Family traditions are wrapped up in food, aren’t they? Most holidays have a food association with them. In most families anyway.
“it wouldn’t be Christmas/Thanksgiving/Easter/my birthday without [fill in the blank with your favorite food]”.
My family is French. Acadian, actually. My relatives hail from Moncton, New Brunswick.
In a quick email conversation with Li, we had a discussion about poutines. To most of the world, poutines are french fries with cheese curds, smothered in gravy. To me (and I guess a smaller portion of Canada), poutines are a potato ball stuffed with pork and boiled. Sounds appealing, right? Depends on your upbringing I suppose because I can find a dozen people right this minute who will be drooling in 10 seconds flat at the word “poutines”. (We always said it as a plural) (and “OUR” pronunciation of it is POO=TZINS)
So, anyway, I promised I would write out my families recipe for Li but being a blogger (YES! I still am a blogger) I thought I’d squeak an entry out of it.
Poutines were made only for special occasions. They are very labor intensive but just the aroma of one sets my mouth to watering. Using google as my guide, it is known on the internets as Poutine râpée, which is not what we called it at all. In fact, rapee is a different dish altogether. Rapee is a casserole while poutines are the round ball.
So, I share my family recipe here. I have never personally made them but am planning to this Christmas. This will my present to my family. (MY family, my husband and kids will not eat them. I’ve somehow failed as a mom!! 🙂
As a rule, it takes 1 pound of potatoes for 1 poutine. This recipe is for 30 poutines. Believe me, if you (Read: I) are going to make them, may as well go for it and make them for everyone! They freeze well, but Acadian relatives and friends will gobble them up now.
30 pounds of potatoes
2 pounds ground pork
1 pound salt pork
Peel and cut the potatoes then divide them into thirds. Cook 1/3 boiling water for 20 minutes until soft. Mash these.
Grate the remaining potatoes to a watery pulp. (This is not the big holes on a grater, it is the smallest holes. I am trying to figure out an electric way to do this. Grating that many potatoes on those small holes gets old fast. Not to mention the bruised knuckles. Any ideas?) .
Place the pulp in a pillowcase or wrap in kitchen towels. Squeeze out as much water as you can.
Mix the pulp with the mashed potatoes, in equal amounts
Mix salt pork and ground pork together
Fill one cup wtih potato mixture, then form round ball like a snowball. Press a hole into the ball with your thumb and stuff about a tablespoon of pork filling inside, sealing the hole when done.
Cut cheesecloth into 10 inch squares. Wrap each poutine in cheesecloth, knotting the corners.
Cook in boiling water for 2 hours.
I love to eat mine with a sprinkling of sugar, my mother eats her with applesauce, others just with salt and pepper.
15 pounds of potatoes
3 pounds ground pork
1 pound salt pork
1 sleeve crushed saltines
1 tsp baking powder
Grate potatoes to a pulp but do not squeeze the water out this time.
Mix all ingredients together well.
Place 1 tablespoon shortening in bottom of pan (big roasting pan or 2 lasagna type pans). Heat in oven until melted. Pour mixture into hot pan
Bake in 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour then turn oven to 350 adn continue baking for 1 hour 15 minutes for a total baking time of 2 hours. Top will be dark, golden brown when done.
There you have it. Owning a potato farm would be ideal!
Have you eaten poutines before? Would you eat them? Would you, could you, in a house? With a mouse? In a box?
What are your family food traditions?
P.S. Remember! No one ever claimed this is health food. That is why it is special occasion food. I, personally have not had poutines in years now. It’s time to fix that!