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Cipaille
Two things came together to set the menu for Christmas Eve at our place this year. Both our families were in attendance, which called for something special. Also my friend Shelley Posen has written a fantastic new children's story called the Christmas Canoe about a group of lumberjacks trapped in the bush over Christmas, and the magical visit of Santa that brings them the Reveillon they were missing back home. The reveillon is a Québecois Christmas tradition where the big party happens after returning from midnight mass. Children stay up, there is a massive feast and the gift exchange in the dead of night. I decided that we would host a Reveillon feast to celebrate the arrival of the family from out east and get the Christmas events started.

This dish, called Cipaille, is a traditional reveillon food. It's basically a deep dish meat pie full of stew – in this case of chicken, rabbit, duck and deer. The meat marinates overnight, and then you assemble the pie and bake it for 10 hours. (Through the large hole in the top, you regularly pour soup made from the bones of the meat within.) Fabulous. We also made Tourtière from turkey and duck. There were beans, two salads (cole slaw and lettuce), cranberry sauce and I bought a smoked trout besides. For dessert, sucre à la crème (more like Scottish Tablet than fudge) and a maple pie. It was a huge success, and we all fell in to bed full, tired and ready for Christmas morning today. Merry Christmas!

Posted: 2009-12-25.   Shot: .
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1/10 sec   f/5   50 mm   ISO 800