Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Studio 5: A French Canadian Christmas Classic - Tourtière

I was born and raised in Montreal, but I am not French Canadian.  I'm some weird hybrid of German/English/French Canadian culture.  
My Mom never made Tourtière, but I did when I lived in Canada.  Why I haven't made it in the almost 20 years since I lived in Utah, I have no idea... but I've been craving it lately.  That herb-y, savory, hearty meat pie wrapped in buttery, flakey pastry, that is so perfect on a cold winter's day.

Tourtière has a long tradition, going back to the 1600s, it was and is a centerpiece of the Christmas table in Quebec (and northeastern parts of the US).  There are as many recipes as there are French cooks in Quebec, but certain things will not change.  Pork.  It has to have ground Pork!  But commonly mixed with another ground meat.  I used Ground beef.  Then mixed with Aromatic veggies and quite heavily seasoned with a mixture of sweet and savory herbs and spices.  I like to taste that hint of sweet spices that you most commonly see in a pumpkin pie.  That may sounds strange, but Quebec is not alone in adding sweet spices to meat, the Greek have 'Pastitsio', British Minced Meat and I know in Latin America they do as well.

I love a multi-purpose recipe, so I created some hand pies (perfect for a winter's day outing...think skiing & sledding), just wrap in foil and tuck in your backpack.  The great thing about Tourtière is that it can be eaten, hot, room temp and even cold.

These adorable mini Tourtière tartlets would be a hit at your next Christmas or New Years party.

And as good as the pie is just on it's own, it's over the top with my Quick & Easy Tomato relish.

Tourtière is commonly (for the common people) served with Ketchup (think Meatloaf).  Foodies will usually serve up something a little more gourmet, but wow, Chutneys and relishes can be very time consuming, so I came up with (on the fly) a super quick, easy and delicious Tomato relish that I prefer to Ketchup (although it'll do in a pinch!).

I had Thanksgiving on the brain when I was working on this, and it worked out quite well.  I already had the aromatic vegetables on hand from my Turkey Stuffing (Onions, Celery, Garlic, Parsley, Mushrooms).  Then while I was reading my original recipe from many years ago and the LOOOOONG list of herbs and spices, I realized I could simplify by using the two seasonings we all have on hand at Thanksgiving; Pumpkin Pie Spice mix and Poultry Seasoning.  Just a few addons and I ended with a smaller, less intimidating list.

Lastly, Tourtière freezes extremely well, so I love to make several at once (less clean-up) and freeze my extras for later meals.  You can freeze just the filling, or fill the pie and freeze it before you bake it.  So many reasons to try this recipe this month, enjoy!

Tourtière (Savory Meat Pie)

Pie crust for deep dish pie (top & bottom and a little extra for decoration)

1 lb. ground pork or pork sausage

1 lb. ground beef (or any other kind of meat, including game)

2 Tbsp butter

1 large onion, chopped finely

1 cup celery, chopped finely

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups mushrooms (any kind), chopped roughly

small bunch parsley (about 1/4 cup)

1 large russet potato, grated, then chopped a bit more

1 tsp. poultry seasoning (or your favorite combination)

1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or your favorite combination)      

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Savory

1/8 tsp. Cloves

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup ketchup (yup, this is the non-traditional ingredient, more on that later)

In a heavy, large pan, cook the meat on high heat.  It does not necessarily have to be brown.  I cook it until just starting to get brown.  Spoon contents of pan into a colander over a bowl.  Drain off the fat, but reserve it. 

Place pan back on the heat and add 2 Tbsp butter.  Add onion and celery.  Cook for 3 minutes, then add the garlic, mushrooms and parsley.  Cook an additional 3 minutes.  Add meat back to the pan.  Add the grated/cut potatoes to pan and mix well.

Add your seasonings.  Taste!  It should taste seasoned.  You should taste just a hint of the pie spices.  Adjust to your taste.

Ok, here is where I depart from any recipe I found.  I added Ketchup!  I did this because for one, Tourtière is commonly served with ketchup and secondly because I felt the meat needed some kind of binder.  Even with the ketchup, the meat will fall out of the pie a bit, which is why you shouldn't serve the pie directly out of the oven (it's hard to resist!).  Let it sit for at least a half hour.  And in fact, is commonly served at room temperature, so it's a great buffet item.

At this stage, you can wrap the pie in plastic wrap and then foil and freeze for 1-2 months, or the refridgerator for a 3-4 days.  When you're ready to bake (hopefully right away!), then place in a 350 oven for 30-40 minutes or until warmed all the way through.  

To bake from the freezer directly, place in 350 oven for 1 hour.  Or let thaw and follow directions above. 

** Yes, my dear Quebec friends, I know that adding Ketchup to Tourtière is tantamount to sacrilege.  I hesitated, but in the end I reasoned, it's a taste commonly served with Tourtière and will aid in binding the meat, which is my biggest issue with traditional recipes.

Quick & Easy Tomato Chutney

Sure, I like Ketchup, but a nicer, more sophisticated side to serve with Tourtière is a tomato chutney.  I didn't have time to make a real one (literally, take hours!), so I cheated!  It was quite wonderful and I even served it with my Turkey on Thanksgiving day.  I like it better than cranberry sauce.

1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (Roasted Garlic & Onion is what I used)
same amount of Cranberry sauce (I bought mine at Costco)
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp of Sriracha sauce (or more to taste)

Heat in a sauce pan and whiz with an immersion blender until it's just slightly chunky.  That's it, so easy and that perfect blend of sweet, savory and a little heat.

One more recipe... You can certainly save some time and buy a pre-made pie crust, but here's my full-proof recipe for a delicate, flakey pie crust.  I used it on my Pecan Pie post.  Scroll to bottom.

 I know you know the face in front of the camera (we all love Brooke!), but here are two faces behind the camera that make everything run smoothly and look great.  Jeff & Tiffany!  Thanks for all you do!



Kathy said...

Sue I was lucky enough to see you on studio 5 today. By the way you where so cute. I so want to make these meat pies. Do you have a recipe for the crust. I have a wonderful chicken pot pie recipe I think you would like. The cruise picture was cute.

Dean Tieleman said...

delicious looking! Haven't made one in years. you've inspired me.

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