Cretons (French Canadian Spiced Meat Spread)

One of the best parts of being French Canadian is that I have a long family history of making traditional comfort foods that have been passed down from generation to generation. This recipe is the one that my Grand-Maman made during the holidays every year, and was passed down to my mom. This weekend, she asked her girls to help her out by making cretons (as she does every year at this time, to give away as Chrismas gifts). I thought it would be a great opportunity to preserve our heritage by capturing the recipe in a post!

DSC04957Cretons is essentially a spiced meat spread. I know what you’re thinking – a meat spread? It sounds absolutely disgusting – and some in my family might agree with you (ehrm, my sister!), but with the perfect combination of spices and meat, you will be coming back for seconds! My mom did all of the first steps to the recipe, so that it could simmer for 4 hrs before we arrived. Here’s the recipe as it is simmering.

DSC04966The spices used in this recipe are holiday staples – cloves, all spice, celery salt and salt and pepper.

DSC04975Once it’s finally done simmering, it’s on to the next step. Let it cool slightly.

DSC04977Then add a little water and blend.

DSC04979Again, let fully cool before putting a lid on and popping it in the freezer.

DSC04981Serve on toast for breakfast, or on crackers at a holiday get together. Enjoy, with fond memories of your childhood πŸ™‚

Cretons (Courtesy of Grand-maman Bernier)

You will need:

3 lbs ground pork

1/2 lb lard

3 medium onions

1 cup boiling water

2 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp all spice

1 tsp celery salt

salt and pepper to taste

Melt lard in a large pot until crisp. Strain. Add pork, onion and water to the lard and on high for 15 mins, stirring constantly to break up the meat into small chunks. Reduce heat, simmer for 4 hrs. Towards the end of the cooking time, add spices and salt and pepper. Let cool slightly. Blend until you have a spreadable consistency. Let fully cool before putting it in the fridge or freezer. Enjoy on crackers or on toast.

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4 Comments on “Cretons (French Canadian Spiced Meat Spread)”

  1. Barbara Noble says:

    What is lard in the creton recipe ? Is it a piece of pork fat that is unrendered? Please send answer by e-mail.

    • Claire says:

      When my grandmother made creton, it was with a cheaper cut of pork, fat and all was ground by the butcher…twice. As the pork simmered, the fat rendered with the meat. It was fascinating to watch her skim some of the fat off so that the creton was not too fatty. It was always perfect. My mother’s creton was exactly the same as is mine. Remember, this was poor man’s food. This was the food of Canadian woodsmen and farmers. So, to answer your question, the fat was already in the less expensive cut of meat purchased from the butcher. No fat was ever added intentionally.

  2. […] appreciate my heritage and explored some traditional French Canadian recipes, including Tourtiere, Cretons, Tarte au Sucre and Soupe au Pois (Pea Soup). As part of Ukranian heritage, I explored making […]

  3. […] a plethora of traditional French Canadian recipes: Pudding Chomeure, Tarte au sucre, tourtiere and cretons. She went on to create an incredible, large family legacy of Canadiens-Francais with my Grand-papa […]


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