Ah, holidays. My American friends are gearing up for Thanksgiving (we had that last month) and then next month, Christmas. And what's one of the best things about holidays? That's right—FOOD! This week we are sharing our favourite holiday recipe. I thought long and hard about how to approach this post. I could have posted some dishes that I like, but honestly, when I think holidays, only one thing come to mind. Jiggs Dinner.
What's that, you say. (If you're not from Newfoundland & Labrador, that is.). Well, this meal has plenty of names. Jiggs Dinner is one of the most common ones. It's also called boiled dinner, cooked dinner, and my favourite, Pork and Cabbage. (Some also call it corned beef and cabbage.) Around my family we just call it Sunday Dinner. Although I'll eat it any day of the week.
In terms of holidays, this is what you eat for all the big ones. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, New Years, Paddy's Day. I kid. About Paddy's Day. Although it can be a great cure for a hangover.
I challenge you to walk through any small town in Newfoundland on a Sunday and not be tempted by the smell of this dinner wafting out the windows of just about every house.
My grandmother makes this every Sunday. She makes enough for at least 20 people. There have been times when we've had people eating in kitchen, the living room, and the porch. And don't get me started on the fights that can break out when there's not enough of one of the key ingredients to go around. I know I've done a fork duel with more than one cousin for the last bit of salt beef.
So here we go. My holiday recipe for Jiggs Dinner - the visual version.
So there you have it. Your basic ingredients. Now you can get all fancy and add other specialty puddings. Molasses raisiin pudding is a favourite, as is blueberry pudding. And my aunt loves onion pudding. But I don't know how to make any of those so if you wanna get adventurous, go google those recipes. :)
But Victoria, you're likely wondering. What do I do with all of these wonderful root vegetables that have fed hardy Newfoundlanders for eons? Ahhhh. my friends. So simple.
It takes three hours to make Jiggs Dinner. Let's say you want to eat at 6 pm (because that's what I did yesterday!). Here's our handy timeline.
3 pm: Put a big boiler on the stove. Use the tallest, biggest pot you have. You're going to be putting a lot of food in here. Fill about half way with water. Start to boil. Cut up your salt beef, trimming off a lot of the fat. For the sake of this post, let's say you're having six people for dinner. So make sure there's enough for each person to have a nice choice cut. You are NOT GOING TO SALT YOUR WATER because there's enough salt in this to pickle your ribs. As for your split peas, grab a cloth pudding bag (if you don't have one, cut the corner off an old pillow case and use that), pour in the container of peas and tie your bag loosely. Not super loose, but not too tight. You want to give your peas a chance to expand, but still form a pudding. I'm not gonna lie. There's trial and error involved here. Here's what it should look like. Pop it into the pot and then go read a book.
4:30 pm: By now you'll have cut up cabbage up into nice big chunks. Toss it in the pot. If your water seems a little low, add some from a hot kettle. If you have cabbage lovers, you'll want a fairly big head.
5:15 pm: Add your turnip and carrots. Keep carrots whole unless they're massive, in which case, cut them in half width wise. Have your turnip in nice large chunks as well. One turnip should be good unless they're small. I always get a turnip about the size of a honeydew mellon. I tend to do one carrot per person unless I know I have some major carrot lovers coming.
5:30 pm: Add your potatoes. Two per person and an extra one or two for the pot.
6 pm: Take it all out. I put potatoes on a big platter, carrots on their own plate, cabbage goes in a strainer over a bowl so the water drips out, turnip goes into a bowl and you mash it with butter and pepper, salt beef gets it own plate (you might need to cut it smaller), and the pease pudding goes on another.
A NOTE ON MEAT!
I haven't mentioned meat. This meal is typically accompanied by a roast of some sort. Turkey, chicken, pork, moose, grouse, goose, whatever you like, fill your boots. Yesterday, I cooked for my parents. They brought a roast and gravy. We had moose. Mmmmmm. Delicious!
Finally, pile all your food on your plate, slather it in gravy if you have some (and you like it) and enjoy. Make sure you go back for more!
Either you now want to try this, or you're wondering, why did I just spend this much time reading about a boiled dinner? Either way, head on over and see what delicious treat Raine Balkera has in store for you! And see you next week!