A year ago I was already making tourtiere.
You can make this traditional French Canadian meat pie any time of year, of course, but most of us prepare it for the winter holidays. No Christmas is complete without it, preferably washed down with some Champagne, an incongruous pairing of heavy and rustic with light and sophisticated.
But it works. Perhaps the bubbly is a foil for the hearty meat pie. Why question something that feels so right?
Meat pie, made mostly with pork, is equally tasty paired with merlot or cabernet sauvignon, in my book. I like to pair it with a salad, preferably one with a hint of fruit or tomato.
But I am rambling on here. The real star is the meat pie.
Some recipes call for potatoes, something my aunts, grandmother and great-grandmother never used. I skip them, too, in part top honor the memory of those wonderful women, in part because of the carbs.
Here is my family's take on tourtiere:
Three pounds ground meat: I like a combination of fresh ground pork and ground chuck
One large onion, minced
Dash freshly-ground pepper
Dash sea salt
Prepare your crust. You can use your favorite recipe. My father used to make his with lard, so I have never included it here.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown the meat and onion in a large skillet. Season with pepper and spices. Set aside; you can make this ahead and keep it refrigerated.
Pat your bottom crust into a greased pie plate. Before adding the meat, blend in an egg or two, depending upon the size of your pie. The eggs keep the pie from crumbling. I also add the salt at the last minute.
Bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is lightly browned. I used an egg wash on the crust.
You may serve tourtiére warm or cold. You can even freeze it.
Here is another version of tourtiere.