Saturday, December 21, 2013

French Canadian Tortiere

It was love at first bite!
My dear friend Cathy introduced me to this classic
 Canadian Christmas dish a few years ago and I 
have since adopted it into my traditions as well. 
I lived in Canada as  a little girl (Niagara Falls), 
so it seemed a nice nod to those Canadian 
Christmas memories from childhood. 
We didn't make tortiere, but I can now!
Tortiere is a savory pork main dish pie. 
It's traditionally served around holiday time, 
particularly in Quebec on Christmas Eve.
 It has complex flavors and fills your home with
 the most wonderful aroma.
 I needed to borrow the 1/4 t mace
from a tennis friend. It's a lot like
nutmeg, but I wanted to follow Cathy's
recipe exactly.
 Just mash the cooked potatoes adding
  nothing to them. They will go into
 the cooked pork.
 I made my own pie crust, but you can
buy ready-made and use that.
 Once the meat mixture has cooled, add it
to the pie and cover the top with crust.
Cut in a vent. I have a tin of holiday shapes
 that I get to use for just such an occasion.
 Ready for the oven.
 Time to  make the mushroom gravy.
Saute seasoned mushrooms in a little butter.
Add your favorite brown gravy mix and add
 a little extra water than instructed so that
 it's not too thick. Use at least
2 packets...maybe 3 if you
are gravy lovers, (and who isn't?).
 Out of the oven when golden.
Slice into 6-8 portions.
 Serve with mushroom gravy,
scalloped potatoes (they bake along in the oven),
green salad, or vegetable.
Don't you just LOVE family traditions,
both old and new!
Here's Cathy's recipe. YUM!

French Canadian Tortiere
1-1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 C boiling water
1 can consomme soup
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1-1/2 t salt
1/4 t each: mace, sage, pepper
pinch ground cloves
3 medium potatoes, peeled, cubed, boiled, mashed

In a saucepan thoroughly combine all ingredients
except potatoes. Stir frequently over low heat,
cooking until pork looses it's pink color and the
liquid is reduced by half, about 45 minutes.
Boil and mash potatoes. Add to meat mixture and
let cool. Line a deep dish pie pan with crust. Fill
with the meat mixture and cover with top crust.
Seal edges and flute. Carve a Christmas tree or star
on top to vent. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then
reduce heat to 350 and continue baking for another
45  minutes. Cut into wedges to serve.
Serve with mushroom gravy and scalloped or
mashed potatoes, vegetable and/or salad.

You can use refrigerated pre-made crust or make your own.

Pie Crust
2-1/2 C flour
1/2 t salt
3/4 C shortening
4-5 T ice cold water
Combine the flour and salt in a food processor
Pulse to combine. Add the Crisco and pulse on/off
about 15-30 times, until blended.
With machine running, drizzle in
enough ice water just until it begins to
 hold together. Divide dough in half, and
shape into flatted disks. Wrap in plastic,
chill at least 1 hour or up to 3 days or
frozen for up to 1 month.
 Roll out on a floured surface.
Enough for a double crust pie or 
two shells. 


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ginger Cookies

Here's an easy cookie recipe that will have your
 whole house smelling like a bakery. 
 They are full of spicy cinnamon, ginger, cloves, 
and nutmeg. YUM!
I used a hand  mixer to cream the butter and sugar,
then added the egg and honey. Mix well.
Dump all the dry ingredients into a sifter.
 Add to the the bowl and mix well. 
I chilled the dough to  make it easier to handle.
 Roll into 1" balls and then roll in sugar.
 Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake
 @375 for 9 minutes....that was 
the perfect time for me.
 Cool on the sheet for 5  minutes before removing.
Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before
 storing in an airtight container. Of course you'll
want to eat one or two while they're still warm
with your tea or coffee. 
You  might as well double the recipe because
they are great for sharing and they go fast!

Ginger Cookies
3/4 C Butter (1-1/2 sticks or 6oz)
1 C white sugar
1 egg
1/4 C honey or molasses
Beat all together then add the 
dry sifted ingredients 
2-1/4  C sifted flour
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t nutmeg
2 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
2 t baking soda
Mix well and refrigerate for about
 30  minutes to make rolling easier.
Roll into 1" balls and roll in a plate of sugar
(about 1/4 C ). Place 2" apart on an 
ungreased cookie sheet. Bake @375 for
 9 minutes. Let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes
 before removing to a wire rack to cool.
Store in an airtight container.