Saturday, February 16, 2013

Tourtiere for another snowy day

We're expecting another bit of snow this evening in New England. It's not going to be the killer blizzard that we just experienced, but a good dose of three to six inches of the fluffy white stuff. Such weather calls for hearty fare, winter fare. Therefore, I'm going to call on my Québécois brethren, and cook up a meal that they often have at Christmas time. Yes, it's tourtiere weather, and I'm in the mood for a hearty meat pie.
So many of the recipes on the internet assume that you are making multiple pies for a big gathering. They vary greatly by ingredients and techniques. Some call for veal and pork, others just pork, others pork and beef. Still others try to lighten it up by using ground turkey. Then there's the question of using mushrooms or barley or rolled oats. Since there are so many different filling recipes, I think it's appropriate to use a blend of a few of them. Ultimately the majority of my ingredients/techniques came from these two different recipes found online: One from Canadian Living and a second from Simple Bites, but my recipe will make a single pie and so quantities have been changed to protect the names of the innocent... and so on... and so forth...

Cooking down the filling
2 lbs ground pork
1/2 lb ground beef
3 onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup chicken stock
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 cup red wine
1 tsp fresh rosemary
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 cup rolled oats

Start out by cooking your ground meats in a dutch oven on medium high heat. Break everything up with a spoon, and cook until there's no more pink. Spoon out liquid until there's only about two to three tablespoons left in the dutch oven. Add in all other ingredients except the rolled oats. Cook for 45 minutes until the liquid is greatly reduced again to a few tablespoons. Add in the rolled oats, and give everything a stir. Allow to cool completely. I find this goes quicker if I transfer filling to a large bowl and then stick it in the fridge for a bit.

INGREDIENTS FOR PIE DOUGH (double crust - doubled quantities from NYT recipe)

Add filling to bottom pie crust
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoon sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter , cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, cold, cut into two pieces
4 tablespoons vodka, cold (see note)
4 tablespoons cold water
Egg wash (1 egg, 1 teaspoon of water)

Now, I used my favorite dough recipe, which is from the New York Times, and we've seen before on Soused Blueberries while making apple and pumpkin pies. Of course, since for the tourtiere we're going to need a double crust, I doubled the recipe quantities. Prepare your dough and stick it in the fridge. While the filling is cooling, which might take a while, preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and you'll also have time to roll out your bottom dough and let it sit in the pie plate in the fridge for a few additional minutes to set.
When the filling is completely cool, roll out your top dough. Prick the bottom dough that you had set chilling in the fridge in the pie plate. Fill with the meat mixture filling, add the top dough, make the pretty crimping design, add a few pretty designs on top if you wish, and brush with the egg wash. Then, it's into the oven for about 45 minutes, and out of the oven to rest for about another 10 minutes.
Post-oven. What a pretty tourtiere!
The real beauty of this pie is the spices that have developed and married completely throughout the meaty filling. Basically anything that would be appropriate to an apple pie has found itself in a more pronounced way into the pork and beef mixture, giving you an almost Middle-Eastern, cinnamon aroma and a heavy dose of those earthy all spice, clove, and nutmeg flavors. The addition of fresh thyme and rosemary help to brighten up the mixture a touch too. Combined with our favorite buttery and flaky pie crust, the recipe is a winner. It's a gut bomb, meaty man pie that I think anyone can appreciate as an old school, wintry, warm you from the inside treat.
That was my piece.
Just kidding. Actual piece.
P.S. By the way, the tourtiere is unbelievable cold the next day too. These are left overs that aren't going to stick around. 

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