|This traditional tourtiere recipe is a lightly seasoned meat pie in an extra flakey pastry.|
This month’s topic for The Canadian Food Experience Project is all about regional Christmas traditions.
I find December is especially fun when you have Holiday traditions that span a variety of cultures, even if all of those cultures aren’t necessarily part of your family tree. Food is usually at the centre of these celebrations and I don’t think that Christmas would feel quite the same without all of the traditional dishes that we share around the table.
I grew up eating lots of German and Scandinavian dishes during the Holidays but my actual roots are Acadian and Irish.
When my mom was growing up her Grandfather would arrive at the door every December 24 with a rabbit pie in one hand, tourtiere in the other and a load of presents under his arm. Tortiere, a spiced meat pie, is Acadian Holiday fare and to this day it’s on the table every Christmas Eve at our family celebration. (Rabbit pie is not.)
When we were little we called it “torture”, playing games with the pronunciation that never got old. Mom serves it with spiced currants but any chutney with a bit of a bite would go well with it. This is a very rich dish.
Mom’s Tourtiere - a lightly seasoned meat pie
Makes enough filling for 2 9-inch pies
- 2 lbs. ground lean pork
- 1 lb. ground beef chuck (or venison)
- 2 lg. onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 ½ tsp. poultry seasoning
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. celery salt
- 1 ½-2 tsp. ground pepper
- ½ tsp. sage
- 1 cup water
- 3 medium potatoes, cooked and mashed
- Pastry for two double crust pies (see below).
- Combine pork, beef, onion and garlic in a large skillet; cook, stirring often, until the meat is no longer pink.
- Stir in poultry seasoning, salt, celery salt, pepper, sage and water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Uncover and simmer 10 minutes longer. Remove from heat, stir in mashed potatoes and cool.
To assemble the pies:
Line two 9” pie plates with pastry and trim to ¼” overhang. Spoon half of the meat mixture into each pie shell and fold the overhanging pastry in over the meat. Brush the pastry edge with egg. Roll another round of pastry and pay it over the meat mixture. Pinch to seal. Make two 1” slashes in the pastry.
Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes, then at 350 F for another 25-30 minutes.Remove to a cooling rack.
- 4 3/4 cups flour
- 1 lb (2 cups) butter, cold
- 1/2 cup cold milk
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
Combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter until it’s in pea-sized chunks. Gently stir in the egg, water and milk. Mix until combined then scrape out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead a few times until smooth. Cut into four pieces, pat each piece into a disk and chill until ready to use.
The Canadian Food Experience Project began June 7 2013. The idea is to share our collective stories through our regional food experiences, to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity.