Créton is a traditional spread made of pork, normally served at breakfast alongside your toast in Quebec. Traditionally, ground pork is simmered with onions, garlic, and other flavourings in a chicken stock/milk/lard mixture until very soft and the moisture content evaporates until you have a butter-like texture.
I always brown my meat before I do anything with it: ragu bolognaise, chili con carne, stews, etc. And when I decided to make my own version of the Québécois classic, I wanted to brown the meat first to impart a deeper flavour that the caramelized edges will bring. I also thought, “Why stop at just a one note ground pork? Why not add a bit of everyone’s favourite cured, smokey member of the porcine family, bacon?”
Well….the flavour went through the roof!
I happened to have some maple and bacon-infused sausages from a local butcher (the Ultimate Breakfast Sausage, as it’s lovingly referred to at Acme Meat Market) and decided to use that. It had ground pork, it had bacon ground into it, it had maple syrup for more depth of flavour. Sounds like the perfect way to enter the créton world on my own!
1 tsp cold pressed canola oil
1 tsp butter
150g/6 oz Ultimate Breakfast Sausage (or 100g/4 oz ground pork, 2 slices finely chopped bacon, and 2 Tbsp maple syrup)
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 cups chicken stock
2/3 cup fine dried breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp lard (or butter)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
In a wide-bottomed pan over medium high heat, add the oil and butter. When the butter melts and starts to sizzle, crumble in the sausage (or the ground pork and bacon, if going that route). Brown the meat until deeply golden in colour.
Add the chopped onions and sauté with the browned meat, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to incorporate the brown bits stuck to the bottom. Once the onions start to soften and lightly brown add the chicken stock, breadcrumbs, and lard (plus the maple syrup if you’re taking the ground pork/bacon approach). Bring to a simmer, cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring periodically and scraping the bottom to ensure nothing sticks).
After 30 minutes, remove the lid, increase the heat to medium low and stir constantly over the course of 10-15 minutes to evaporate any extra moisture until it reaches a soft, spreadable texture. Add the garlic (I like adding it fresh at the end to give it a strong garlic punch, but feel free to add it with the stock, etc to give it a milder garlic flavour) and stir it through. Serve with toasted baguette. Makes enough for 3-4 servings.