In my last column, I asked all of you for a favorite recipe. Below is a submission from my wonderful friend Marilyn.
Marilyn is one of the crown jewels of Idyllwild. She is a wonderful musician, actor, teacher, active member of the community, and amazing mother and grandmother. Along with many other things, she is also a most talented and comfortable member of all those who enjoy the love of food and the labor of its careful preparation.
I have had the pleasure of her gastronomic skills over many years now, and it is my pleasure to let her write in this column:
How about a French Canadian ground pork paté called Creton? When I first encountered this traditional favorite of Maria Poirier, who was born in the 1870s in Victoriaville, Quebec, it was spread on warm, crusty French bread. After just one bite, I pleaded for the recipe, delivered in Patois French, but I’ve now translated it for you all.
Whenever I make it now, I am transported back to the rural Quebec of long ago, when families fresh from Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve jumped into horse-drawn sleighs, burrowed under buffalo rugs and plowed through the fresh snow toward the host farm for Reveillons feasting.
Fiddle music, singing and dancing and, of course, Creton, lovingly presented in little “pots au feu” garnished with a glossy bay leaf atop, nestled among home-baked baguettes. It was hearty, it was spicy and it was a beloved traditional offering.
Now get ready for a long, slow cooking and a chance for your kitchen to radiate the redolent promise of homemade paté. Your 2- to 3-quart saucepan with the hefty bottom will be on the stove for at least three hours.
In this lucky pot, you will put the following ingredients:
• 2 lbs. ground pork loin (Your butcher will be horrified when you present him with that lovely pork loin roast asking him to grind it up, but smile and help him to understand “fabulous.”)
• 2 good-sized yellow chopped onions;
• 2 cups chicken broth
• 1 tbsps. Herbes de Provence
• 1 tsp. allspice mixed with 1/2 tsp. ground cloves (adjust to your taste preference)
• 2 bay leaves
Cook first three ingredients together until meat is no longer pink, but stop before you brown it. Reduce the heat, add the seasonings and allow the mix to “burble” along for three hours uncovered.
Occasionally mash down the mix but don’t let it become dry. You can add more broth or water.
The final product should be somewhat gelatinous. Check for salt to taste. Remove the bay leaves.
Refrigerate in small containers with a lid or cover with plastic. Lastly, after overnight, remove the layer of fat and top with a bay leaf. Cover and keep refrigerated.
Bon appetit from the kitchen of Marilyn O’Connor Beauchesne.