Heritage TOURTIERE spice MEAT pie

The Tourtière, majesty of savoury pies.  Spiced just right and incredibly flavourful. 
Anticipated for the holidays, however enjoyed any time as a satisfactory meal.

Every Spring, we head out for our gluttonous meal at Sugar shacks across Quebec. 
I fondly remember the first time I had the iconic Quebecois Tourtière meat pie.
Very young at the time, I remember taking a mental note…
this was a pie I was going to be inquiring about.

Never did our Italian table come close to making this offering.
A whole new world was opened onto my inexperienced palate.
Emblematic of the Quebecois culture…
this meat pie is usually enjoyed at either Christmas or New Years.

However, as far as my desire for this pie is concerned…
I continue relating it to early Springtime and right before Easter.

My family never once made this pie and therefore…
I became curious to how this was made…especially from earlier recipes.

Many searches later, I've come up with a creation that I'm truly proud of.
 It blends all that I liked and eliminated what I didn't care for in the original recipes.
Pigeons (tourtes), moose or mutton anyone?

Spring is finally upon us. 
A resurgence of curiosity brings me to share another piece of Montreal history through food.

L'Île-de-la-Visitation, once a rural community called Sault-au-Récollet…
is set upon Montreal's Northern border of Rivière des Prairies. 

Today, its Nature park incorporates the ruins of Montreal's industrial past.

This distinctive small island lies between Montreal and Laval.
It holds a quaint neighbourhood which continues to retain its unique charm.

 Not known by many, this part of Montreal is considered a hidden treasure.
As Lachapelle noted, “It’s one of the few places in Montreal that explores the romantic side of ruins.”

Built by the Sulpicians, the (1726) Ruins of the Des Moulins Watermill was not only the site of a…
saw and paper mill, it later was utilised to process grain into flour right until the1960s.

During those times, many savoury pies were made, however, the Tourtière…
remained one of their favourites during special occasions.   

One of the first recipes of Tourtière to have been published was in the French cookbook:  
La cuisinière canadienne (1840).  Mainly pork, mutton, veal and potatoes were its ingredients.

The right blend of spices and balance of other main ingredients was key to its success.
Leaving the mix to rest increased the flavour profile.
The flaky crust is of course paramount to the overall bite. 
With all the effort and quality ingredients that go into the filling…
make sure you can count on your pie dough.
Should you not have time to make crusts, there are some good store bought alternatives.

Heritage TOUTIERE spice MEAT pie

serves  6-8

(American / Metric measures)

MEAT mix:
. 2 Tbsps. (30ml) e.v.Olive oil
. 2 Tbsps. (30ml) grapeseed oil
. 2 thick slices of bacon, finely diced
. 1 lb. (454g) medium ground Pork
. 1 medium, sweet onion, finely diced
. 2 big garlic cloves, crushed
. 1 large carrot, finely diced
. 1 large, non-starchy potato, small dice
. 1 small bell pepper (red or orange), finely diced
. 15 small (340g) cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
. 1/4 cup (60ml) red wine or Port

. 1 tsp. (5ml) sea salt
. 1 tsp. (5ml) granulated garlic powder
. 1/2 tsp. (2.5ml) mild Paprika
. 1/4 tsp. (1.25ml) dried Basil
. 1/4 tsp. (1.25ml) dried Marjoram
. 1/8 tsp. (.63ml) dried Sage
. 1/8 tsp. (.63ml) ground Rosemary
. 1/8 tsp. (.63ml) ground All Spice
. 1/8 tsp. (.63ml) ground Cinnamon
. pinch of freshly grated Nutmeg

. pastry for 2 (9inch/23cm) deep pie shells
. 3 Tbsps. (45g) dry bread crumbs
. Egg wash: 1 egg yolk + 1 Tbsp. (15ml) water


MEAT mix:
1. In a large, shallow skillet, heat the oils on MEDIUM-HIGH before adding in the bacon to cook until  slightly crispy.  Add in the ground meat.  Cook and break-up only to the point that the meat is slightly undercooked.
2. Now, LOWER the heat substantially so to use a slotted spoon to remove the mix, leaving behind most of the fat in the pan.  Cover the bowl holding the meat.
3. Raise back the heat to MEDIUM-HIGH before adding in the onions.  Toss a few minutes before adding in the garlic to be followed by the carrots, potato and pepper.  Later, make a well in the center to cook the mushrooms.   Let the moisture evaporate before adding back in the cooked meat and bacon.   Combine and pour in the wine.  Cook a few minutes and finally add all the seasoning at once.  Combine well and cook a few more minutes.  Close the heat and cover this mix for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bring to room temperature.  Later, store this mix in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, however, overnight is best so that the flavours are enhanced.

... Later (probably the next day):
. Pre-heat the oven to 400F/200C/Gas6.   Position the oven rack at the 2nd level from the bottom.
1. Use a baking pan to place the greased 9 inch (23cm) pie plate.  Note: If frozen pie crusts are used...make sure to thaw them in the fridge a few hours ahead of time.
2. At the bottom of the unbaked pie, sprinkle the base with the bread crumb.  Then, spoon in the meat mix and brush the dough's edges with water. Very carefully top your decorated pie dough topper and join the edges.  Then, lightly brush the surface with the egg wash glaze.  Make sure to create steam vents with optional decor.
. BAKE for the initial 15 minutes.  Then LOWER the heat to 350F/175C/Gas4 and continue baking for another 45 minutes.  Remove the pie from the oven and place it onto a cooling rack to rest for about 30 minutes before serving.

Hopefully you'll have a chance to make this version of meat pie and adopt it.
Then, all you need to decide on is which event you'll serve it at :o)

Flavourful wishes,

Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at:  foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SAVOURY creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)

. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later.