A tourtiere is a traditional Quebecois dish that my French-Canadian cousins make at Christmas. Since we’re in England this year and will be missing that particular delicacy, I decided to make one – with an English touch. I modified the filling recipe from one of the best cookbooks I ever read, DiscCookery by Jurgen Gothe, best known as the host of now-defunct Disc Drive on CBC Radio 2.
For the pie crust:
Put 250 g flour in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Add 125 g shortening and 80 g butter, cut up into cubes, and then with your fingers smush it all together until you get coarse crumbs. It’s not a bad thing to still have some bits of butter and shortening that you can see haven’t been mixed in – they are what makes the pie crust get flaky. To the crumb mixture, very slowly and mixing all the time, add up to 120 ml water, but you will probably not need that much. Add only enough to make your dough form a ball. Don’t work it too much. When it’s in ball form, split it into two, wrap each part in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for up to 4 hours. Yeah, right – like you have 4 hours to wait until you roll it out! What I usually do is put it in the freezer for 30 minutes and it turns out fine.
For the tourtiere filling:
Saute 1 large onion and 2 cloves of garlic (a ceramic casserole is best) over medium heat until the onion is transparent, about 10 minutes. Add three cubed strips of bacon (that’s the English touch!). Add 750 g of ground pork and beef, in whichever proportion you like, as well as a teaspoon of allspice and a pinch of ground cloves. It should smell very fragrant. Pour 125 ml of stock (beef or chicken) over it and let the meat cook for about half an hour. Take it off the heat and add 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs.
Roll out the pie crust bottom on a floured surface and put it in a 9-inch pan. Add the filling, then roll out the top crust and place on top. Pinch the top and bottom together, crimp the edges with a fork or flute them, poke some holes in the top, and if you have any extra dough you can make a decoration for the top. Mine’s a fleur de lis, sort of. Put the pie in a preheated 375-degree (190 C) oven and bake for 50 minutes. It should come out all golden and flaky.
D’la bonne tourtiere de comme chez nous!