Traditional Christmas celebrations in the predominantly Catholic province of Quebec include attending midnight Mass. Just as in the United States, some families open their gifts on Christmas Eve, others on Christmas morning.
To add a French Canadian touch to your holiday celebrations, try this traditional recipe.
TOURTIERE DU SAGUENAY
1 pound lean pork shoulder
1 pound beef, venison or boned wild fowl meat
1 pound veal shoulder or boned chicken
6 medium onions, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 large potatoes, peeled
Enough pastry for three 9-inch pie crusts (your favorite recipe or refrigerated storebought pastry)
Egg wash (1 egg, beaten, mixed with 1 to teaspoons milk or water)
Chop the meats into 1/2-inch cubes. Coming meat cubes with onions, salt and pepper in large bowl; mix thoroughly with your hands. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Dice potatoes into 1/4-inch cubes. Put in large bowl. Add 4 to 6 cups cold water. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
The next morning, roll out pastry. (Use two-thirds of the pastry for the bottom crust, and the remaining one-third of the pastry and trimmings for the top crust.) Use bottom-crust pastry to line a baking dish (preferably a cast-iron Dutch oven) at least 4 inches deep that will hold about 12 to 14 cups of filling. Drain potatoes, reserving water. Add potatoes to meat mixture. Transfer mixture to pastry-lined baking dish. Add enough of the reserved potato water (about 3 cups) to bring it up to the top of the meat; add additional cold water if needed.
Brush outer edge of pastry with eggwash. Cover with top crust; seal edges. In the center, cut a 2-inch hole and insert a small “chimney” of foil. Seal the base of the chimney with eggwash and a bit of the pastry trimmings. Brush surface of pastry with eggwash. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven one hour; reduce temperature to 250 degrees and bake 6 to 8 hours, or until richly golden brown. Check from time to time during baking to make sure the meat is not too dry and the juices can be seen in the foil chimney. If not, add a little hot water through the hole.
Serve piping hot with beet pickles and a variety of relishes.
Yield: 10 to 12 servings.
Note: Traditionally, lard pastry is used.
© 2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson
The Past Whispers
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