As a child, I made summer visits to rural New Brunswick. A favourite aunt and uncle lived just outside Fredericton. They were avid gardeners and grew so many vegetables in New Brunswick’s rich soil that they could can much of their harvest for year-round consumption.
My aunt would pry the lids off Mason jars containing everything from rhubarb chutney to runner beans, usually to augment a buffet laid on for visiting relatives or neighbours.
I cherish those taste memories of the preserves, newly harvested vegetables, fresh pork, plump chickens, rich seafood and baked delicacies–like wild blueberry pie.
Many of the recipes in Flavours of New Brunswick, by Karen Powell, might have been made by my aunt Mabel, or the thousands of other cooks who’ve made their own versions of the book’s Fundy Fog Pea Soup, Hearty Lobster Chowder and Fricot à la Poulet since that first cooking kettle hissed over the dancing yellow flames of a crackling fire on the Saint John River shore.
Ninety-five percent of the dishes in Flavours of New Brunswick will appeal to most palates. A handful may not be your cup of tea.
Still, it’s gems like the warming Winter Corn Chowder, Stuffed BBQ Salmon and Autumn Apple Crisp that will win over most. Some, like me, may confess a weakness for the unconventional Apple Oatmeal Deep Dish Pie (with Skor bars).
Flavours of New Brunswick serves as a useful resource for newly minted home cooks, especially ones with an interest in honest, traditional New Brunswick dishes. Powell’s book is a road map, taking the culinary traveller on a trip through junctures in time when home cooking was practiced three times a day, seven days a week, and when food was unabashedly tempting, always delicious and guilt-free.
Here’s a sample recipe from Flavours of New Brunswick for “Blueberry Cod on Citrus Rice”
2 pounds of fresh cod fillets, cleaned
2 cups large fresh blueberries, rinsed
1 cup apple juice
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup lime juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400
Place fish in 9 x 13 casserole dish. Cover and set aside in refrigerator.
Mix all remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Remove from heat and mash berries with a fork or potato masher. Strain the mixture through a sieve or cheesecloth, reserving 1/2 cup for the citrus rice recipe, below. Pour the rest over the fish.
Bake at 400 for 25 minutes.
Ingredients (citrus rice):
2 cups uncooked rice
1/2 cup reserved berry mixture
fresh berries and/or lemon slices, for garnish
Prepare rice according to package directions, substituting 1/2 cup of the liquid required with the reserved berry mixture.
Fluff with a fork, and serve with fresh blueberries and lemon slices.
Flavours of New Brunswick