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Corton, French-Canadian Pork Pâté

Alexandria, Virginia

Corton is a simple pâté made of ground pork, onion, and seasonings.  It originated in French-speaking Canada and remains popular in French-Canadian parts of New England.  In Québec, it is usually called cretons and served as a side item with breakfast.  I’ve read that some New Englanders call it gorton, though I don’t know any of them.

Corton is fantastic on toast, crackers, or crostini.  My mother used to make sandwiches with it for my lunch.  Today I usually just eat it plain to save on carbs.  It is so rich in fat that it tastes almost creamy, and it is quickly filling.

Like most historic cultural foods, there are probably as many recipes for corton as there are families who love it.  I have adapted mine from the one I found in my mother’s recipe box.  I use my own fresh poultry seasoning, but you can use dried store-bought if you prefer.

Bon appetit!  



  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 lg onion, finely chopped
  • 2 lb ground pork
  • water
  • 2 tbsp fresh poultry seasoning or 1 tbsp dried
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • dash ground nutmeg
  • black pepper to taste
  • fresh rosemary, for garnish


  1. Melt butter over low heat in heavy 3-qt saucepan.

  2. Add chopped onion and sauté until fragrant, approx. 2-3 min.

  3. Add pork and blend well.

  4. Fill saucepan with water to c. ½" above pork mixture.

  5. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer two hours, stirring occasionally and breaking up any clumps.

  6. Blend in poultry seasoning, allspice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

  7. Cover and continue to simmer until water simmers away, leaving approx. ¼-½" rendered fat on top, approx. 1-2 hrs.

  8. Pour into container and let cool approx. 20-30 min. Stir to blend rendered fat through. Cover and refrigerate until fully cold and solid, preferably overnight.

  9. Garnish and serve as desired.

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