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Jiggs Dinner

Jiggs Dinner refers to a classic meal prepared in the Newfoundland, Canada and Labrador region consisting of salt beef, vegetables, pease pudding, bread pudding, roast meat and dressing. Additional condiments like pickels, butter and cranberry sauce may be served alongside. Local Newfoundlands also refer to this dish as the boiled dinner or the salt meat dinner.

 

History and Origin

There are several interesting legends surrounding the origin of the Jiggs Dinner. According to a few sources, the meal was named after a popular cartoon character called George McManus in the comic strip Bringing Up Father. Another legend states that this meal could also have been named after local fishermen or cod-jiggers that used to consume this meal after a hard days work. Nowadays, the dish is commonly prepared on Sunday as a special meal (also called skoff) and is frequently available in local Newfoundland restaurants for lunch or dinner.

 

Ingredients and Preparation

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.

 

Trivia

Leftovers from the Jiggs Dinner are usually mixed together and panfried to make a dish called as cabbage hash or corned beef and cabbage hash.