Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tortiere Heaven

Otherwise known as French Canadian Meat Pie
(Vegetarian Warning:  Step Back... Step Waaay Back)

This is the beginning of a lot of meaty goodness.  If meat, Pork to be exact, is not your thing, then I suggest you stop reading right now, and whatever you do, do not look down.  As this post will involve a lot of cutting and grinding and well, it just might be too much of a good thing for some.  

The Agronomist's brother, The Engineer, along with his wife, Blond Beauty were kind enough to include us in the 2nd annual Tourtiere making day at the Farm.  

My very chic Mom-in-law opened up her beautiful kitchen (and Kitchen Aid mixer) to instruct, 
and help us learn the Art of Heavenly Tourtiere making.  
Put your seat-belts on (we are in Alberta of course) and get ready for quite a ride!

We started with fourteen pounds of lean Pork loin, 
other cuts can be used but we wanted to keep it as lean as possible, 
in an attempt of course, to try and balance out the gargantuan "bowl of lard" 
we would be using later for the pie crust.  
This amount will make 12 Tourtiere pies.

The meat was trimmed into smaller sections, and then The Agronomist began to grind.
Of course if you don't have a meat grinder you can buy ground pork 
(to the tune of approx. 1 and 1/4 lbs per pie).

Look at this pile of perfect pigfection.  
After the meat has been ground, throw one large onion through the grinder as well.

Throw the meat and onions into a large pot and begin cooking on medium heat.  
Begin seasoning with cloves and cinnamon.  
You will start off with 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp of cloves.  
You want just a hint of the cinnamony goodness and slightly little stronger taste of cloves.  
Also begin salting and peppering to taste.

Be sure to continually stir Wilbur  the meat so that it does not stick to the bottom.  
Add a 1/4 cup of water if your meat is very lean.  
There should be a little juice at the bottom of the pan to stir into the mixture.  
Look at how fast The Agronomist stirs, I couldn't keep his hand in focus, 
it was such a blurr of circular activity.  
I asked him to slow down for the picture 
but he was unable to control the speed due to his amazing strength.  
He is my "Super Speedy Stir Man" who has come into the kitchen to rescue me, his fair maiden.  
(I needed to eat a cookie, and maybe a chocolate or two to renew my cooking strength.)

So while you have your men use their bulging, sinewy muscles to stir all that meaty goodness, 
you can begin preparing the pie crust, 
(which unfortunately does not come with a lean option).

Every batch of dough made with the KitchenAid mixer used 1 lb of very cold lard, 
and five cups of flour.  
This makes enough dough to make four pie crusts.

Along with the five cups of flour  and 1 lb of lard cut up into small pieces, 
add 3 tbsp of brown sugar, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp baking powder.

If you are unsure what to do next, ask your chic Mom-in-law to help you.  
And make sure to say "Pretty Please."  (Because this recipe is sooo worth it!)

After she gets over the shock of you having never, ever, 
made pie crust before in the last four decades of your life, 
she will tell you to break an egg into a measuring cup and beat that egg with a fork until it's dead.

(Of course my chic Mom-in-law would never say anything so uncivilized . . . 
it was really me being my naturally unsavory self.)  
By the way this is not a Savory meat pie, just in case that last comment might have been confusing.

Then add 2 Tbsp. of vinegar.

and add cold water up to the 1 cup line.

Add this to the dry/lard mixture and turn the mixer on very, very slowly.  
The smaller the lard is cut into the bowl the less of a mess the mixing makes.

Voila, pie dough.

Sprinkle a bit of flour if it is sticky and simply form into a round mound.  
Cut into four this will be the top and bottom crust for four pies.

As you are making the crust you will once again require the strong hearty farm men
(and if farm ones are unavailable city ones will also work in a pinch) to stir the meat to cool it off.
With the weather cooperating at -26 degrees celsius, the deck was the perfect place to do this.

Cut the quartered piece of dough in half and roll, roll, roll it out.
Doesn't my Chic mom-in-law know how to handle a rolling pin?
We could only stand back and watch in awe.

Cut those edges off to enjoy some amazing deliciousness a bit later. 
(note: these are not the arms of Chic mom-in-law, just in case you were concerned).

Here are the pies waiting patiently for their hats! (He He...They think they're a little chilly now...)

Once again our very own outside cooler was perfect for freezing the Tourtiere. 
Which will be enjoyed traditionally on Christmas Eve during Reveillon, 
an after Chrismas Mass feast enjoyed late into the night.  
Have I mentioned I am an extremely lucky ducky to be married to a French (Oui Oui) Canadian?
But my friends this is not the end of our wonderful little Tourtiere adventure...

Stay Tuned tomorrow when you can return to the continued saga of Heavenly Tourtiere.  
You will not want to miss the scrumptiousness I have in store for you! 
Farts may be involved as well....oh and Nuns too.  "Umm...Excuse me? What did she say?"
You heard me right... farts, tooters, fluffles, happy honkers... or whatever you say at your house.

I promise you will not be disappointed!
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  1. Bravo! Love ya mom.

  2. Nicely done Dana! I will be making tourtiere this year for the first time, thanks for the family recipe,along with pictures, entertaining commentary, and tips. I was relieved to see that the pound of lard made 4 crusts (not just one). All the pictures look right out of Martha Stewart's magazine!
    Joyeux Noel,


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