Sunday, October 7, 2012
Tourtière (French Canadian Meat Pie)
The strangest thing happened today. I woke up and was dead set on making tourtière, for no apparent reason. One of my mom's best friends is French Canadian (although she has always lived in the States) and every year for Christmas she makes the most delicious meat pie, called tourtière, that her family made growing up. She knows I love it, so she always makes an extra and has us for dinner sometime the following week so that I can enjoy it. It's become something I look forward to each winter.
A couple years ago, I decided I wanted to make it myself. I dug around looking at recipes online and emailed my mom's friend for the recipe. I had it sitting in my inbox for almost 2 years, but I never got around to making it! So this morning, I dug it up and decided I just had to make it. The Monkey Scientist thought I was crazy (Canadian food?) but he couldn't say no to meat and pie.
So I went to the store, and got everything I needed, and made two pies (one to eat, one to freeze for another night this winter). We ate and enjoyed them and the Monkey Scientist went back to studying. Then I was online and realized that - by total coincidence - it is Canadian Thanksgiving tomorrow. Although I've always known this to be a Christmas dish, it appears that it is also eaten on Thanksgiving in Canada. The Monkey Scientist told me he thinks I have a 6th sense for Canadian holidays - what do you think?
As far as the recipe goes, this one is something I will keep around. It is the perfect meal for a cold day because it's so warm - both in temperature and from the cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg and cloves. It just tastes like a Christmas night by the fire in New Hampshire to me. The Monkey Scientist and I liked it with a little Chulula on top, but it is just great on it's own as part of a holiday meal - whether it's Canadian Thanksgiving, US Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, or just a winter's night with the family.
Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating!
Tourtière (French Canadian Meat Pie)
adapted from Yankee Magazine, All Recipes, and LB
makes 2 pies
2 small potatoes, chopped
2 finely chopped onions
2 lbs ground pork
2 lbs ground beef
1 1/2 c water
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
4 c unbleached AP flour (plus more for the rolling surface)
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 c shortening
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 c ice water
1/4 c milk
1. Preheat the oven to 400F (you can wait to do this until you begin assembling the pies).
2. In a very large pot, bring several cups of water to a boil, then add the potatoes and onions. Cook about 20 minutes, or until potatoes can be easily pierced with a knife.
3. Drain the water, and return the potatoes and onions to the pot. Add the pork, beef, 1 1/2 c water, salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
4. When the meat is done cooking, drain the liquid into a bowl and place the meat into a separate bowl. Put both bowls in the refrigerator and chill for at least an hour.
5. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add in the shortening and cut with a pastry cutter until you have pea-sized clumps.
6. Add the egg, vinegar, and ice water to the flour and shortening mixture. Work into a soft, cohesive dough ball. Cut the dough into quarters. On a well-floured surface, roll out each quarter of the dough ball into rounds for the bottoms and tops of each pie. Transfer one pie crust into each of your your two pie dishes.
7. Remove the liquid and meat from the fridge. Scrape the solidified fat off the top of the liquid and discard. Fill each of your pie dishes with half of the meat mixture. Top with one tablespoon of the liquid in each pie. Top your pies off with your last two pie crusts and pinch edges to seal. Cut slits in the top of each crust so that steam can escape.
8. Brush the tops of the pies with milk. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately or freeze until you're ready to serve.