Welcome to Week Eight of the Ten Canadian Provinces of New Recipe Tuesday! This week we explore the province of Quebec, the second largest province after Ontario. Quebec is the only province to have a predominantly French speaking population. The majority of people live in its two largest cities, Montreal and Quebec City.
Here are some interesting facts about Quebec. Montreal is named for Mount Royal, the triple-peaked hill in the center of the city. Quebec almost voted for independence in 1995. The referendum failed by less than one percentage point. Montreal used to be the largest city in Canada, but was surpassed by Toronto in the 1970s. Montreal is home to Cirque de Soleil. The Algonquin word ‘Kebec’ means “where the river narrows”. And founded in 1786, the Molson Coors Canada Brewery in Montreal is the oldest brewery in North America and is still located at its original site.
When I went looking for a recipe, I actually took the advice of my friend Richard, who is a Québécois. He told me that I should make a Tourtière, so I figured it was worth investigating. What I discovered is that this pork pie is a very traditional dish that is served on Christmas Eve after midnight mass. Since it can be prepared ahead and eaten warm or cold, it was easy to put out after everyone returns from services.
Like many regional recipes, there are as many variations as there are cooks! I decided to go with a version that was fairly straight forward but still used a hearty combination of spices. Some recipes use celery and onion, but I opted for one that used onion and potato. I think you could probably use all three ingredients and no one would say you did it wrong.
Overall, everyone seemed to enjoy it, but the consensus was it needed something. I think it is a texture thing, as the whole dish is very soft and (dare I say) one note. Some recipes I saw mentioned a green tomato relish, although I never found a recipe for it, but I can see how the acidity of a tomato or something similar would brighten the dish.
I am going to give this one an A-. The family ate it up and said it was a decent dish. I think I need to go find that relish recipe to make it even better next time.
Thanks for stopping by. See you next time in Saskatchewan!
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups water
- 1 large potato (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice; about 2 cups diced potato
- 2 pounds ground pork, or a combination of ground pork and ground beef; or meatloaf mixture
- 1 medium-to-large onion (about 8 ounces), diced; about 1 1/2 cups diced onion
- 1 to 2 large cloves garlic, chopped fine
- 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 3/4 teaspoon ground sage
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
- 1 package refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box (or make your own pie crust, using a recipe for a double crust)
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- Put the salt, water, and potato in a medium saucepan, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Boil until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the potatoes, saving the water. Mash about half the potatoes, leaving the other half in chunks. Set all aside.
- In a large skillet, brown the meat, draining off any excess fat when finished.
- Add the onion, garlic, spices, salt, and reserved potato water to the meat, stirring to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, and then lower the heat to simmer. Stirring occasionally, continue simmering the mixture for 35 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated and the onions are tender.
- Add the mashed potatoes to the meat mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined. Gently stir in the diced potatoes. Remove the bay leaf. Set the mixture aside and allow it to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Line a 9-inch pie dish with pastry. When the meat mixture has cooled to lukewarm, spoon the filling into the crust, gently patting it flat.
- Brush the edge of the pastry with water. Place the top pastry on the pie and press gently to seal the edge. Trim the pastry, crimp the edges and cut steam vents in the top crust.
- Bake the pie for 45 minutes, until it is golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and set it on a trivet or rack.
- Allow the pie to cool for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving.