At mention of the word, most people visualize a delicious apple, or other fruit pie. My mind goes straight for lemon meringue. But, if I take a moment and go a little deeper, I get to something more savory.
My mother is French-Canadian and nothing is more French-Canadian than that savoriest of pies: the pork tourtière.
My mother made it every Christmas and told us that it was what her very Catholic family ate when they came home from midnight mass on Christmas Eve.
My vegetarian sister calls it pork torture, but living far away from family, I have taken on this cultural icon as part of my Christmas celebration. Many cultures have similar meat pies, but the spicing of this one makes it perfect for Christmas, or whenever you want to eat pork tourtière.
Here is my mom’s recipe, with my adaptations an annotations
1-1/2 pounds ground pork
1 large baking potato
1 large onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 dash of allspice
1/2 cup of water
1 recipe for a 9″ double crust pie (Unlike my mother, I buy them out of the freezer section)
1 egg , beaten
1/4 teaspoon paprika
- Bake potato until done, 30-40 minutes, in a pre-heated 400º oven. (I microwave the potato).
- Peel and mash the potato, or, if microwaved, mash the potato with the peel. Mom always said that’s where all the vitamins were.
- Place the potato, ground pork, onion, spices and water in a large frying pan and simmer until very thick. This could take up to an hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare your pastry if making from scratch, like Mom, otherwise follow the package directions.
- Line a pie dish with pastry. Spoon in filing, spreading evenly.
- Cover with top crust. Brush this with beaten egg and sprinkle with paprika. Cut steam vent(s),
- Bake for 50 minutes at 350ºF (175ºC).
- If edges brown too fast, cover with a strip of foil.
- Serve warm.