OK, it technically wasn’t us who ate tourtière for dinner, but I made it. Does that count?
It was the topic of discussion on CBC this morning – inspired by you guys. I have always associated tourtière with Christmas, but only because our neighbour down the alley made it every year back in elementary school, and to be honest I haven’t eaten that much of it, so I’m really no expert. I think I’ve made it once in my lifetime – the Canadian Living recipe, of course. I keep meaning to make it every year, because I love the idea of it, and I love that it’s real Canadian cuisine.
When it was decided I would do tourtière I called my French-Canadian neighbour Pascal for advice, who called his mum in Quebec to get her recipe, which he then translated for me, so I made an extra for him and the family. So at around dinnertime I pulled a steaming pie from the oven and walked it across the street in my Pepto-pink polka-dot flannel PJs and giant Fargo parka I bought at a movie set sale in Vancouver (because when you’re working on the computer at home, why would you wear pants with buttons and bits to dig into your gut when there are PJ pants to be worn? Honestly everyone on my block has seen me more in PJ pants than any regular clothing), instead of setting it on the dinner table, which was really fine with me because a) they were so excited about it, and b) Mike has been barfy all day anyway.
So W and I ate some noodles with tomato sauce and Mike groaned and whined a lot and drank a Coke because he upchucked his coffee this morning and has had a headache ever since. W insisted he eat his in the tub, which eliminated clean-up afterward. His new favourite demand: “get out mine way!!” (Translation: get out of my way, like now.) I told him that’s impolite; he should say excuse me, please. His newest favourite demand: “excuse me please. GET OUT MINE WAY!!”)
The only thing I found odd about this recipe was the partially baked bottom shell for the pie – I haven’t seen any other recipes that require this, and it would make it near impossible to bind the raw top crust with the bottom. Then again, who am I to argue with Pascal’s mom?
So no, I didn’t partially bake the bottom crust, I just lined the pie plate, filled it, topped with and crimped the edges and cut a few slits for steam to escape.
(from Pascal Desjardins’ Mom in Quebec)
Recipe for 1 pie:
1 1/2 pounds ground pork or beef
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
2 celery sticks
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
salt and pepper to taste
Saute the onion and celery in a small amount of oil.
Add the meat and the rest of the ingredients, add a half cup of water and simmer for 1/2 hour.
Place in a partly cooked pie crust, brush top of crust with egg and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
And one more time in French…
1 1/2 de porc ou boeuf haché maigre
1 petit oignon
2 gousse d’ail
1 ou 2 branche de celeri
1/4de c. a thé de muscade
1/4 c. a thé de canelle
1/4 de c. a thé de clou giroffle
sel et poivre au gout
Faire revenir l’oignon l’ail le céleri ensemble avec un peu d’huile.
Incorporer la viande et faire cuire avec 1/2 tassel d’eau pendant 1/2 heure.
Placer dans l’assiette a tarte et faire cuire au four a 350 pendant 45 minute sur la grille du bas.
Now, as I was calling every French Canadian I knew to solicit tourtière advice, I noticed one of the newest cookbooks on my desk, A Taste of Canada by Rose Murray. A taste of Canada would surely include tourtière. It did; little turnover tourtières that you make with frozen puff pastry and can even assemble in advance and bake just before your guests arrive. I served them with apple-plum chutney.
Excerpted from A Taste of Canada: A Culinary Journey by Rose Murray (Whitecap Books)
Makes 48 turnovers.
The French-Canadian meat pie, traditionally served with the main course, has the new role here of a festive appetizer or cocktail bite. Serve the turnovers hot with the usual green tomato relish or fruity chili sauce to temper the richness of the pastry.
1 potato, peeled and quartered
1 lb lean ground pork
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, with leaves, cut in 3
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried savory
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
2 pkg (14 oz/397 g each) frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten
In a medium saucepan, cook the potato in boiling salted water until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, mash and set aside.
Bring ½ cup (125 mL) of the potato water to a boil. Add the pork, onion, celery, garlic, savory, thyme, cinnamon and cloves, breaking the pork up with a spoon. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pork is no longer pink and the liquid has reduced by half, about 45 minutes.
Remove and discard the celery pieces. Stir in the potato, parsley, salt and pepper to taste and more of the other seasoning if desired. Let cool in the refrigerator.
Working with a quarter of the pastry (half of one package) at a time, roll out each quarter into a 12- × 9-inch (30 × 23 cm) rectangle. Cut each rectangle into 12 even squares. Brush each with egg. (Reserve any remaining egg in the refrigerator.) Place a heaping teaspoon (5 mL) of the pork mixture in the centre of each square, making sure none gets on the edges. (Mounding it into a bit of a ball with your fingers helps.) Fold the pastry over to enclose the filling and form a triangle. Seal the edges by pressing all around with the floured tines of a fork. (Turnovers can be prepared ahead to this point and refrigerated, covered, overnight. Or, freeze for up to 2 months sealed in freezer bags. Thaw in the refrigerator before baking.)
When ready to serve, arrange the turnovers on a baking sheet; brush with the reserved egg. Bake in the centre of a 400°F (200°C) oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.
2 large apples, peeled and coarsely chopped
4-6 plums, coarsely chopped
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 14 oz. (398 mL) can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. – 1 Tbsp. curry paste
1/4 tsp. salt
Put everything into a pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally and mashing with a potato masher – you don’t want to smooth it completely, just rough it up a little.
Turn the heat down low and cook for another 15 minutes or so, until it has the consistency of jam. Transfer the hot mixture to warm, clean jars, and seal, or cool and refrigerate or freeze.
Makes about 4 cups.