Everything Newfoundland & Labrador with its Culture, Cuisine and Traditions

Newfoundland Lost Recipes

Turnip Hash

Although we Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans call it “Turnip Hash”, it is actually made with Rutabaga.  This is one of Newfoundland’s Lost Recipes that is seldom eaten today as a main dish. In the olden-days when the winters were rough and the cupboards scarce of any type of meats, our root cellars were all we had to go to for food.

The turnip hash recipe is relatively simple; turnip (rutabaga), onion, potato and salt pork. The vegetables are boiled until tender, then mash and added to fried pork fat and onions and served hot with rashers (fried pork) Today, there are many variation of this, see below for the original recipe.

Newfoundland Recipes-Turnip Hash 1-www.saltjunk.comMakes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 med turnip, cut in cubes
  • 6 med potatoes, peeled
  • 2 tbsp pork fat (or veg oil)
  • 1 med onion, finely chopped
  • Salt & pepper

Method

Boil turnip and potatoes until tender. Drain and mash. In a skillet over med heat, fry onions in pork fat until golden brown. Add mash turnip and potato. Season to taste.  Serve as a side dish or as a meal.

bull’s eyes – candy in knobs

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Pork Belly Cracklings

Although we call it “Pork Rinds,” by name it is called “Pork Belly Cracklings.”  Other countries called it pork skins, cracklins, chicharrones, gratons, scratchings, etc. Also, some countries refer to it as “Newfoundland Scrunchions,” we all know that scrunchions are make from rendered cured or salted pork and pork belly cracklings are made from fresh pork fat with a little meat on the bottom.

Pork Belly Cracklings are pieces of pork fat and skin that have been deep fried or sometimes oven-roasted. Each country or region has their own version or variation of this delicacy.

Although the origin is unknown, it is believed that Cracklings emerged around the 1800s, in the British West Midlands. Talking with the older folks around Newfoundland & Labrador, they all say, “It was passed down from the Portuguese fishermen” who fished of NL, in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

If you look at the traditional method on how cracklings were made, it was the by-product in an attempt to render pork fat, which was the primary design. Since food was scarce, nothing was wasted or thrown out and Pork Belly Cracklings became part of a NL custom.

As stated above, rendering fat was a household tradition. Stored flat rolls of pork fat and the occasional roll of mutton, beef and sometimes seal fat were also additions to the larder.

Newfoundland Recipes-Pork Belly Cracklings2-www.saltjunk.comMakes 2 lbs

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs fatty, boneless pork belly with skin
  • 4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder (optional)
  • Salt & pepper

Method

Using a sharp knife, score pork belly skin into 1-1½ inch squares. Use score marks to cut through meat and fat underneath, resulting in 1-1½ inch cubes.

In a lg pot, add oil and place over med-high heat. Add pork cubes and stir gently, preventing clumping. Cook pork unit lightly golden brown (approx 20 minutes). Remove from pot and place on paper towels. Let cool.

Re-heat oil until very hot and again, add pork. Cook for another 3-5 minutes or until skin cracks or bubbles up. Remove cubes and place on fresh paper towels.

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