Quebecois food culture, there’s another dish that stands out to me and that is pea soup with ham hock. This dish comes from the explorers age where food was scarce and you used what you had to stretch your food rations to last you through the winter. This dish can be easily made at home as it’s made from dried beans, mirepoix and ham to give it an extra layer of flavor. It is also relatively easy to make and will keep you warm and filled for hours on end. The dish can be served as a side dish but of course can be used as a main meal.
- Fèves Au Lard
Fèves au lard which translates to beans with bacon is another traditional Quebecois dish that has its roots implanted with the initial settlers and explorers of New France. While this dish isn’t anything revolutionary on its own, it’s the Quebecois spin on it that truly makes it great. The addition of maple syrup really brings this dish to the next level and again matches the time frame where it was invented due to the fact that they used what they had access to. It is traditionally served as a breakfast side dish and you’ve probably had an encounter with it if you’ve visited a Sugar Shack at one point in your life. The dish can easily be made a home and of course we suggest you try it out and take your own spin on it to enjoy.
(Photo by Glouton.ca)
And there you have it, our top 5 Quebecois comfort dishes to get your through this winter. If there’s something that is evident from the list we provided is that Quebecois cuisine doesn’t have to be complicated for it to work. The beauty of it is that they use everyday ingredients and create something great with them. The dishes can easily be adopted for your new home cooking adventures while adding personal touches to make it yours in the end. We hope everyone tries these dishes and to have a happy and safe holiday!