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  • Writer's pictureGesine

Tourtière a la Gesine

If you live close to the French Canadian border, you know tourtière. You love tourtière. It's a holiday staple, filled with aromatic spices and loads of meat. The recipe itself is mutable. There are as many tourière recipes as there are French Canadians...and Vermonters. I'm adding another one to the long list of delicious meat pie luminaries. My pie includes pork and beef. Some recipes include lamb. Others add game meat to round out the flavor. Feel free to play. I also added heirloom carrots for taste, texture and lovely color (purple! yellow! red-ish!) and switched up potato for sweet potato. And of course, for a touch of sweetness, I added some maple syrup, an ingredient both Vermonters and Canadians can agree is a divine addition.

TOURTIÈRE a la Gesine

For the filling

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups water

1 large sweet potato (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/2" dice; about 2 cups diced sweet potato

1 pound ground beef (80/20)

1 pound ground pork shoulder

8 ounces thick cut bacon, cut into small pieces

1 cup beef broth

½ cup dry white wine

1 -large onion (about 8 ounces), diced; to make 1 1/2 cups diced onion

1 large carrot (or 4 small heirloom, multi-colored), diced

2 large cloves garlic, chopped fine

1 teaspoon anchovy paste

1 teaspoon maple syrup

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 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt, to taste

to finish

½ cup heavy cream

For the filling

Place the salt, water, and cubed sweet potato in a medium saucepan, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Boil until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the potatoes. Mash about half the potatoes, leaving the other half in chunks.

In a large skillet, brown the bacon until just crisp. Transfer to the bacon to a paper towel lined plate, leaving the rendered fat in the pan, and then brown the two meats, draining off any excess fat when finished.

Add the carrots, onion, garlic, spices, maple, salt, white wine, and beef broth to the meat, stirring to combine.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer. Stirring occasionally, continue simmering the mixture for 35 minutes or so, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the onions are tender.

Add the mashed sweet potatoes and anchovy paste to the meat mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined. Gently stir in the diced potatoes, bacon, and the heavy cream. Salt and pepper to taste. Set the mixture aside to cool.

For the crust

2 cups all purpose flour (360 grams)

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cut into tablespoon sized pieces

3/4 (6 ounces) package cream cheese, cold, cut into ½ inch cubes

1/3 cup ice water

To finish

Egg wash (1 egg whisked together with 1 tablespoon water and a pinch of salt. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before using)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Toss in the butter and cream cheese and coat with flour and then using a pastry blender or two knifes, work the fats into the flour mixture until the mixture looks like moist cornmeal. Sprinkle in the water, a tablespoon at a time, gently working the dough, until it just comes together when a small amount is pinched between your fingers. Gently knead the dough into ball and then divide into two even pieces, patting each piece into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Roll each disk of dough into a 12” round and line the bottom of a 9” pie pan with one piece, allowing the remaining dough to hang over the sides of the pan. Dock the bottom of the dough. Add the filling and top with the second round of dough. Gently press the edges of the dough together along the rim of the pan and then tuck the dough under and crimp the edges.

Score the top of the dough in a starburst pattern and brush with egg wash. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, about 45 minutes.

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