Today is Bastille Day in France. I have some great friends in France and today had me thinking about honouring the French people in a sandwich. I didn’t want to do a cliché Croque Monsieur or a baguette with brie so I thought a little deeper.
The French people are an integral part of Canada and its history. The first French settlers, Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Champlain, and their initial trade with the aboriginal peoples of the St Lawrence River valley led to permanent settlement in a harsh land that France nearly gave up on.
That settlement was in flux for more than two centuries as it was fought over by French, British and American forces. Eventually British forces took control, but the French ideologies of how to govern remained. This governing based more on peaceful negotiations was the foundation that eventually led to Canada as we know it. Canadians are better for this. We don’t generally use warfare as a problem-solver, but rather a last resort solution.
The area that became Québec, Canada’s largest French speaking region, gave us many culinary creations that remain as a part of Québec’s culinary identity today. One of my favourites is the meat spread that is most often served with your toast at breakfast, créton.
Créton is normally made with ground pork, lard, onion and spices. Today, I wanted to make a leaner version with chicken sausage. Locally produced by a passionate, organic pig, chicken and beef farmer, this also harkens back to the French’s original agrarian roots when they first settled Canada.
As for the sandwich, using my créton made of chicken sausage, I wanted to layer it into a club sandwich to show the depth of the French history in Canada. Thank you, France for helping make Canada what it is today and have a Happy Bastille Day!!
Chicken Sausage Créton Club Sandwich with Maple Mustard
For the Maple Mustard:
100g/4 oz yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup (I use an Amber maple syrup because it has a more intense flavour)
1/4 cup water
Place all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor and purée for 4-5 minutes or until thickened, but still retaining some grainy elements from the cracked mustard seeds. Set aside.
For the Chicken Sausage Créton:
1 tsp oil
100g/4 oz chicken rosemary sausage (or your favourite sausage), crumbled
1 small summer onion (with its green part), finely chopped (or use 1 small regular onion plus 2 green onions)
1 cup chicken stock (I use a homemade chicken stock that is heavy on the bay leaf so I don’t generally need extra salt)
1/2 cup milk
In a medium pan over medium heat, add the oil and crumbled sausage meat. Sauté for a minute or two, only to lightly cook the sausage meat, but not brown. Add the white part of the summer onion and sauté for another 2-3 minutes to soften the onion.
Add the chicken stock and milk and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Take off the lid, increase the heat to medium and simmer to reduce all but 1/4 cup of the liquid. Stir in the green parts of the summer onion (or the green onions).
Transfer the mixture to a blender and purée until smooth. Set aside.
For the sandwich:
6 slices whole wheat sandwich bread, toasted
Prepared Maple Mustard
Prepared Chicken Sausage Créton
1-1/2 cups frisée lettuce
4 cocktail tomatoes, thickly sliced
4 slices of bacon, fried until crisp
On two of the toasted bread slices, divide the Chicken Sausage Créton and spread it liberally. Top it with the frisée. Spread the Maple Mustard on both sides of two slices of toasted bread. Place on top of the frisée. Lay the tomato slices on the bread over the frisée, top with bacon. Spread more Maple Mustard on one side of the final two slices of toasted bread. Top the sandwich with it and slice in half. Serves 2.