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Cure Montreal Homesickness with these Quebecois-Inspired Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving will likely be the first weekend home for those brave Montrealers who ventured to exotic (i.e. Ontario) locales for university. Your returning sisters/friends/cousins are probably still processing the bizarre food and drink habits of that strange province to the west. They’re bewildered that the so-called poutine is made with grated cheese (instead of the mandatory cheese curds); shocked that dépanneurs (ahem, “corner stores”) don’t sell beer, and horrified that said beer costs $12 for a 6-pack, when the same money would get you 15 bottles of delicious Tremblay.

Luckily, you can help cure these cases of gustatory homesickness with these Thanksgiving recipes, inspired by La Belle Province’s treasured culinary traditions.

Mashed Potato Poutine

Ok, so you could get all fancy and make the gravy yourself. But, since we’ve already done away with the frites, for authenticity’s sake, spring for a can of sauce brune, preferably St-Hubert. And remember, when it comes to curds, the squeakier the better.

5 medium potatoes, mashed
2 cups of cheese curds, available near the cash register at all fine dépanneurs
1 can (approx. 400mL) or sachet of sauce brune/poutine sauce  

Prepare can/sachet of sauce brune according todirections. Pour atop mashed potatoes and cheese curds. Yeah, that’s pretty much it.

Blanche de Chambly-and-Herb Infused Turkey

Though I’m partial to Blanche de Chambly, Cheval Blanc, or any other wheat beer will do.

1 (14- to 16-pound) fresh turkey

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Blanche de Chambly-and-Herb Baste:

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 (341 mL) bottle Blanche de Chambly
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon fresh minced thyme
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Discard the neck and gizzard (or save for stock). Save the heart and liver for the gravy. Rinse the turkey with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the skin and cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper. Truss the turkey and place it on a rack in a large roasting pan with a tight-fitting lid. 

2) To make the baste: In a medium saucepan, heat the butter on low heat until almost fully melted. Add the beer and continue heating. Add the rosemary, sage and thyme, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and mustard. Keep the mixture warm on the stove as the turkey is roasting, using it to baste the turkey every 30 minutes. 

3) Roast the turkey for 45 minutes to 1 hour, basting with the beer baste every 15 minutes. Remove the lid from the pan and roast for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh reads 175 to 180 degrees. If the turkey browns too quickly, cover with aluminum foil. Let the bird rest for 20 to 30 minutes on a cutting board before carving. 

Adapted from the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Maple Cranberry Sauce

You can’t have a Quebecois-themed meal without a little sirop. This recipe combines the sweet stuff with one of Quebec’s signature fruits.

1 (12 ounce) package fresh or frozen cranberries
1 1/2 cups maple syrup
1/3 cup water 

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

From AllRecipes.com

Tarte au Sucre

No adaptations here: this one is a Quebec classic. Apparently this pie is what bûcherons would eat after long days of logrolling.

4 cups (1L) brown sugar
3 tablespoons flour
10 tablespoons butter
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups (500 mL) evapoarated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla 
4 unbaked tart shells 

1) Combine brown sugar and flour. Add milk, melted butter, eggs and vanilla. Mix well.

2) Add to tart shells. Bake at 350F for around 30 to 35 minutes.

From Recettes du Quebec

~ Heidi Craig

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