I never really knew where this recipe originated from, or if anyone other than my family ever made it, or something similar. So, before writing this post, I decided to do some investigating. Chiard (pronounced 'shaw') is an old French Canadian dish. It's also called pate a la rapure, by the Acadians. It is slang for 'grub' and 'mess' or 'foul up'. Which really explains the dish, since it doesn't logically make sense; but it sure does taste good. Diced salt pork was once a favorite ingredient, which explains why we make it with bacon. Other recipes call for a mixture of ground meat, onion and salt pork; so I think 'our recipe' is better, LOL. Though I'm sure some onion fried up with the bacon would be really good.
I grew up eating this at least once a week. Back then bacon was less expensive than it is today. And what's cheaper than potatoes and carrots? I never thought it weird, that my family were the only ones I knew that ate Chiard. As I grew older, I thought it was perhaps a recipe my great grandmother, or grandmother had invented. It wasn't until last night, that I found out that similar recipes have been around for a LONG time. I'm not sure when my family decided to start adding dumplings to the dish, but I love them. The way they soak up the bacon fat, once you plate the dish.... YUM!!
Hubby wasn't too sure about this dish when I first made it. He expected, almost demanded, there be some sort of sauce with it. In true French Canadian fashion, I enjoy mine with ketchup. French gravy, as Hubby would say. After eating it a few times, it has now become a family favorite. He gets quite upset if I make some and there is none left, when he gets home from work. The kids love it too and I think it's a rather kid friendly meal. Bacon, potatoes and carrots aren't usually foods kids avoid. I try not to make it too often, since it isn't the most figure friendly of dishes, but when I get the hankering, you can bet Chiard will be on the table.
1 Lb bacon, cut in half
5-6 very large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
salt and pepper
In a large soup pot or dutch oven, cook bacon (all together), until slightly browned. Leave it in the pot, making sure it is in an even layer. Layer the carrots and potatoes over the bacon and season with salt and pepper. Add about 1/2-1C of water; to just about halfway up the carrots and potatoes (you want to steam the potatoes and prevent the bacon from burning, but at the same time, you don't want soup). Simmer, covered, over med low heat until the potatoes and carrots are just tender. Spoon dumplings batter (egg size amounts) over the potatoes. Place lid on the pot and cook for 10-15 minutes longer, until dumplings are cooked through.
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C milk (more if needed)
Mix all ingredients in a bowl, adding more milk if needed. The batter should be the consistency of very thick muffin batter.