Saturday, May 5, 2012

Newfoundland Jigs Dinner

One of my favourite meals to cook, and more importantly eat, is Jigs Dinner. Growing up, it was always a treat to have, and now that I live away from home (luckily still in the province), I love cooking it up for any occasion. For me, it's a full sensory overload of nostalgia - the sound of the bubbling pot, the smell of it wafting through the house, the site of the peeled veggies on the counter and the anticipation of the delicious feed ahead. In my opinion it's the quintessential comfort food.

Over the years, I've discovered there are many varieties or definitions of a proper Jigs Dinner. It really seems to be dependent on where you were raised in the province, or where your parents were raised. Below is a breakdown of what I consider to be the perfect Jigs Dinner.

Jigs Dinner: Blueberry Boiled Pudding, Carrot, Turnip Tops, Salt Pork Ribs, Buttery Mashed Turnip, Potato

Jigs Dinner Breakdown:
  • Salt Beef or Salt Pork Riblets
  • Cabbage or Turnip Tops (aka Greens) 
  • Carrot
  • Turnip
  • Potato 
  • Blueberry Pudding
  • Peas Pudding

Yummy Extras:
  • Pickled Zucchini
  • Pickled Beets
  • Mustard Pickles
Note: I don't have the recipes for any of the extras as they've always been supplied by my nan or my mom, but perhaps I'll track them down, gotta learn how to make em' at some point!

Instructions: (Allow 2.5 - 3hrs for cooking)
  1. Fill large Stock Pot (20qt/22L) 1/3 of the way with water. Heat to boiling. 
  2. Add Salt Riblets to boiling water. Make sure to include 1 set per person with 1 - 2 extra (they tend to fall apart during cooking). Leave pot on medium to high heat for 30 minutes. In the meantime prep your puddings (see below for blueberry & peas pudding).
  3. Once 30 minutes are up, carefully empty boiling water into sink. Note: It's important to boil off the ribs and replace with new water, otherwise your meal will be too salty to enjoy.
  4. Refill pot 1/2 way with water and return to boiling. I like to use boiled water from the kettle to speed this process along. 
  5. Add puddings to the pot with the ribs. Tip: Position a plate at the bottom of the pot, this will ensure none of your food burns on because of direct contact with the high heat of the element. Allow puddings and ribs to boil for an hour.
  6. In the meantime peel and prep all veggies: Carrot, Turnip, Potato, Cabbage or Turnip Tops.
  7. Once the hour is up add your Carrots, Turnip and Cabbage (if using). Allow veggies to boil for 30 minutes.
  8. Now it's time to add your potatoes, these will need to cook for approximately 30 minutes or until fork is inserted and slides out easily. If you are cooking Turnip Tops wait until the final 15 minutes to add them. Note: Turnip Tops will shrink significantly so add lots to the pot.
 Serve and Enjoy!

Jigs Dinner w/ Blueberry Pudding, Pickled Zucchini, Pickled Beets, Salt Riblets, Potato, Greens, Cabbage (hidden under the greens), Buttery Mashed Turnip, Carrot and a random chicken wing (my husband typically has cooked chicken with his jigs dinner).

      Blueberry Pudding
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup blueberries (preferably frozen)

  1. In medium bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  2. Cut in butter and mix through with fingers.
  3. Add enough water to make mixture wet (start with 1 tsp and add as needed)
  4. Mix in blueberries
  5. Roll pudding into ball of dough and place in pudding bag. Tie tightly. Tip: Tie string once, wrap remaining string around neck of the bag and tie on opposite side, repeat until neck of bag is secure.
  6. Boil for 2 hrs.

     Peas Pudding
  • 1 cup yellow split peas
  1. Add peas to pudding bag and tie tightly.
  2. Boil for 2 hrs.
  3. Once ready mash together with butter and serve.


  1. do you have a recipe to make salt pork at home?

    1. Sorry, I don't, I just purchase the 'Chalkers' brand salt ribs or salt meat from the store. If you're from Newfoundland, you'll have no trouble finding it, but if you're outside the province you may have difficulties! I've done a few Google searches only to discover the sites that sell it, have inflated the prices quite a bit. It also seems harder to find the salt pork riblets, which are my fav!

  2. I have been looking for the recipe for boiled blueberry pudding for a couple of years now, my dad's step mom made it for us one day and fell in love with it. Also my mom's grandfather used to own chalkers meat lol

    1. ha! That's awesome. In the meantime, nothing worse than not being able to find a recipe you really liked - I hope it's the one you're looking for!! I think you'll like it regardless, I could honestly sit down and eat only the pudding and be perfectly satisfied.

  3. You can find Chalker's meat products in most Sobey's grocery stores outside of Newfoundland. They also sell Newfoundland Savoury, which is an essential in your stuffing if you're having chicken or turkey with your Jigg's dinner.

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  5. Same as corned beef recipe