Monday, January 4, 2016

French Canadian Tourtiere

I was able to check off one of the adventures on my bucket list – to travel through the waterways and canals of the Northeast. The St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes were used by the Native Americans, explorers, settlers and armies and were key to the development of the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, New York State, and the interior of the United States. 

I was excited when I learned about Blount Small Ship Adventures’ “Locks, Legends, and Canals” (461 Water Street, PO Box 368, Warren, RI, 02885; toll free 800-556-7450, The two-week cruise from Montreal to New York City traveled via the St. Lawrence, Lake
Ontario, NYS Canal System, and the Hudson River was a dream come true.  The Grande Caribe is a purpose-built vessel designed to make it through the narrow and shallow waters of canals. Blount often has special offers.  The listed price started at $4,399 pp but with 40% off the cruise cost $2,640 pp making the two-week cruise a great value considering some of the shore trips were included. 

Even though John and I boarded the Grande Caribe in Montreal our first port of call was Quebec before returning to Montreal and continuing through the St. Lawrence Seaway on the way to New York City.  Each day the menu was posted offering a choice of entrees for dinner.  After a morning tour of Quebec that included a side trip to Montmorency Falls, I returned to the ship and noticed that one of the dinner entrees choices was French
Canadian Tourtiere. I asked Chef William Pannoni if he would show me how to make it.  Chef William, like all the staff, was quick to agree.  He made individual servings for most of the passengers including a half portion for one of the guests, and larger ones for the staff. 

Tourtiere originated in the province of Quebec as early as the 1600s and, while it is enjoyed any time of the year, it is a traditional part of Christmas and New Year’s celebrations in Quebec.

French Canadian Tourtiere

¾  tbsp butter
¼  tsp oil
1 onion, diced
1 lb. lean ground pork
½ lb. ground lamb
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½  tsp salt
½  tsp thyme, crushed
¼  tsp sage
¼  tsp black pepper
1/8  tsp ground cloves
1 prepared double pie crust, uncooked
1 whisked egg white (optional)

In a large sauce pan add butter and oil (oil helps to prevent butter from scorching) over medium-low heat. When warm add onions. Cook slowly over medium-low heat until onions are caramelized being careful not to burn the onions. Set aside. In another pan cook pork for seven minutes stirring occasionally. Add lamb. Mix. Cook for seven more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic, salt, thyme, sage, black pepper, cloves, and onions. Mix. Cook five
minutes more stirring occasionally. Place in colander. Drain until excessive moisture is gone.  Let it cool for one hour.  Cut dough in shape of dish.  Use scraps to cover sides and bottom of dish. Press meat into the dish. Place crust on the top. Crimp edges. Slit air holes so steam can escape. (optional) Brush the crusts with whisked egg whites. Bake in preheated oven at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let it cool 10 minutes before cutting. Serve. Can be frozen uncooked.

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