Cretons: Wake up to a French-Canadian tradition
Inspiration: Cretons (pronounced crUH-ton) was traditional breakfast fare for the pioneers of early French Canada. Growing up as I did in the Quebec countryside near Montreal, reminders of pioneer life were easily found close to home. The land outside our door was vast and its history, rich. This blend of pork and exotic spices, congealed and then spread on toast — made perfect sense before heading into the forest on snowshoes.
The traditional cretons recipe is upheld to this day, though some now serve it more discerningly as a snack or appetizer (also substituting leaner meats). Still, this medley of simple farmhouse ingredients is elevated by the addition of a few unexpected aromatic seasonings. The result is a surprising, subtle, sublime savoury sensation. It’s a recipe that requires slow cooking with constant stirring, something the Thermomix does very well. For me cretons is synonymous with a childhood in Canada’s French milieu. My mother’s kitchen always smelled warmly of tradition, family, hard work, and joie de vivre. On the best of days, our house was infused with the spicy aroma of simmering cretons. Bon appétit tout le monde!
- 500 g. ground pork (combination of pork and beef or veal may be used, but pork should make up at least 50% of the meat)
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 slice regular bread
- ½ tsp. powdered ginger (see note below about using fresh ginger)
- ½ tsp. nutmeg powder
- ¼ – ½ tsp. clove powder (see notes below)
- 1½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
- 290 g. milk (works with either full fat or low fat milk)
- Add garlic and onion to Thermomix. Chop for 6 seconds/speed 6.
- Add meat, all seasonings, and milk. Mix for 10 seconds/REVERSE speed 3.
- Make sure the measuring cap is on the lid. Cook 12 minutes/80ºC, REVERSE speed 1.
- Keeping the measuring cap on the lid, lower the heat and cook 40 minutes/70ºC/REVERSE speed 1.
- Crumble bread in your hands while adding it to the bowl. Continue cooking 10 minutes/80ºC/REVERSE speed 2 with measuring cap removed.
- It should now have the consistency of soft porridge. Ladle into small bowls to cool for a few minutes before covering with parchment/wax paper/cling wrap. Refrigerate to set for at least 4 hours. (see additional notes below about molding)
- Depending on the fat content of your meat, the result may be anywhere from crumbly to moist paté-like. Best served at room temperature on plain toast (make your own!). Some may want to add a sprinkle of salt after spreading. Can also be served with Dijon mustard and/or with crackers. A quick and hearty breakfast for week-end warriors and energetic athletes heading out to a morning practice. Y-u-m-m-y.
- Cretons is similar to rillettes — a chunky, spreadable paté of meat or fish. For a fresh way of making salmon paté try Salmon Rillettes >