A Christmas Eve Tradition
This flavourful meat pie originates in Quebec, where it is a holiday tradition. At our house, it's part of our Christmas Eve rituals, which also include champagne and oysters.
- • 10-inch (25 cm) deep-dish pie plate
- 21⁄2 (625 mL) cups all-purpose flour, gluten-free if required
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried (5 mL)
- 1⁄2 tsp salt 2 mL
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) cold lard or butter, cubed
- 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) ice water
- 2 potatoes
- 4 oz (125 g) salt pork, diced 125 g
- 3 onions, finely chopped
- 12 oz (375 g) ground pork
- 12 oz (375 g) ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp ((15 mL) minced gingerroot
- 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) cracked black peppercorns
- 1 can (14 oz/398 mL) diced tomatoes, drained
- Chutney or relish
- 1. Crust: In work bowl fitted with metal blade, pulse flour, thyme and salt to blend. Add lard or butter and pulse until mixture resembles large flake oatmeal. Sprinkle ice water over top and pulse just to blend. Transfer dough to a clean surface and knead well until dough holds together. Divide pastry dough into 2 pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Shape each into a ball, press flat into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- 2. Filling: In a large pot of boiling water, cook unpeeled potatoes until barely tender. Drain, rinse well under cold water and set aside until cool enough to handle. Peel off skins. Replace metal blade with shredding blade and shred potatoes. Set aside.
- 3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook salt pork, stirring, until it browns and renders its fat, about 7 minutes. Add onions, pork and beef and cook, stirring and breaking up meat with a spoon, until onions are softened and meat is browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, cinnamon and peppercorns and stir well. Stir in tomatoes and shredded potatoes. Reduce heat to low and simmer until mixture is cooked and flavors have melded, about 45 minutes. Let cool.
- 4. Meanwhile, on a lightly floured surface, roll out larger piece of dough into a circle large enough to fit pie plate, dusting work surface and dough as necessary to keep the dough from sticking (or roll between 2 pieces of waxed or parchment paper). Press dough into pie plate. Place pie plate in freezer or refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes to chill while you prepare the filling. Roll out remaining dough for top crust and set aside at room temperature on sheet of parchment paper.
- 5. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Transfer meat mixture into prepared bottom crust. Lightly brush edge with a little water. Place top crust over filling, trimming and fluting edge.
- 6. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F (180°C) and bake until crust is golden, about 30 minutes more. Let cool for about 20 minutes before serving. Serve with relish or chutney.
- Although we've been brainwashed to think of lard as unhealthy, it is actually loaded with heart-healthy fats such as monounsaturates.
- Although shredding the potatoes with your food processor may seem like an extra step, it's a snap and the texture is great in this dish. Shredded potatoes almost dissolve into the meat, creating a particularly luscious result.
- Your potatoes will shred more easily if you cook them ahead of time and refrigerate overnight.
- You can make the pie and freeze it for up to 1 month before baking. Thaw in the refrigerator and bake as directed.
Judith Finlayson http://judithfinlayson.com/