If there’s any tradition in Quebec that’s here to stay, no doubt it’s eating at a sugar shack during sugaring off season!
Making their first appearance in Quebec back in the 19th century, sugar shacks today offer a variety of dishes and traditional activities all related to the maple harvest. It’s a deeply rooted Quebec tradition heralding the arrival of spring, and a moment of pure joy you can easily recreate at home!
Here’s a sugar shack menu worthy of the greatest sugar bush that is sure to please everyone at your table.
Take out the maple syrup!
The experience begins with a steamy and comforting old-fashioned pea soup. It’s no wonder that back in the day, Quebecers looked forward to warming up to this soup!
Next comes thickly-sliced ham, a tradition that’s never been outdated! Soaked in maple syrup, which gives it all its taste, this ham is truly delicious served with creamy mashed potatoes.
Following closely is a recipe that varies depending on the region, but the joy it brings whenever you take a bite is the same across the province! Tourtière is a sugar shack staple, especially when served with country-style fruit ketchup.
Don’t forget a savoury tart that everyone loves—quiches taste divine with maple syrup! If you decide to go with an omelet instead, beat egg whites until soft peaks form before adding to egg yolks for a mouth-watering soufflé omelet!
Fortunately, the famous oreilles de crisse a.k.a pig’s ears, are not real ears! Simply fry salt pork with rind for about 15 minutes over medium-low heat and drain on a paper towel—voilà, you’ve got some crispy golden bites!
And leave room for baked beans—another ultimate sugar shack must! Dust off your grandma’s recipe to make this delicious dish from white beans, salt pork, molasses and maple syrup!
For dessert, treat yourself to a decadent pouding chômeur! Its name comes from a time when this dessert didn’t cost much to make, but it provides just as much eating pleasure today with its rich flavour and delightful texture!
For seconds, indulge your sweet tooth with another, more unique dessert: maple syrup fondue! Dip in fruits, donut chunks or marshmallows, or use as a sauce over ice cream!
And last but not least…
It drips from scarves, sticks to noses, and sweetens every smile: maple taffy—the undisputed star of every sugar shack! There’s no need to be hungry to eat some, and you don’ need any special material to prepare it.
- For best results, use light maple syrup.
- Pour a can of maple syrup into a pot with sides buttered about 2.5 cm (1 in.) from the top.
- Bring to a boil over medium-low heat and let simmer until syrup reaches 115°C (240°F).
- Press snow or finely crushed ice into a large pan; then pour long strips of taffy over snow.
- Wait a few seconds; then roll taffy around a wooden stick or spoon and enjoy!
This fun-filled meal rooted in some of Quebec’s greatest ancestral culinary traditions is one everyone will enjoy!