Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mmmm Canada....Beer, Brats and a Bit of Pork Pie

Mmm...Canada Badge

A few weeks ago, Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess sent out invites to a bunch of food bloggers who either were from Canada or lived close enough to Canada to be considered almost Canadian citizens to blog about foods that mean Canada to us. Jennifer is hosting the sweet side of Canada and Jasmine is hosting the savory side of Canada. So, let's get right across the Northern border shall we?!

While I'm not from Canada, I'm from what is often referred to as the "lost province" of Canada, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We speak more Canadian than American, complete with ending our sentences with "eh" and besides bait shops and pasties, there is a good ole donut shop on every corner, including a few branches of Tim Hortons.

When ever I think of Canada, one of the first things that comes to my mind is beer. You remember the movie "Strange Brew" right?

Bob and Doug in the Great White North

The Canadians are proud of their breweries and rightly so! This the land of Molson and Labatt. Where I come from you are either a Molson drinker or a Labatt drinker. My family was a Labatt family. There wasn't a family gathering that didn't include Labatt Blue and this was especially true of summer. During the summer, one of my family's favourite things to do was to boil some brats in a few bottles of Blue and then toss them on the grill.

Labatt Blue Brats on Grill

We'd then put them on good potato rolls and slather course grained mustard. We'd then sit down with a bottle of cold Labatt Blue, a big spoonful of potato salad and enjoy the setting Northern Michigan sun.

Labatt Blue Brats

Everything about this meal screams summer to me.

The other dish that says Canada to me is Tourtiere. Tourtiere is a traditional pork pie from Quebec that is served during the Christmas holidays. But, in my family, tourtiere would make its appearance as the first sign of fall. My grandmother on my father's side had family roots in far eastern Ontario and she would fix tourtiere on cold and dreary days to bring a bit of the holidays into the house.

Tonight my awesome neighbor Chris, who is in the throes of discovering his inner cook, made a version of tourtiere that I'm calling Chris' Connecticut Tourtiere.

Chris and His Tourtiere

He made it to share with me and our other neighbor, Erica. It was delicious and spicy and despite the heat of the day, was refreshing with a glass of red wine. I'm hoping that Chris' version of tourtiere is on our house menu often.

Tourtiere Pie

Chris' Connecticut Tourtiere

1 frozen deep dish 9" pie crust
1lb spicy Italian sausage
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb mushrooms
1 cup shallots, sliced
1/2 cup red wine
3 Tbsp Worchester sauce
3/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Brown sausage, drain and set aside. Wipe excess grease from pan and add olive oil. Saute sliced mushrooms and shallots until golden brown and add back in sausage. Add wine and Worchester sauce and cook for 2 -4 minutes. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Place in pie crust and top with cheese. Bake for 15 minutes until crust is golden brown. Serve hot.