Wednesday, April 23, 2014
T is for Titmouse and Tourtière
Titmice are certainly a well known variety of bird in England where, I have learned from 10,000 Birds, that their name comes from old English meaning tit, any animal or bird that was tiny, and mase, a small bird. However, they are a well established bird in the Americas and appear to be spreading north having found their way into southern Canada (possibly due to global warming). Although not a particularly well known bird, they are numerous and always turn up in great numbers in back yard bird counts. We certainly used to get them in large numbers in our feeder in North Carolina and were always a very popular visitor as far as we were concerned.
Some years ago I obtained the current copy of our local liquor board’s magazine, Food and Drink, and one of their featured recipes was their version of Tourtière. Although basically a meat pie, the French influence has raised it above the ordinary and this recipe, with its use of three different meats with unusual spice combinations, is a particularly good one. In the recipe it says ‘serves 6’; however, when I make these they adequately fill four pies (as shown) each of which is more than plenty for 4 people. You can, of course, make your own pastry, but I always use Tenderflake pastry and find it very good, especially not being a particularly good pastry chef. These keep very well in the freezer too and I always make four at a time.
As a change, you can use frozen puff pastry for your pies.
2 Tbs olive oil
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground veal
2 cup finely chopped onion
¾ cup finely chopped carrot
1¼ cup chopped fennel
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
1½ tsp dry mustard
1½ tsp allspice
1 1/4 cup beef stock (or less)
1 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbs rolled oats
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley per pie
1 Tbs dried breadcrumbs or ½ Tbs semolina per pie
1 egg beaten
1 Tbs whipping cream
4 boxes of frozen pastry, deep dish - defrosted (2 shells in each)
1. Heat oil in a heavy pot over high heat. Add ground meat and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the pinkness disappears. Drain off fat.
2. Stir in the onion, carrots, fennel, bay leaf, dried thyme, dry mustard, all-spice, cinnamon, rolled oats and salt and pepper. Add enough stock to just cover the top of the meat. Lower the heat to low, cover and cook slowly for about 45 minutes, or until the onions disappear. Check and stir after 30 minutes. Re-season if needed. Cool, remove and discard bay leaf and stir in parsley.
3. Preheat oven to 450°F/230°C.
4. Take out four pastry shells to use as bottoms and sprinkle with breadcrumbs or semolina to absorb any fat. Pile meat mixture onto each pastry crust, leaving a 1 inch border. Brush edge of pastry with water. Top with remaining crusts and press edges together to seal, crimping decoratively if desired.
5. Combine beaten egg with cream and brush over pastry. Cut steam vents into the top crusts.
6. Bake for 15 minutes in lower half of the oven. Reduce heat to 400°F/200°C and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crusts are golden. Cooking four pies it is necessary to rotate their positions in the oven.
Source: Food and Drink Holiday 2006
Have a great day