Tourtiere is a Quebecois pork-and-beef pie popular throughout the winter months, and a tradition in many French-Canadian homes on Christmas Eve. I first ran across a recipe (long since lost) in a food magazine in the late 1980s. I've been making it, in various incarnations, at least once a year since then. Made in a 9-inch spring-form pan and decorated with pastry cutouts, it makes a magnificent statement of culinary opulence, worthy of a royal feast, on a dinner table or buffet. Alternatively, you can make individual pies that are elegant enough for any fancy dinner. The pie is moist enough to not require a sauce, but when I serve individual pies, I usually make a sauce for presentation purposes.
Makes 8 servings.
Pastry (see below)
3 medium-sized potatoes (use medium-starch potatoes such as Yukon Gold), peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons bacon grease or vegetable oil
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon milk
Make pastry and refrigerate (see below).
Boil potatoes until fork tender. Drain and cool.
Heat bacon grease or oil over medium-high heat. Add beef, pork, onion and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, allspice and cloves. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring to cook evenly. Add beef broth, reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Cool. Drain liquid and reserve.
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
In a bowl, coarsely crumble potatoes with a fork and add meat mixture. Stir in enough of the reserved broth to thoroughly moisten mixture, but no more.
Remove pastry from refrigerator and allow to warm up until top edges are pliable, about 10 minutes. Fill pastry shell with meat-and-potato mixture to within 1/2 inch of top. Beat together egg and milk and moisten pastry edges. Lay on top crust and press to seal. Brush entire pie with egg wash.
Cut several slits in top and bake in middle of oven for 40 minutes or until top is golden brown.
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold lard
1/2 cup cold butter
5 tablespoons ice water
Thoroughly mix flour and salt in a food processor.
Add approximately half the lard and pulse quickly a couple of times. Add remaining lard and pulse quickly a couple of times. Add butter and pulse for 8 to 10 one-second bursts until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse corn meal.
Dump mixture in a large bowl, sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of ice water and toss with your hands. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons of water and use your hands to mix in the water.
Form two balls from the dough, one a bit larger than the other. Press the smaller ball flat on a floured work surface and roll it out to form a rough circle. Using an 8-inch springform pan as a template, cut a circle the size of the pan, wrap in plastic and refrigerate. Roll out the larger ball of dough and line the inside of an 9-inch springform pan. Trim excess dough from rim. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate. Note: You may wish to also keep the dough scraps to decorate the pie with.
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