A Quick Primer on Canadian Comfort Food
During times of uncertainty like the current climate, comfort food is often desired. In Canada, our favourite foods warm us up, reward us, and get us through both fun and not-so-happy days.
Here is a list of some of the main foods Canadians turn to when a dose of comfort is needed.
A delicious hot dish of French fries covered in rich, brown gravy and cheese curds, Poutine is at the top of many people's lists of favourites. Topping alternatives like chili, smoked meat, or fried egg make it easy to personalise.
A smoky fish chowder immediately brings to mind lazy days spent at the beach. Canadians like it thick and creamy with chopped onions, carrots, potatoes, and kale for a hearty stick-to-your-ribs treat.
This spicy meat pie is a French Canadian concoction made with ground pork, ground beef, or lamb. The filling can have vegetables added to it and it contains a spice mixture of pepper, cinnamon, thyme, allspice, nutmeg, and ground ginger.
Pierogies are tasty little dumplings stuffed with ingredients like potatoes and cheese or mushrooms and sour cream. They are either boiled or fried and can be eaten alone or added to a casserole or stew.
Split Pea Soup
Even those who may say they don't like green peas love split pea soup. Simmered for hours with a meaty ham bone, this delicious soup also contains carrots and potatoes and goes well with a crusty loaf of bread.
Mac & Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is the comfort food of all comfort foods. Whether made simply with cheddar cheese or a blend of exotic cheeses, it is delightful as both a main entrée or as a side dish. A favourite of both young and old, mac and cheese is delicious with any kind of ground meat or vegetables added to it.
A good lobster roll begins with the freshest of ingredients. A live lobster is boiled to perfection and then the tender tail meat is stuffed into a buttery, toasted roll along with mayo, green onions, and chopped romaine lettuce.
Cod cakes take a bit of time-consuming preparation, but they are more than worth the wait. Cod fillets and russet potatoes are boiled together, mashed, and then formed into puck-sized patties. They are fried golden brown and served with relish or a Dijon mustard sauce.
Sugar pie is made with sweet maple syrup mixed with cream and eggs. Served cold, it goes well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
This yummy dessert is prepared by cooking down blueberries or blackberries with sugar and then topping them with soft, steamed dumplings. A dollop of fresh whipped cream goes on top.
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Few things are as comforting as a grilled cheese sandwich. Easy to make and a pleasure to eat, a gooey grilled cheese is enjoyed at all times of the day and night.
Beaver Tail Pastry
Beaver tails are a fried dough pastry that are pulled so they are long and flat, and resemble the tail of a beaver. They are typically topped with an icing either made of cinnamon and sugar, to nutella, maple flavoring, or even whipped cream.
Maple Syrup (and pancakes)
If you aren't aware, Canadians are pretty proud of the maple tree. The leaf is on the flag, and Canadian maple syrup is a pantry staple. Maple syrup and pancakes is a favourite dish throughout all provinces, from coast to coast.
Fish and Chips
Fried and crispy lake fish paired with chips (or "french fries" to some of our southern friends) is a classic Canadian comfort food. If you're looking for a true authentic experience, forego the ketchup and top your chips with malted vinegar instead.
Salmon is a home-caught delicacy that is often served for dinner. There are many ways to prepare it, but if you ask anyone, they'll tell you that it simply tastes better if it's freshly caught from a Canadian river.
Winter is long and hard up here in the great white north. Ice wine is a sweet dessert wine that is famous in Canada, because it's made from grapes that are picked while frozen. When grapes reach about -7 degrees celsius, they are plucked from the vine and pressed while still frozen. The result is a delicious treat that is perfect to enjoy year round for an after-dinner treat.
Smoked Meat Sandwich
For all our Montreal friends, the smoked meat sandwich is their contribution to Canadian comfort foods. It's made with salted brisket meat allowed to cure with spices, and served hot (and open-faced) with mustard and on rye bread.
For our French speaking Quebec friends, the Pouding Chômeur (or "poor man's pudding") is a cake batter with a hot syrup or caramel poured on top before baking. The cake rises through the liquid, which pools at the bottom for a carmelized treat.
The Halifax Donair is legendary. It has thin slices of meat, layered on a Lebanese style pita. It's topped with tomato and onion, and drizzled with a sweet garlic sauce.
Peameal Bacon Sandwich
Hailing from Toronto, the peameal bacon sandwich has peameal bacon on a kaiser roll, and is sometimes served with mustard and a variety of other toppings. Head over to Toronto's St. Lawrence Market to truly experience this meal the authentic way.
Now that you know our favourite comfort foods, we'd love to hear in the comment section which ones you love the most.