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Just wait ‘til you smear this cretons on toast

Rebecca Firkser
June 22, 2017

At first, spreadable pork may not seem like something you’re interested in eating. Though it sounds more like a label for mystery meat, the French Canadian spreadable pork known as cretons is actually delightfully fatty spread for morning toast. Spreadable porks like 'nduja, sobrasada, and pâté (I know you’ve heard of that one) are all ideal for smearing on crusts of bread, but cretons is the only one used traditionally as a breakfast food. Cretons, a mixture of ground pork, grated onions, milk, and spices, is a type of forcemeat classically served on toast in the morning in Quebec. So if you’re getting a little tired of bacon—or just in the mood to shake things up, cretons should be your next choice.

In a large, deep skillet over medium heat, saute 1 ½ pounds ground pork (finely ground twice, if possible), breaking up the meat as you cook, until the meat is no longer pink (barely pink is OK too). 

Stir in 1 cup whole milk, 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs, 1 cup grated yellow onion, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, ½ teaspoon allspice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, continuing to break up the meat as you incorporate the new ingredients. Continue to saute for another 5-7 minutes. 

Add about ¼ cup water or chicken broth to the pan and reduce heat to low. Cover the pan with a lid and continue to cook for 1 hour stirring every 20 minutes or so. Stir in an additional 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs and a bit more water, turn the heat up to medium low and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes. 

When the liquid has evaporated, taste the mixture and add more salt and pepper if you feel the need. Let the mixture cool. If you’re really in this for the texture, you can blitz cretons in the food processor for 15-30 seconds until smoother. Try making half the batch super smooth and the other half more crumbly. Do as your heart tells you.

Meanwhile, toast a halved baguette in the oven until just starting to brown. Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard over the bread, then smear on a generous layer of cretons. Serve with sunny side up eggs, sauteed potatoes, and a plop of baked beans.

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