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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Making Tourtierre

After sharing the recipe, I figure sharing the end results might be in order, too. :-)

This year we used about 5-6 pounds of ground meats for out tourtierre - which seems to be just enough to fit into my large stock pot. :-D We have our own preferred blend of meats to use - experiment to find what combination you like best. Whichever you choose, try to get the leanest cuts you can find. Of the blend you see here, there's almost no fat at all. You'll see why that's important, later.

Next, we add in the equivalent of 1 small onion and 1 clove of garlic per pound of meat. Or 2 cloves of garlic per pound. It's not like you can have too much garlic, right? ;-)

With only a few onions to cut up, I didn't bother bringing out the food processor. That was probably a mistake - chopping onions is not a good time to discover a cut on the side of my thumb! Oh, and I was reminded that the effect of onions is amplified for people who wear glasses. Ouch!!

Time for the spices and herbs! Go ahead and get creative. Experimentation in the kitchen is a good thing. :-D

Finally, add the water - about a half cup per pound of meat or less. The water is one thing that doesn't need to increase exponentially when you double, triplet, or sextuple a recipe. ;-)

Next, bring the water to a boil and cook, mixing frequently to break up the clumps of meat. With a pot as full as this, I let it simmer more than boil until the meat was cooked through, then I increased the heat and boiled off as much of the excess liquid as I could.

There's still going to be a lot of liquid - and this is why lean and extra cuts are recommended. You'll still get a fair amount of fat in the juices. Once you've cooked off as much liquid as you can without over browning the meat, take the pot off the heat.

Time to do something about all that liquid. I started off with somewhat less breadcrumbs that the recipe would've worked out to for this much meat. Stir it in really well, then let the whole thing sit for about 10 minutes or so to let the breadcrumbs absorb the liquid.

Now, take a peak. There's still a bit of liquid in the meat. You really could leave it at this point, but we like our pies thicker.

At this point, I start adding flour - just a bit, to start with. Once again, stir it up really well, then let it sit for another 10 minutes or so.

Now that's the way we like it! All the liquid is absorbed. At this point, we covered up the pot and set it on the balcony to cool down. It was about -12C at the time, so that works out just fine for us.

After that, Dh and Youngest made the pastry, but I neglected to get an pictures of the process! Silly me.

The pastry needs to sit in the fridge for 2-3 hours, so we had a good long break before the real work began.

Dh is my resident expert tourtierre dough roller. ;-) Rolling the dough between two sheets of plastic really makes the job easier.

My job was to fill the bottom shells, then wet the edges with water. By then, Dh would be ready with the top.

All trimmed, crimped and ready for the oven!

Oh, and the green bits in the dough is parsley. We find it adds a really nice touch to the dough.

Our oven has room for two pies at a time. We just made sure to reverse them half way through the cooking time. Like many ovens, ours doesn't heat very evenly, and we could really tell from how the tourtierre browned, that one side was quite a bit hotter than the other.

One of the first finished tourtierre, cooling down while the next pair browned. At this point the entire apartment was smelling just heavenly!

All done!

Even though it was quite late by the time they were done, we just had to give them a taste - and wow, did they ever turn out delicious!


Best of all, these keep really well. Once they're cool, wrap them in foil or put them in big freezer bags and freeze a bunch. They make excellent gifts and potluck contributions. You can warm them in the oven without bothering to thaw them out first, either.



King of the Broken said...

Random Question: What is that...?

Anyhow looks good I'll have to try making some, sometime.

Kunoichi said...

Tourtierre is a traditional French Canadian dish that was developed by the French pioneers. It's a meat pie that's usually made with pork, but was originally made with game birds (one version of the history says they were made from a bird French speaking people called a tourte, hence the name, tourtierre). I was introduced to the dish by my Acadian in-laws, as it's part of their traditional Christmas meal.

I would definitely recommend giving it a try. :-D The complete recipe for both tourtierre and dough is here.

The Travelers Journal said...

Your making me hungry! I was just going to go shopping to pick up a few snacks for tonight. I better eat something first :)

Teena said...

My husband made Tourtierre for supper tonight. It was delish!

Kunoichi said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it! :-D