Newfoundland and Labrador cuisine has long roots in our history, as the meal of fish and brewis (pronounced “brews”) has been a traditional favourite since sailors came from Europe in the late 1400 and 1500’s.
Fish and Brewis consists of codfish and hard bread or hard tack. Sailors and fishers would spend months on board schooners and the salt cod and hard bread would last the journey. With the abundance of cod around the outports of Newfoundland and Labrador this meal became a staple at many homes. Our Purity Factories has been producing hard bread for nearly one hundred years!
The basic recipe will have the hard bread broken into bite-size pieces and soaked in water overnight. Next day the fish and hard bread are boiled separately until tender then both are served together.
The traditional meal is served with “scrunchions” or salted pork fat which has been cut into small pieces and fried. Both the rendered fat and the liquid fat are then drizzled over the fish and hard bread.
Here is a recipe for four servings:
- 4 cakes Purity hard bread
- 1 lb salt cod
- 6 slices salt pork (3” x ¼ “ thick)
In two separate bowls, soak salt fish and hard bread in cold water for approx 6-8 hours or overnight. In the morning drain and replace both with cold water.
Bring salt fish to a slow boil and let simmer for approx 20 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Skin, bone and flake fish – set-aside.
Bring to a slow boil and simmer for approx 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Squeeze out excess water from the hard bread and mix in flaked fish.
In a frying pan, low heat, fry salt pork until all fat is extracted and cook until golden brown. Spoon fat over fish and brewis. Garnish with scrunchions (rendered salt pork).
I enjoy this traditional meal best with a cup of steeped Tetley tea and fresh homemade bread with old-fashioned Crosby molasses. Truly authentic Newfoundland and Labrador cuisine.
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)
In rural Newfoundland & Labrador “Sunday Dinner”, “Hot Dinner”, “Cooked Dinner” and “Boiled Dinner” are common terms used in reference to a meal at noon on Sunday.
I will share with you how to prepare Sunday’s Dinner, since it is my favorite traditional Newfoundland meal. It is chicken or turkey with stuffing, potatoes, carrots, turnips, greens, cabbage, potatoes, gravy, peas pudding and our famous salt beef. We also have a selection of other puddings that may be served with the meal: bread pudding, raisin pudding (locally referred to as “figgy duff”), molasses pudding, blackberry, partridge berry and there are many others! My grandmother makes the best raisin puddings and molasses puddings. Yum!
- 1 Whole Chicken, Turkey, Moose Roast or other meat product
- 1 cup yellow split peas
- 6-8 medium potatoes
- 6 carrots
- 1 medium turnip (peel and slice)
- 1 medium cabbage (cut in wedges)
- Slices of slightly stale bread
- Ground Pepper
- Spices (thyme, basil or rosemary)
- Prepare stuffing by soaking slightly stale bread in water. Squeeze to remove excess water. Add melted butter, salt, black pepper and seasoning (basil, rosemary or thyme).
- Prepare chicken or meat, lightly salt. Place stuffing inside chicken, excess can be wrapped in foil. In a roasting pan, place chicken and add water. Cook on 350 F, lightly baste and add an onion for flavour.
- Soak salt meat overnight, drain and place in large cooking pot. Tie peas in cloth bag (locally referred to as “peas pudding bag”); however, a mason jar with a few holes punched at the top will also be sufficient. Put peas in pot with salt beef. Cover beef and peas with water. Heat to boiling, cover and simmer for 2 hours.
- Prepare vegetables. Small carrots and potatoes may be left whole, larger ones are to be cut in half. Slice turnip and cut cabbage into wedges. After meat and peas have cooked for 2-2.5 hours add vegetables and cook until tender, adding the cabbage last.
- Remove peas from bag, place in bowl and mash with butter and black pepper to make peas pudding.
- Remove salt meat and slice. Remove vegetables and place on platter and serve.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup milk or water
- 1 cup of raisins
- Pinch of salt
Combine dry ingredients, add milk and egg. Put in a cloth or spring container and boil for two hours.
- 1 cup of molasses
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1 cup raisins
- 3 cups flour
Mix together molasses, sugar and spices in a bowl. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to first mixture, then add melted butter and raisins. Mix well. Add sifted flour a little at a time. Put in greased pudding mould and steam 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Many great talks or yarns happen around the kitchen table in rural Newfoundland, both in the past and still today.
Hope you enjoy!Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North