Cretons – it’s a goofy food name for us Anglos. Look at it, at it looks like someone typoed “Cretin”. It’s actually pronounced something like “Cret-AWN”, and is a hugely popular breakfast food in Quebec.
I first had this when I was in my early teens, visiting my father in Montreal. Hated it! The spiced pork pate looked really gross in the plastic tub it came in, and the idea of putting cinnamon and cloves in a savory Pâté was completely foreign to my barely developed palate.
I think the idea of it managed to confuse my actual taste buds at the time, because – as an adult – I love the stuff. I love spreading meat on toast for breakfast – cretons actually comes second to my all time favorite breakfast: Haggis on a toasted bagel.
Cretons is a lot easier to come by, though. It requires no fancy or hard to find ingredients, and whips up fairly quickly at home. This is my version, which is not only gluten free, but a bit spicier than some of the grocery store cretons I’ve had in Quebec. This makes a good amount for a family, but feel free to cut the recipe in half if needed.
2 lbs ground pork
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 cups milk
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large pan, mash together pork, onion, garlic, and spices. Add milk a little at a time, stirring to create a runny paste. Add bay leaf.
Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the milk is absorbed/cooked off. Add parsley, stir well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer cretons to a storage dish with a lid, as-is.. or put in the food processor and puree for a finer texture. Chill well, stir before serving for the first time.
Store in the fridge for up to a week.