Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A new Christmas meal tradition

In keeping with the holiday theme, new regular contributor Kathryn Lagden, shares her 2010 Boxing Day cooking adventure.

This year I’m hosting one of our three family Christmas dinners on Boxing Day. I expect that by December 26 we’ll have had enough turkey and trimmings, so I figured I’d cook up something a little different this year. I decided tourtiere, a dish traditionally served on Christmas eve in Quebec, would be keeping with the festive season while offering my family something a little different.

The idea was the easy part. I’ve never actually made meat pie or pastry before so I was a little nervous about the execution. A trial run to work out the kinks was definitely in order. I settled on the recipe from the Canadian Living website for both the tourtiere and the pastry.

Preparing the filling was fairly straightforward. While I browned the pork I prepared the vegetables and measured out the seasonings. I was a little trepidacious about adding all 3 onions as the quantity seemed to overpower the other ingredients. Not to worry though, the onions cooked down and everything melded together nicely.

I did not add any “summer savory.” I have no idea what this is and I couldn’t find it in the grocery store so I just skipped it. The cloves and cinnamon give this dish a wonderful flavour but I’ll likely add a little rosemary next time as well.

A picture of the filling cooked and ready to pop in the fridge to chill is on the right.

Why was I so nervous about making pastry? Likely because pastry seems to have a reputation as “difficult” and truth be told I didn’t even know where to find lard in the grocery store. (Turns out it’s in the baking aisle, not with the butter in the refrigerated aisle!)

I followed the recipe *exactly* to minimize any risk of poorly turned out pastry. When I divided it into two round disks (pictured right) I thought it looked a bit dry (are those cracks supposed to be there?) but no way was I going to mess with it at this point!

One great thing about this dish is that both the filling and pastry need time to chill in the fridge. So I prepared everything in the morning and later that afternoon it was very easy to roll out the pastry and assemble the pie. Getting all the time consuming tasks done in the morning makes this a great choice for entertaining since you want to be with your guests, not in the kitchen.

The final outcome was pretty darn delicious (if I may say so myself!) The meat was flavourful and the pastry was light so I’m considering the trial run a success! I hope my family enjoys our unique Christmas dinner.
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  1. Kathryn - I can bring you some summer savoury next time I come to TO. It's popular out here in the East Coast - kinda like sage if I remember correctly. I'll be making my own tourtiere on Friday (my hubby's grandmother was French Canadian) so I know who to call if I get stuck. I like the idea of making it first thing in the morning and then leaving it.

    Look forward to more yummy posts!

  2. Oh interesting. Sage would be a nice addition, I might do that instead of the rosemary. I'll let you know how it turns out.

    Good luck with your tourtiere!


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