Authentic Canadian Fish and Brewis Recipe - Traditional Newfoundland Dish

Fish and Brewis

Authentic Canadian Fish and Brewis Recipe - Traditional Newfoundland Dish
Region / culture: Canada | Preparation time: 8-10 hours | Cooking time: 30-40 minutes | Servings: 4-6


Fish and Brewis
Fish and Brewis

Fish and Brewis is a traditional Newfoundland dish that combines salt cod, hard bread, and salt pork to create a hearty and flavorful meal. This dish has been enjoyed by generations of Newfoundlanders and is a staple in many households.


Fish and Brewis has its roots in the fishing communities of Newfoundland, where salt cod was a common ingredient due to the abundance of fish in the waters surrounding the island. Hard bread, also known as hard tack, was a staple food for sailors and fishermen, as it could be stored for long periods of time without spoiling.


drawn butter

How to prepare

  1. Break each bread into 2 or 3 pieces and soak for 6–8 hours, or overnight, in cold water. Use a generous amount of water as it will be absorbed.
  2. Soak salt Cod in a separate bowl of cold water for 6–8 hours, or overnight. Change the water once or twice if you prefer less saltiness.
  3. If using fresh fish, add 1 tsp of salt to the water when cooking. In the morning, change the water on the Cod and simmer gently until tender, for 5–10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and drain. Skin, bone, and flake the fish. Place the hard bread in a saucepan with enough water to cover it, using the water in which it soaked. Heat slowly just until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and drain immediately.
  5. Add the cooked, flaked fish and mix well. Keep it hot.
  6. Fry the salt Pork until golden brown and crisp.
  7. These scrunchions and fat may be poured over the fish and brewis mixture when served, or mixed with it. Serve it hot.
  8. Drawn butter is sometimes used instead of scrunchions.

drawn butter

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add chopped onions and fry gently until lightly golden and soft, about 10 minutes.
  2. Do not brown the onions.
  3. Sprinkle flour over the onions and mix thoroughly.
  4. Remove from heat. Gradually, while stirring, add half of the water.
  5. Place it back on heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  6. Beat until shiny and smooth.
  7. Slowly add the remaining water or until the desired consistency is reached.
  8. Cook over low heat for 2–3 minutes. Serve it over fish and brewis.


  • Substitute fresh fish for salt cod for a milder flavor.
  • Use bacon or pancetta instead of salt pork for a different twist on the dish.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Soak the hard bread and salt cod in cold water for several hours or overnight to remove excess saltiness.

- Use fresh fish if available, and add a little salt to the cooking water for flavor.

- Fry the salt pork until golden brown and crisp for added texture and flavor.

- Serve the dish hot with drawn butter or scrunchions for a traditional touch.

Serving Suggestions

Serve Fish and Brewis hot with drawn butter or scrunchions on top.

- Pair with a side of pickles or coleslaw for a balanced meal.

Cooking Techniques

Simmer the salt cod gently until tender to avoid overcooking.

- Fry the salt pork until crispy for added texture and flavor.

Ingredient Substitutions

Use gluten-free bread or crackers as a substitute for hard bread.

- Substitute vegetable oil for butter in the drawn butter for a dairy-free option.

Make Ahead Tips

Soak the hard bread and salt cod overnight to save time on the day of cooking.

- Cook the salt cod in advance and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Fish and Brewis in individual bowls topped with drawn butter and crispy salt pork. - Garnish with fresh parsley or chives for a pop of color.

Pairing Recommendations

Pair Fish and Brewis with a crisp white wine or a cold beer for a refreshing contrast to the rich flavors of the dish.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

- Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through before serving.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

- A serving of Fish and Brewis contains approximately 500-600 calories, depending on portion size and ingredients used.


- Hard bread: 4 hard bread cakes contain approximately 80g of carbohydrates.

- Flour in drawn butter: 2 tbsp of flour contain approximately 12g of carbohydrates.


- Salt pork: 1 cup of finely diced salt pork contains approximately 80g of fat.

- Butter in drawn butter: 0.25 cup of butter contains approximately 46g of fat.


- Salt cod: 2 lb of salt cod contain approximately 200g of protein.

Vitamins and minerals

Onions in drawn butter: 2 medium onions provide a good source of vitamin C and other essential nutrients.


This recipe contains gluten from the hard bread and flour in the drawn butter.

- It also contains dairy from the butter in the drawn butter.


Fish and Brewis is a high-protein, high-fat dish that is rich in flavor and traditional Newfoundland ingredients.


Fish and Brewis is a classic Newfoundland dish that combines salt cod, hard bread, and salt pork for a hearty and flavorful meal. With a few simple ingredients and traditional cooking techniques, you can enjoy this delicious dish at home.

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the sense of wonder I felt when I first saw this recipe for Fish and Brewis. It was many years ago, when I was just a young girl living in a small fishing village on the east coast of Newfoundland. My grandmother, who was known for her incredible cooking skills, had learned the recipe from her own grandmother, who in turn had learned it from her mother before her. It was a recipe that had been passed down through the generations, and now it was my turn to learn the secrets of making this traditional dish.

I watched in awe as my grandmother prepared the ingredients for the Fish and Brewis. She explained to me that the dish was made using salt cod, hard bread, onions, and pork fat, all cooked together in a pot until it formed a delicious and hearty meal. The salt cod had to be soaked overnight to remove the excess salt, while the hard bread had to be soaked in water until it softened.

As my grandmother worked, she told me stories of her own childhood, of the long winter nights spent huddled around the stove, eating Fish and Brewis and listening to the wind howl outside. She talked about the sense of community that came with sharing a meal like this, of how it brought people together and warmed their hearts.

I listened intently, soaking in every word and every movement as my grandmother cooked. I could see the love and care she put into every step, from chopping the onions to frying the pork fat to mixing it all together in the pot. She showed me how to layer the ingredients just right, so that each bite would be a perfect balance of flavors and textures.

When the Fish and Brewis was finally ready, my grandmother served it up in steaming bowls, garnished with fresh parsley and a sprinkle of black pepper. The aroma that wafted up from the pot was intoxicating, a heady mix of fish and onions and pork fat that made my mouth water in anticipation.

I took my first bite, and it was like nothing I had ever tasted before. The saltiness of the cod was tempered by the sweetness of the onions, while the crispy bits of pork fat added a satisfying crunch. The hard bread had soaked up all the flavors, turning into a soft and savory pudding that melted in my mouth.

I looked up at my grandmother, tears welling in my eyes. I had never tasted anything so delicious, so comforting, so deeply satisfying. In that moment, I knew that I had found my calling. I wanted to be just like my grandmother, to carry on the tradition of cooking and sharing meals that brought people together and warmed their hearts.

And so I set out on my own culinary journey, learning new recipes and techniques from anyone and everyone who would teach me. I traveled far and wide, collecting recipes from all corners of the world and adding my own twist to them. But no matter how far I roamed, my heart always led me back to that little fishing village on the east coast of Newfoundland, to the taste of Fish and Brewis that would forever be etched in my memory.

Now, as I sit here in my own kitchen, preparing the same dish for my own grandchildren, I can't help but smile. I am passing on a tradition that has been in my family for generations, a tradition that has brought us together and filled our bellies with love and laughter. And as I watch my grandchildren take their first bite of Fish and Brewis, I know that they too will carry on this legacy, sharing the joy of cooking and eating with their own families for years to come.


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