Sunday, August 16, 2020

Pate Chinois

Chinese Pie is a Quebecois dish that was brought to New England cities where French-Canadians came to work in the mills.  It has cheap, tasty ingredients and so caught on for school lunches, especially with ketchup.  I believe it has spread to the rest of the country by now.  I always wondered what the heck the Chinese had to do with the dish, as the potato and corn are New World foods, and beef is less-often used in China.

When the Canadian railroads were being extended westward, there were English owners and bosses who hired Chinese cooks.  They wanted Shepherd's pie, but lamb (or even mutton) was harder to get, and the proper vegetables such as peas and carrots were in less supply as well, so beef and corn it was.  The French Canadian workers loved it and brought it home. It came to New England soon after.


RichardJohnson said...

I believe it has spread to the rest of the country by now.
I grew up in New England. Never heard of it until today. The difference being there were not a lot of French Canadians where I lived. Some, though.

james said...

Myles Teddywedgers (Myles was a member of our church and died a few years ago) sells some variants on the Cornish pasties, including one that used corn as well as ground beef and mashed potatoes--it looks like the same thing, but in a pastie. (They also sell bacon, veggie, and even pizza pasties these days.)

Sponge-headed ScienceMan said...

My French Canadian mother used to make Chinese Pie (Shepherd Pie really), but I don't recall any other friends or family who used that term. It's not especially common.

The Neophyte said...

My mother was a French Canadian (from a few generations before) New Englander but she always called it Shepherds Pie and it was generally ground beef, corn, and potatoes. It's the same way I make it today. Always thought other people were weird to put peas on it, now I find out I'm the weird one.