The French Canadian Fantasy

The countdown to the crazy holiday season is upon upon us folks, and if you are like me, have started to prepare some of those edible goodies to give as gifts or to enjoy yourself. There are a few things that I make a point of making every year; my infamous “Tourtiere”, my super-studded fruit cake, a batch of ” Ragout De Pate De Cochon” (that is a decadent pig trotter stew!) and of course, no holiday meal would be complete with my Grandmere’s “Sugar Pie”. I know this sounds like a lot, but believe me, I just relish spending time in my kitchen at this time of year toiling over these delicacies.

For those of you who don’t know, I am French Canadian, and to most of us ‘”Frenchies”, the holiday season just wouldn’t be the same unless a Tourtiere of some shape or form was involved. I have been to some homes here in Halifax over the holidays and have eaten many a version of this meaty pie, but being biased, I still think mine is da bomb! I am not saying this to be egotistical, but after many years of trying to perfect my mothers recipe, it isn’t until now that I can truly make that claim. In a perfect world I would disclose my “secret” recipe, but then that would be no fun. So, instead, I will share with you my mothers recipe (though,it’s pretty damned good as is!). I make about half a dozen small tourtieres and two or three large ones and freeze them until needed. They are  great during the winter when you are looking for a quick and satisfying meal.

Another recipe that I am willing to part with this season, is the Sugar Pie. Sugar pie you may ask yourself; a pie made of sugar? Couldn’t be, that would be absurd. Well, I kid you not, it is! Take 500ml of brown sugar (that’s 2 cups to us “imperial” lovers), 250ml of 35% cream (yes,I know in my last column I poo-pooed the 35% cream but you really do need it here), and a smidge of vanilla. Pour this into an unbaked pie shell and put in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. The only trick with this sugary concoction is that you must keep an eye on it towards the end. You may need to bake it a little further, and you may be confused by the liquid-esque texture of this pie, but once chilled and served, you will be amazed. A special warning for this pie though,it isn’t for the faint of heart or those of us who do not have serious sweet tooths!

As for my pig trotter ragout and super studded fruit cake, those recipes are being saved for another day and another time.

If you’re like me and plan on cookin’ up a storm this holiday season, then my only words to you are; let the games begin!

My Meaty Meat Pie (Tourtiere)

Makes 1 large

  • 1/2 kg ground beef (app. 1lbs)
  • 1/2 kg ground pork
  • 1 onion; diced
  • 2 cloves garlic; minced
  • 15ml (1tbsp) ground cinnamon
  • 15ml (1tbsp) ground cloves
  • 5ml (1 tsp) ground allspice
  • 15ml (1tbsp) savory
  • 5ml (1tsp) mace
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 potato; grated
  • salt and pepper

In a heavy bottomed pot, brown the garlic and onion with a little oil. Once translucent, add the meat and brown. Add the spices and salt and pepper. Cover the whole lot with boiling water and let simmer for 1-2 hours; stirring occasionally. Once mix has soaked up most of the water, check again for seasoning and add more if needed. Add the grated potato and cook another 10 minutes. Let cool overnight.

Once cooled, place mix in a pie shell and cover with more pastry. bake in a 350 oven for about and hour or until pastry is golden and filling is bubbling

More Feisty Posts:

Cheese Please
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My Winter Crisp on Breakfast Television

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One Response to “The French Canadian Fantasy”

  1. M. Ash Says:
    February 11th, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Thank you so much for this recipe! My husband from Rouyn QC loves his tourtiere, which when he told me what it was in 1981, I replied, ‘Hamburger pie.’

    With this recipe, we have found a happy meeting place. We have never thought of grated Granny Smith and what a delight it is.

    I eagerly look for your column each week. Thank you for sharing your recipes and stor

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