Monday, December 13, 2010

Celebrate Noël a la Québécoise

Fig.1. Chef Dany Patry of Charcuterie Noël shows off his cipaille Gaspesien.

One of the great things about having my own web-site derives from the ability to post and blog about whatever I want. I don' t have to "run it" by an editor. There's no waiting for approval. I needn't worry if it "fits with the brand", and, best of all, I could write about the people and foods that genuinely deserve to be recognized; because in the end, it's gotta' be all about the food.
I've been going to Charcuterie Noël for years. I've written about them before, I also appeared in the Gazette with them as part of the East End Tour article. Charcuterie Noël can best be described as a small, neighbourhood grocer--the kind that once frequented every neighbourhood corner. The kind our grandmothers used to send their kids running off to when they needed sugar. Besides the vast variety of imported Italian products, the incredible meat, great cheese and baked goods, and superb selection of salumi, which is all made in house, Noel began to offer a selection of prêt-à-manger. You could smell something was going on somewhere, and from that wonderful smell came forth some of the most delectable tortières and pâté à la viande I have ever tasted.
Like the kitchens in Orwell's, Down and Out in Paris and London, Noel's kitchen is small and in the basement. But what it lacks in size it makes up for in equipment, all of which is shiny, new and gleams of stainless steel.

Fig.2. Chicken pies before.

Fig.3. Chicken pies after. These are individual sizes but they're big enough for two.

Chef Dany Patry, along with Louise Vezina, are busy making Chicken pot pies, or, pâté de poulet in keeping with Quebec tradition. "When we were kids, we used to put whatever vegetables were left over" says Vezina "we also used lard to make our dough, if you did that now, people probably wouldn't want it." The dough made by Patry and Vezina is light, flaky and oh so buttery. The chicken pie, filled with chicken, vegetables, and creamy bechamel, is the ultimate comfort food. The first time I tasted it I nearly dropped my fork. The ingredients are honest, proper, and oh so yummy; if the pie wasn't so hot, I would have shoved my whole face into it. The traditional meat tortiere is filled with meat, potatoes, and spices. When asked what spices are used, Patry replies, "it's a chef's secret" he does tell me however, that the meat pies are made in the regional tradition of Bas Saint-Laurent. Other pies being made: salmon, tuna, turkey, wild boar, and the very Quebec cipaille Gaspesien, which Patry makes with lamb and potatoes. Patry also makes French onion soup, making the broth from scratch with pork bones and plenty of onions. He then pours the broth into bowls, adds the bread and cheese, and vacuum packs everything while it's still hot, and like all of Patry's meat pies, all you have to do is put it in the oven.

Fig.4. Tortiere. Noel offers both large pies and individual.

Fig.5. Tortiere de sanglier, topped with a homemade tomato chow chow.

Fig.6. French onion soup on the simmer. Patry lets it reduce which concentrates the flavor. What you don't see sitting at the bottom of the broth are several pork bones.

Fig.7. French onion soup and coquille St-Jacques. Vacuumed sealed and ready to pop in the oven.

Charcuterie Noel, 5733 Boul Leger, Montreal North. 514-323-0256

1 comment:

Tosh said...

thank for this one sandro