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Mouth Watering Tourtière Recipe

Well, it isn't Christmas at all if there is no Tourtière and I would not let it pass without making one or two for my family or friends to feast on and this year was no exception.  Tourtière was a special dish served only at Christmas when I was a wee lad and it left a pleasant memory of delectable tastes and smells for the rest of the year, then one year for some inexplicable reason the Tourtière train derailed, we had a Christmas without Tourtier! I thought I was being punished for some wrong I had committed, some dastardly evil wrong, worthy of a severe punishment that is usually saved for violent criminals, sheep fornicators or Maple Leaf fans, not for sweet and cherub-faced children such as I, but alas, there I was sans Tourtière, on Christmas, oh the horrors, the inhumanity. I am still emotionally scarred to this very day.

So unable to rely on others for my desperately needed Tourtière fix I set about designing my own version which is a compilation of many I have enjoyed over the years and tweaked them to my liking, finally ending up with what I consider to be the very best on the planet, bar none; or at least the very best in my circle of friends, which when you consider that none of my friends make Tourtière it is a shallow boast really but I will boast because it is something I like to do even if it is baseless.

When taking a dish to a wintertime potluck dinner I will often times take a Tourtière - freshly baked and golden brown and woe betide any other Tourtière that may be in attendance when mine arrives.  Since my Tourtière is made with Susan’s wonderful pastry and filled with my grand creation it lays waste to the other lesser meat pies, destroys them like Tiger Woods did to his career in fact.  When my Tourtière is gone, even the crumbs having been scooped up, the other pies sit alone, unmolested and forlorn, like a hooker with a cold sore, so sad really.  With New Years coming on in a few days and the potluck circuit in full swing I offer this recipe to you to bake and vanquish all other Tourtière attempts that may come your way.

2-3 medium potatoes, cubed (about 2 cups cooked and mashed)
1 pound lean ground pork (you can use all beef or veal if you wish)
1 pound lean ground beef or veal
1 large onion, fine mince
3 stalks celery, fine mince (about 3/4 cup)
2 large carrots, fine mince
4 cups chicken stock
4 Tbsp fine sherry or brandy (optional, but tasty)

4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each – ground black pepper, dried savoury, sage, cinnamon and thyme
1/4 tsp each – nutmeg and ground cloves
3 bay leaves
1 egg yolk, beaten with 2 Tbsp water
Pastry for one deep dish pie (Susan’s recipe is best see following)

Cook potato until tender, about 10 - 12 minutes. Drain and mash; set aside.

In a deep non-stick skillet, sauté pork and beef over medium-high heat, for 10 – 12 minutes until browned, drain off fat. Add celery, onions, carrots and garlic, sauté for 5 minutes.

Add chicken stock, sherry, salt, sugar, pepper, savoury, thyme, sage, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves; bring to boil then reduce heat, and simmer until the liquid has been cooked off, about 25 minutes, then remove from heat.

 Remove bay leaves.

Mix in potatoes; stir well to ensure the mixture has incorporated all the ingredients evenly. Let cool in fridge for about 1 hour.

On lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry dough to make 2 rounds about a ¼ inch thickness.  Lay one round into a 9” deep dish glass pie plate, coat top of dough with a little egg wash to seal in the goodness.

Place cooled filling into pie shell, place 2nd round on top of filled pie and press edges together to seal well.

Trim and flute edges to make all pretty and such.
With remaining dough, roll out and cut decoration shapes to put on the top to really make it look even more inviting.

Brush top with egg wash, Cut slits into top to let steam escape then place pastry decorations onto pie top and finish by brushing them with egg wash.  

Place in to 400 degree preheated oven and bake until hot and golden brown, about 50 - 60 minutes.

Serves 8 except if I am at the table then it serves 6.

I took a Tourtière to our neighbours for potluck on Boxing Day this year and there was going to be fisticuffs if we attempted to take some home with us so we decided to leave it behind and make another one for us, which we did and it was wonderful. No black eyes, sore knuckles and the friendship remains intact.

Grandma Doreen’s Pie Pastry

1 lb Tender Flake Lard (yellow box)
5 cups flour
1 tbsp salt

Cut flour and salt into lard until in small crumbles.

In a 1 cup liquid measuring cup add:
1 egg
1 tbsp vinegar
Mix well
Add cold water to egg/vinegar mixture to make 1 cup of liquid.
Pour liquid in to flour/lard mixture and knead until smooth. This will take awhile.
Divide into 4 balls of equal size.
Put in fridge to chill for at least 4 hours before rolling.
Can also be frozen until needed, then thaw in fridge until used.

This is a basic pastry recipe and it is stellar.  My mother in law passed it to Susan and we use it a lot.  Saskatoon pies, apple pies, meat pies, cherry pies, pin wheels are but a few fillings we use for this wonderful pastry.  Blue ribbon type pastry.  Give it a try, you won`t be disappointed.

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