Tourtiere

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. Lean Ground Pork
  • 1/2 lb. Lean ground Beef
  • 1 med. Onion - chopped fine or grated
  • 1 clove Garlic - minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. Sage or Basil (your choice)
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
  • 1 - Bay Leaf
  • - - Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup Dried Bread crumbs
  • 6 oz. Red Wine (or Water)



Tourtiere is now sometimes made
with all beef, but it is not as good.
Traditionally it was usually all pork
but sometimes, as it is here, the
mix was 2/3 pork and 1/3 beef.



Some folks make tourtiere with
potato in the pie. While it does
make it a little less heavy, it does
not taste the same. Potato served
on the side is a better option.

Method:
  • Put the meat, onion, spices, bay leaf, and wine (or water) in a pot.
  • Cook it over medium-high heat while stirring continuously until the meat loses all its red color.
  • NOTE: At first it will appear that there is no liquid, but as the meat starts to cook, the liquid will come back. It is very important to keep stirring every few minutes to keep the meat from burning on the bottom. It is hard work at this point, but the larger the pot, the easier it is to stir.
  • Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and adjusting the salt and pepper.
  • Remove from the heat, and let stand covered for at least 1 hour... overnight is better.
  • Re-heat until the liquid boils, cook at a slow boil, uncovered for about 1 hour to reduce the liquid... stir frequently. Remove the bay leaf, drain off the excess liquid, stir in the bread crumbs, and let cool for 1 more hour, covered.
  • Prepare pie pastry and line a 9" pie plate.
  • When the meat has cooled, fill the pie and cover with the top pastry. Seal the edges and cut steam vents in the top.
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes... reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 25 to 35 minutes or until the top is a nice golden brown.
Serving:
This is a fairly "heavy" dish. I wouldn't serve it alone, I like to serve it with mashed potato and vegetables. Be forwarned, that unless you have a great stomach, served alone, it could cause some indigestion. My wife can not eat it without the vegetables.

That may be the reason I have seen it in a few gourmet cook books with potato and vegetables right in the pie. But please don't do that. It really takes away from the pie. Serve the vegetables on the side.

Variations ... I make a huge pot of the meat mixture, usually double this recipe. I make a few large pies and a whole bunch of 5" pies. Or, I have been known to make some small tarts in a muffin tray, with open tops and a decoratively cut piece of pie crust "floating" on top. I refrigerate the rest of the meat mixture.

Then at another time, I will make a pie crust and line a casserole dish. Pour in the meat mixture about 1 inch deep and cover it with mashed potato about 1 inch deep. Heat it at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes or until warmed right through. It turns out something like a shepherd's pie but without the vegetables in the meat mixture and a totally different flavor. Again, I serve mixed vegetables on the side.

Notes:
Well, you didn't think you were going to get my tourtiere recipe without a story, now did you? This is the infamous or notorious or legendary (take your pick) French meat pie of Christmas Eve.

Traditionally, this pie was baked on Christmas Eve, and it was served after midnight Mass, when all the adults came home, made sure the children were in bed, put the gifts out and then ate pie and drank a toast to another Christmas. In fact, truth being told, when we ran out of things to drink a toast to, we drank a toast to drinking toasts! I remember asking my uncle (having been away from there for many years) how we slept after eating a slab of that pie. He answered, "You have a bad memory, boy. No one went to bed!"

Since it was served late at night and since it is a rather heavy food, it was served in very small slices, and usually with a side dish like potato or other winter vegetable. Ah yes, there's many a fond memory attached to tourtiere. I hope you enjoy it. If you celebrate Christmas, may the toutiere become a family tradition for you as well!