…let me count the ways I can use bannock in a recipe. Bannock is a quick flat bread. Its origins are linked to Scotland but Aboriginal Peoples of North America also lay claim to this type of fry bread. Bannock can be cooked on a griddle, fried or, in my case, baked in the oven. For Canada Day this year I thought I would list a number of different ways you can incorporate bannock into your Meatless Monday.
Canada is known for being officially bilingual (French and English) as well as a multicultural mosaic. This can be reflected in the food where each component represents the marrying of regional ingredients and cultural traditions. Here are some uses for bannock that take into consideration different parts of the country.
This sweet treat is said to originate in Nanaimo in beautiful British Colombia. This is the province that brought Greenpeace and PETA activist Pamela Anderson to the world. The original is a yellow custard layer sandwiched between a chocolate ganache topping and a coconut, cocoa powder and nut base. Use bannock as the base and layer with a thick custard drizzled with dark chocolate. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and coconut. This recipe can easily be made vegan as custard powder typically is egg-free.
As previously stated in our June 24th post on Quebec, poutine is a late-night snack gone viral. Nowadays people are reinventing this Quebec dish to make gourmet and eclectic variations. For the bannock version make a poutine pizza. Base: bannock; Sauce: mushroom gravy; Topping: thinly sliced potatoes and rennet-free cheese curds or salted tofu ‘cheese’. Bake until cheese is melted.
“Alligator pie, alligator pie: if I don’t get some I think I’m going to die...”
This is a quote from one of my childhood memories, a poem written by Dennis Lee entitled Alligator Pie. It went through my head as I was concocting fiddlehead pie. Fiddleheads are a type of fern and can be found in eastern Canada. They are available during springtime and eaten similar to okra or asparagus. For the bannock pie, place flattened round of bannock in an oiled pie plate. Steam fiddleheads and mix with cooked onions. Spoon over bannock dough. Pour a custard of eggs and rice/almond/soy milk (whatever your pleasure) on top. Bake in oven until eggs set. For a vegan version, purée silken tofu and thin with some non-dairy milk to make the ‘custard’. For seasoning, try lemon and thyme with salt and pepper.
Another memory from childhood is Nova Scotia baked beans. These are made with navy beans, molasses, brown sugar and mustard. Traditionally some form of pig is used (bacon, ham, ham hock) for salting. Substitute with soy sauce, marmite or other salty condiment for flavour and bake beans as per recipe. Use the bannock to dip into the sweet brown sauce that is created by slow cooking this dish in a crock pot.
Another Quebec specialty is split pea soup. We featured this in a previous post on Meatless Monday and Quebec. Bake bannock in oven until crisp. When cool, break into little pieces and fry in some oil and seasoning. Use as croutons to top the split pea soup.
With its cold climate and influx of immigrants from Eastern Europe the Prairie provinces in central Canada serve up hearty stews and perogies as quintessential dishes. For stew use bannock dough to form dumplings and plop on top of stew during latter stages of cooking. For the perogies, roll a thin piece of bannock dough and fill with mashed potatoes, chives and vegetarian bacon. Roll up like a dumpling and fry.
I think one of the few things that the majority of Canadians across the country share are pancakes for breakfast. Whether it be free ones served up during the Calgary Stampede or an easy meal to appease the sweet tooth during the morning meal pancakes seem ideally suited to bannock. Indulge a little. Fry the bannock dough and slather with butter or non-dairy spread. As that is melting pour on true maple syrup (not the fake sutff i.e. corn syrup with maple flavouring) and top with wild blueberries.
Happy Canada Day July 1st!