Wednesday, 11 April 2012

"J" is for Jiggs Dinner & Joy

Jiggs Dinner is about as traditional a meal as you can get in Newfoundland & Labrador.  Not great for the cholesterol and calories,but DELICIOUS!!  I really don't know if there is much that taste better.  Imagine a beautiful piece of salted beef boiled in the pot with a peas pudding in a bag, all the vegetables and, if you're lucky, dumplings for dessert---Mmmm-mm!

I remember for us kids, mom would always cook loads of potatoes, because we thought we didn't like carrot, turnip and cabbage very well--ha ha.  She would mash our potatoes with lots of butter and we would get the leanest of the salt meat and some roasted chicken or beef.  Mom always did a roast of pork or beef  or a chicken with the Jiggs Dinner so there was gravy.  When I look back on it now, she must have been a magician because we all  had tons of whatever we wanted--then from the leftovers, she would make potato salads with the cold chicken or beef ....and lots of that as well.  How did she do that with just one chicken or roast??  I guess we can chalk it up to another magical memory of childhood.


  • Jiggs Dinner
  • 1 (3 pound) boneless corned beef brisket
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow split peas
  • 1 large head cabbage, quartered
  • 1 medium turnip, peeled and cubed
  • 6 carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
  • 6 large potatoes, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
  • Dumplings:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup water
  1. Cover the corned beef with cold water and soak overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Drain the beef and place in a large pot. Cover with fresh water. Place the yellow peas in a triple layer of cheesecloth and tie securely. Place the bag in the pot with the beef. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 hours.
  3. After 2 hours, add the chopped cabbage, turnip, and carrots to the pot. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the potatoes and simmer an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until all of the vegetables are fork tender.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 with the beef and vegetables. 
  8. Sometimes the dumplings are used as a dessert with fresh partridge berry jam or heated molasses - or can be eaten with the cooked dinner

Do any of you have a traditional meal local to your region??  I'd love to hear about it.


  1. cute letter "J"!

  2. If you add beer and subtract the dumplings that would be a regular St Patty days meal for our family.

  3. Cool--do you guys have the salt beef too??

  4. We own a restaurant in the midwest and one of our most popular breakfast meals is biscuits and gravy. We serve breakfast all day and another favorite is corned beef hash. I love corned beef on a reuben sandwich but hash looks like Alpo dog food. We sell tons of mashed potatoes and gravy, meatloaf, turkey dinners, etc. We call it comfort food.

  5. And Comfort Food it is!!! Ymmm---another big hit in our area is fries, dressing and gravy. ;o)