Saturday, March 14, 2015

Recipe: Not Mémé Rita's Pork Pie (Tourtière)

If you want to start a debate at dinner in the Gagnon household, bring up pork pie. Everyone has a differing opinion on how it should taste and whose is the best. My father-in-law will remind everyone his mother's was so good that the local supermarket used to commission her to make them. Unfortunately, I never got to try Joe's mémé's (French for grandmother) pork pie so I'll never be able to say if it was the best.

Rumor has it that one of Joe's Aunts has Mémé Rita's recipe, but rumor also has it that Mémé Rita was a bit funny at times and would leave out key ingredients or steps when giving out a recipe, so we'll never know if she has the actual recipe.

After having two different versions of it during Christmas, I was tempted to give it a try, but never got around to it. One weekend afternoon I was flipping through America's Test Kitchen's "The Best of 2015" magazine and what recipe do I see? Tourtière! It was fate. I had to try my hand at it.

So here we go, I'm entering dangerous waters here. I'd like to present my version of pork pie, adapted from the ATK recipe. I know it won't be the same as Mémé Rita's, but I'm hoping that maybe (just maybe!) I've made her proud here, and she's chuckling that the Chinese girl her grandson married made an acceptable pork pie.
Tourtière Recipe (Makes 4 Mini Pies)

  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1 T water
  • 1 lb. pork
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 onion diced finely
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 t minced fresh thyme
  • 1 t minced fresh sage
  • 1 t minced fresh rosemary
  • ½ t ground allspice
  • ½ t ground cinnamon
  • ¼ t fresh ground nutmeg
  • ¼ t ground cloves
  • 1 ½ C chicken broth
  • 1 medium sized potato (~6 oz) peeled and grated (using largest setting on box grater)
  • 2/3 C shortening / lard
  • 2 C all purpose flour
  • 5-6 T ice cold water

Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt and the baking soda into the water and mix. Massage it into the pork and let the pork rest for 20-25 minutes.

I'm all about that mis-en-place.

In a pot, melt butter and sauté onions until caramelized. Then add garlic, herbs, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook until fragrant. 

Add chicken broth and potato making sure to scrape up brown bits on bottom of the pan. 
Let cook and stir frequently until potatoes have softened and sauce is thick enough for you to leave a trail when you drag your spoon across the bottom of the pan.

Add the pork and break it up into the mixture. Cook until pork is no longer pink. Let mixture cool (until completely cooled) in the fridge, uncovered. Stir from time to time.

To make the crust, combine shortening and flour with a fork until it's crumbly and the shortening is in pea-sized clumps.

Add ice water 1 T at a time until it seems like it will come together and form into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. Once everything is cool and the dough is rested, it's time to assemble.

Before you start assembling, preheat your oven to 450°F. Roll out the crust - you'll need 8 discs total (4 tops, 4 bottoms). Press crust into the pan and then fill with cooled filling. Place another disc on top, using an egg wash (1 egg yolk + 1 T water beaten together) to seal the edges.

Cut a couple slits on the top and place into a 450°F oven for 15 minutes. Turn it down to 375°F and then let it go for another 20 minutes.

Let pie cool for 2 hrs (or more) and then reheat gently. Pie is meant to be served warm, but not hot.

A tribute to Joe's mémé and a great way to celebrate Pi day.

1 comment:

  1. By far the loveliest presentation of pork pie! Can't wait to hear the verdict on this version!