So, I played Chopped in my fridge recently. Will I ever have these combination of ingredients in my fridge again? Likely not, unless I travel to Montreal again, but I love the concept of the idea I created. I took a very Quebecois ingredient and turned it into a very savoury and rich pasta sauce. I created my cretons ragu on a whim during one of my Instagram LIVE sessions on #SIAintheKitchen.
I host a live cooking show every Sunday on my Instagram account. It’s so much fun to be cooking and teaching people how to cook as I experiment with new recipes all on live! I’ve never been nervous while cooking but it certainly can be nerve-wracking if something doesn’t turn out as planned because you can’t edit the footage because all in real time. But I suppose that’s the thrill of it all and as long as you have fun with it, nothing else matters!
For this particular episode, I was working with a jar of cretons, leftover mascarpone and dessert wine. Cretons is a traditional Quebecois meat spread made of pork and to be honest, other ingredients I’m not quite sure of. Whenever I’m in Montreal (which seems to be every year!) I always make sure to pop by the store and pick up a bottle because it’s hard to find in Vancouver. My dad, who moved from Montreal to Vancouver, grew up on this stuff in his early 20s when he lived there and got me hooked on the product. It is so good and rich and perfect to eat on crackers, bread, or if you’re like me, by the spoonful.
I was in Montreal on a layover coming back from Portugal this past September and picked up a jarred version of it. Most of the ones in Montreal are typically in plastic containers but those expire pretty quickly and need to be eaten right away. Because I’m one person, I picked up one in a resealable glass jar with a later expiry date. But the product just wasn’t good. I was so disappointed. I know had this annoying jar of cretons in my fridge and didn’t want it to go to waste…so a pasta sauce it was.
Honestly, I was so surprised with the outcome! It turned out to be really nice actually! Bits of pork that almost resembled ground beef, laced in this savoury tomato-based sauce, and accented with fresh thyme - I would definitely make this again. I would even look into cooking down a duck or chicken pate in place of the cretons for a future recipe as well for something even silkier and richer.
CRETON RAGU - serves 4
1 (340g) pkg egg noodles
3 tbsp butter
2 shallots, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup dessert wine
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
1 cup cretons
2 tbsp marscarpone
3 tbsp herbs de provence
salt + pepper
10 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
Cook the pasta in a pot of salted water according to packaged directions. Drain, rinse and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter until it has melted over medium-high heat.
Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and saute until softened, about 1 minute.
Add the mushrooms in the pan and cook for 1 minute.
Add in both the red and dessert wines and cook down it down until most of the liquid dissolves, about 1 minute.
Stir in the tomato paste and the cretons and cook down for atleast 5 minutes so that the tomato paste and cretons are equally incorporated.
Stir in the mascarpone, herbs de Provence and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Toss the pasta in with the sauce and finish with fresh thyme.