Tourtière is a classic French-Canadian comfort food often enjoyed on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It can be a labour of love, as traditional recipes require boiling potatoes and homemade pastry. This streamlined version swaps out mashed potatoes for ready-made breadcrumbs, and replaces the classic lard pie crust with decadent commercial puff pastry. This tourtière is also a little lighter. Instead of a double-crust 9-inch pie, individual servings are cooked in ramekins and topped with a single layer of pastry.
Serves: 4 (about 1 cup each)
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
1 pound lean ground pork
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried savory*
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 roll commercial puff pastry (half a 450g package), defrosted
* If you don’t have savory, you can substitute Herbes de Provence.
- Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in a medium skillet.
- While the water heats, in a large bowl, mix the pork, onion, garlic, savory, thyme, salt, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper together until combined. Once the water boils, stir the pork mixture into the water, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the pork is cooked and tender.
- Stir in the bread crumbs and continue to cook, uncovered, until the liquid has evaporated, about 2 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool while you prepare the pastry.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry into a 12-inch square. Place a ramekin upside down on the pastry and cut a circle about an inch larger than the rim. Cut an X in the centre of each circle to allow steam to escape. Repeat until you have 4 circles.*
- Divide the filling evenly between four 8-ounce ramekins (about 1 cup of filling each). Wet the rim of the ramekin and place a pastry circle on top and press over rim. Alternatively, you can tuck the edges of the pastry inside.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the filling is bubbling hot. Serve while still warm.
*If you don’t have ramekins, you can bake the filling in a 9-inch pie plate topped with a whole sheet of puff pastry. Be sure to slit the top to vent the steam.
Charmian Christie is a cookbook author and food writer whose wants to mess up your kitchen so she won’t be alone in the chaos.