Jiggs dinner is a traditional meal commonly prepared and eaten on Sundays in many regions around the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Probably named after a comic strip character, the dish is sometimes spelled Jigs dinner or Jigg’s dinner. Alternately, it’s possible that the meal is named after the cod-jiggers of Newfoundland who used to eat this meal. This meal may also be called boiled dinner by some Newfoundlanders.
Ingredients and Preparation of Jiggs Dinner
Traditionally, the Jiggs Dinner has several components.
- The meat part of the dish consists of fatty cut of trimmed naval beef or cured beef also called as salt meat. This may be replaced by salted pork or salted spare ribs. The salted meat is simmered in water for two to three hours to soften it and to cut down the salt content. Along with the salt beef, a few people like to include roasted meats like whole roasted chicken, roast pork or corned beef briskets.
- This is accompanied with fresh roasted veggies. The most common vegetables that are served alongside include boiled or roasted cabbage, potatoes (usually local blue spuds), carrots, onions, rutabagas, turnips and their greens, onions, Brussels sprouts, and parsnips.
- Pease Pudding is cooked separately in a pudding bag by simmering yellow split peas in the bag. Once the peas are soft, they are drained and seasoned with salt and butter and served alongside.
- Figgy duff or bread pudding is an essential component of the meal. It is made by combining allspice, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, lard, molasses, brown sugar, egg, milk, and water. The dough is then steamed and served with dinner or as a dessert after the Jigg Dinner accompanied with cream.
- Toutons are an optional component of the dish. Bread dough is pan-fried in bacon grease and served as an accompaniment with jams and preserves.
- Popular accompaniments to the meal include pickled beets, mustard pickles, gravy and cream.
The leftover vegetables from a Jiggs dinner are often mixed into a pan and fried to make a dish known as “cabbage hash” or “corned beef and cabbage hash.”
It is also a traditional Saint Patrick’s Day meal for Irish-Canadians. Many restaurants serve Jiggs dinner on and near March 17. It differs from other forms of the meal in that it includes corned beef, carrots, cabbage and potatoes.
Newfoundland Jigg's Dinner
- 1.4 kg boneless corned beef brisket
- 1½ cups yellow split peas
- 1 large head cabbage, quartered
- 1 medium turnip, peeled and cubed
- 6 medium carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
- 6 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ cups plain flour
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ cup water
- Cover the corned beef with cold water and soak overnight in the refrigerator.
- Drain the beef and place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with fresh water. Place the yellow peas in a triple layer of cheesecloth and tie securely. Place the bag inside the Dutch oven with the beef. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, add the chopped cabbage, turnip, and carrots to the pot. Simmer for 25 minutes.
- Add the chopped potatoes and simmer an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until all of the vegetables are fork tender.
- While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the dumpling dough as follows: Combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder in a bowl, then add the water a little bit at a time to make a pasty dough. You may not need to add all of the water. Divide the dough into 6 balls. Be careful not to over-handle the dough.
- During the last 5 to 10 minutes of simmering the vegetables, place the dough balls on top of the vegetables and cover with a lid. Allow the dumplings to steam in the pot for 7 minutes.
- When the dumplings are cooked through, remove all ingredients from the pot and arrange on a warm serving platter. Remove the cooked peas from the cheesecloth bag and mash with the butter and black pepper. Serve alongside the beef and vegetables.
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