Nanaimo bars, poutine, chicken fricot—on the global stage, the unique foods of Canada are often contemptuously overlooked. But our northern neighbor has plenty to offer beyond maple syrup (though the syrup is, hands down, the greatest).
Take, for example, the Quebecois art of open-fire feasting made famous by the folks of Montreal's Joe Beef, or the essential comforts of Acadian home cooking. We've rounded up our best Canadian recipes here.
In this classic Acadian comfort dish, savory—the pungent, peppery herb—adds a piney zest to the dumplings which puff when dropped into the simmering broth. Get the recipe for Chicken Fricot »
Ployes—traditional Acadian pancakes—are a cross between pancakes and airy crumpets, and are the best thing to spread with butter and mop up a pot of beans or fricot, traditional Acadian chicken and dumpling stew. Get the recipe for Acadian Ployes »
The now-shuttered Crystal Palace of Montreal used to serve these beef dumplings as an homage to the Quebecois favorite, peanut butter dumplings. Get the recipe for Crystal Palace's Hunan Dumplings with Peanut Sauce »
A chocolate-, almond-, and coconut-enriched graham crust supports a dense layer of buttercream topped with a slick of semisweet chocolate. Get the recipe for Nanaimo Bars »
The province's gastronomic achievements may reach dizzying heights, but Quebec may forever be known as the place where poutine began. An unabashedly savory collage of french-fried potatoes, beef gravy, and squeaky-fresh cheese curds, poutine is perhaps the ultimate late-night snack. This recipes comes to us from Toronto, Ontario native and kitchen assistant Anne-Marie White. Get the recipe for Poutine »
Spiced rum, with its notes of cloves, allspice, and vanilla, is complemented by the comforting fall flavors of spicy cinnamon, sweet, rich maple syrup, and warming apple cider. Get the recipe for the Canadian Cocktail »
The recipe for this French Canadian classic came from Saveur kitchen assistant and resident Canadian Anne-Marie White. "This is my favorite kind of rustic home cooking," she says, "and the apple cider and warming spices make it a perfect holiday dish." Get the recipe for Tourtière (Québécois Meat Pie) »
Catching the drippings trickling down from cooking birds—a trick Joe Beef's Red Morin and Dave McMillan recommend especially midway through roasting, when the fat begins to render and run more rapidly from the skin—adds lustiness to a simple dish of roasted sunchokes and mushrooms. Store-bought duck fat or lard is an easy cheat. Get the recipe for Roasted Sunchokes with Potatoes & Mushrooms »
These stuffed potatoes, which tenderize first in foil packets then crisp up in cast iron atop the coals (or in the oven), are packed with a mix of roasted chestnuts, bacon, and juicy whole clams. "Clams and potatoes are a match made in heaven," says Joe Beef's Dave McMillan of the unusual, yet welcome addition of seafood to potatoes. "Just think about clam chowder." Get the recipe for Potatoes with Chestnuts and Clams »
While we highly recommend sourcing Montauk Brewing Co.'s Driftwood Ale, any English-style pale ale will work for these herb-y steamed mussels from Eli Sussman. Don't forget plenty of crusty bread—as anyone who loves mussels will tell you, the best part of enjoying the dish is sopping up the heady, aromatic jus that collects at the bottom of the bowl. Get the recipe for Mussels with Pale Ale and Spicy Aïoli »
Fred Morin and Dave McMillan of Joe Beef in Montreal cook a mix of birds over flames and embers, using hooks and chains to suspend and rotate them (different-size birds will cook at different speeds). "The spin, the way the fat drips down, all combines to make a wonderfully burnished bird," says McMillan. Ambitious home cooks can hang birds using twine or wire over a backyard fire, or simply roast birds on a rack set in a roasting pan in the (indoor) oven. Get the recipe for Fire-Roasted Duck and Pheasant with Red Currant Jelly »