Holiday Traditions – Tourtière

I don’t know how I amassed so many friends from Quebec – or at least, of Quebec Heritage, but suffice it to say, that there were no shortage of opinions when I asked, “Who has a great Tourtière recipe?”

Of course as any great Canadian knows, most recipes in the “Best of Bridge” (“) series are well worth trying and I was greeted with the following answer to my question (it follows), early last week.

Currently, however, I happen to be visiting the Southern United States where the Italian Heritage (along with all others) is mixed into every savoury mouthful, so I decided to combine a few ideas.

First, at the butcher, there is an abundance of Italian Sausage, some hot, some sweet, some in casings, some not. So for the meat, I decided to use half sweet Italian Sausage (bulk – uncased) with regular ground chuck. This was a good call. The flavour, without any of the spices added, was stellar!

I had been eyeing up the ground Coriander all day, and wondering about the flavour mixed into the meat mixture, so I scooped a little piece of it out of the pan, and shook on a good shake of it, then rolled it around in my palate. Bam, enhanced! From there, I continued to enhance; Cinnamon, Cayenne and Ginger (about a teaspoon of each – who measures!). I kept tasting and fine-tuning – don’t forget the salt, and a nice healthy dose of it too. Taste as you go.

Of course I added the Onions and Garlic and Parsley as directed and cheated by using a two pie crust – frozen. Make sure to cool your filling really well, as the moisture and heat of the filling will affect the pastry.

Leave one of the frozen crusts in the freezer. Take the second one, and with a sharp knife remove the crimped edge of it – allow to come up to room temperature, while the filling cools.

Into the frozen crust, add the filling. Flip the thawed crust, upside down on the filled pie crust and gently push the edges together. Slit the top of the crust 3 to 5 slits to allow the steam to escape. Bake for 15 minutes at 425, THEN decrease oven to 350.

Tourtière With Mushroom Sauce

Enough pastry for 3, 2-crust pies – I only made one thick pie!

  • 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground pork – 1 pound (Sweet Italian Sausage – uncased)
  • 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef – 1 pound (reg fat content)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion 375ml
  • 1 tsp. thyme 5ml (fresh – a few stocks denuded)
  • 1 tsp. sage 5ml (fresh – chopped finely)
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard 5ml (didn’t have, didn’t use)
  • 2 tsp. salt 10ml
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley 125ml
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (I used 4)
  • pepper to taste (cayenne plus pepper)
  • 1 cup water 250ml
  • 1 cup bread crumbs 250ml

Mushroom Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp. butter 30ml
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms 750ml
  • 1/2 cup sliced onions 125ml
  • 2 Tbsp. butter 30ml
  • 2 tsp. flour 10ml
  • 1 cup beef broth 250ml
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine 125ml – I used Beaujolais Nouveau
  1. In frying pan, lightly brown meat. Drain off fat. Add onion and stir in seasonings. Add water, cover and simmer 15 minutes, or until most of liquid is absorbed but mixture is still moist. Add bread crumbs. Let cool. Spoon mixture into pastry-lined 9? pie plates. Cover with top crusts, seal and flute edges. May be frozen at this point. Cut slashes on top to release steam. Bake 425 F for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350F and bake 30 minutes or until well browned. This recipe can also be made as an appetizer using tart shells.
  2. To Make Mushroom Sauce: Saute mushrooms and onions in butter for 10 minutes. Remove to plate. Melt butter and blend flour and a few tablespoons of beef broth into pan juices. Stir in remaining beef broth and wine. Bring to a boil until mixture thickens. Add mushrooms and onions back into sauce. Serve warm with tourtiere.
  3. For a change and less work you can serve with cranberry sauce on the side and a dollop of sour cream.

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