I have a confession. I have never made tourtiere. I mean, I’ve never had to in all my 8 years in Quebec. I’ve always been around people who have the best tourtiere recipe that was handed down from their grand, grand, grand-mere and are more than happy to make it for me. Everyone’s recipe is different, yet each boast that theirs is the true way to make tourtiere (meat pie, to those of you who are lost.)
Being half British and half Ukrainian, I never inherited such a recipe, but give me a bag of potatoes and some flour and I can whip up a mean batch of perogies.
In all my past Christmases, I have either relied on the skills of others, or nipped over to my local marché that carries amazing beef, pork, chicken, duck, or elk tourtiere, because it’s just not possible to have a Joyeux Noel without tourtiere.
However, after eight years it’s time to come up with my own recipe, my own blend of spices, my own mixture of meat, and create that perfect recipe so that I can hand it down to my great, great grandchildren. From what I have gathered, pretty much anything goes inside as long as it’s rich and flavorful: duck, foie gras, Balsamic vinegar, mushrooms, venison, potatoes, rabbit, cranberries…
I chose a traditional mix of meats-veal, pork and beef- and added a few of my own favorites that I thought would complement the meat: apples, bacon, Dijon and the freshest blend of spices I could get my hands on. The result was pretty fabulous, not bad for a first time! Although I'm not 100% sure that this is THE recipe and I'd like to keep playing around a bit more in upcoming years, this one will definitely tide us over for these holidays!
We enjoyed it with a robust Les Cranilles cotes-du-rhone, Les Vines de Vienne 2004 and that about put us over the moon..
I hope you enjoy it too, and please, hold the ketchup, ok?
Not Your Granny’s Tourtiere
Make 4- 9inch tourtieres
2 kgs. ground meat: pork, beef and veal
2 tablespoons duck or bacon fat
3 medium onions, diced
3 apples, peeled and diced
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ cup white flour
6 thick slices slab bacon, cubed
3 branches celery, diced
6 whole cloves
2 inch stick of fresh cinnamon
5 whole allspice
2 bay leaves
4 cups beef stock
salt to taste
Four double pie crusts
In a spice grinder, grind cloves, peppercorn, cinnamon and allspice until fine. Reserve.
In a large, heavy duty pot, melt the duck fat and brown all the meat, separating it into pea-sized chunks with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Strain into a colander and let the fat drain out while you return the pot to the stove. Add bacon and sauté lightly; add onions and celery; sauté until wilted. Return the browned meat to this mixture and to this add the ground spice mixture, the bay leaves and the beef stock. Mix well and cook on medium low heat until liquid is reduced by half; stir often.
In a mixing bowl combine apples and flour until apples are well coated. Add Dijon mustard and mix well.
Remove meat mixture from heat and add apples; stir to combine. Liquid should be all absorbed. Season with salt and cool.
Roll out tourtiere dough and fill pie shells with tourtiere filling. Top with another pie dough and seal edges. Cut a few slits or a design in the top to allow hot air to escape and brush with beaten egg. Bake at 375F until crust is nicely browned.
These freeze well, either before or after baking.