Wednesday, November 11, 2009


By Paul Briand

Growing up, my Mom frequently exposed our family to some of the food from the Eastern Europe branches of her family tree, especially around Easter, when she would make paska, a traditional Polish egg bread.

But we never explored the culinary side of my Dad's French-Canadian upbringing. So I was pleased to find in a recent issue of the American Automobile Association magazine a recipe for Tourtiere, a traditional French-Canadian meat pie dish normally served around the holidays.

There are any number of varieties of a Toutiere. Though considered a meat pie, you can play with combinations of ground beef, pork, turkey, chicken or veal. You can add some chopped up vegetables. I used ground beef and veal, and chopped onions and mushrooms.

It's not a complicated dish, by any means, but what sets it aside is a blend of spices -- particularly cloves -- that you might otherwise associate with mulling cider or wine. I'll play with this recipe in the future. I'd like it to stand up better once I cut into it, which means I need something to hold the ingredients together as they bake in the pie crust.

1 pound of ground beef
1 pound of ground veal
1 onion, diced
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Pastry for double-crust 9-inch pie
A little milk

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees;
2. Add the beef and veal to a large skillet over medium high heat;
3. Add the onion, mushrooms, garlic, chicken stock and spices and bring to boil;
4. Simmer on low, uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally;
5. Drain off excess fat;
6. Line a pie pan with half of the pastry and spoon the meat filling into the shell;
7. Top with the remaining pastry, crimping the edges together;
8. Cut slits in the top crust and brush with a little milk;
9. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is brown;
10. If crust browns too quickly, reduce heat to 350 degrees or cover crust edges with foil;
11. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
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