(Lighter) French Canadian Tourtière

(Lighter) French Canadian Tourtiere – Serves 6. Calories per serving: 465

When it’s really cold outside I always want a heartier, stodgier meal. I thought I would try to lighten up a traditional French Canadian tourtière by minimizing the fat in the filling and crust, using just a top crust and using lots of vegetables, so it’s somewhere between a Shepherd’s Pie and a traditional tourtière and is scented with the traditional tourtière spices.


1 cup wholegrain spelt flour
1/2 cup light spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons ice water

1 lb. very lean ground pork
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons oil
1/2 large onion, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 small russet potato, diced
2 cloves garlic
1/2 lb. cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons white wine, white vermouth or water (for deglazing)
2 Tablespoons light spelt flour
1 cup chicken broth

Spelt flour has some gluten, but it is so fragile and easily broken that you have to be very gentle with it and not overwork it, or your crust will be very tough. This method makes a very flaky crust.
Combine flours and salt in a large measure. Add in the diced butter and start working it in using either two knives, a pastry cutter or a Danish Dough Whisk (available at Lee Valley). Add in the oil and work it in. You should have large granules. Now put the whole thing in the freezer for 15 minutes or so.
While you are dicing the vegetables, start sauteing the ground pork in a saute pan over medium heat. You don’t need to add any fat or oil.
Add the thyme, cloves and cinnamon and keep browning. When you have brown bits on the bottom of the pan remove the pork to another dish.
Add 2 teaspoons of oil to the pan, the onion, celery and carrot and sauté for a few minutes.
Add the diced potatoes, then the mushrooms and garlic. Keep sautéing over medium heat.
At this point the pan may be very brown on the bottom. Add the wine, vermouth or water to deglaze the pot. Scrape up all the brown bits, as they make the tastiest gravy.
Add the 2 Tablespoons of flour, stir.
Add the chicken stock and allow to come to the boil, stirring until the gravy is nicely thickened. Remove from the heat and pour into a deep pie dish.
Remove the pastry mixture from the freezer and add the ice water, a tablespoon at a time, until the pastry stays together when you press some between your fingers.
Dump it all out onto either a silpat silicone mat, a piece of parchment, or a floured countertop.
Gather it together with your fingers and work it lightly until it forms a ball. Press it into a disk, then roll out into a circle about the size of your pie dish.
Carefully place the pastry over the pork mixture in the pie dish. If there are bits left hanging over, cut them off and you can use the bits to make a decorative pattern on top, if you wish.
Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, until golden brown.
Serve with peas, a green salad, and Love, of course.


Gather your ingredients for the filling


and for the crust


cut about a quarter of a cup off the package of butter


dice it right in it’s package


add to the flour and salt mixture in the measuring cup


then add the oil


start working the dough with the Danish Dough whisk, or two knives


Keep working until large granules form


then put the whole thing in the freezer


meanwhile, start sauteing the pork in a dry pan


add the thyme, cinnamon and cloves


keep sauteing until brown bits form on the bottom


meanwhile, dice your vegetables


add the vegetables and oil to the pot after you have removed the pork to a bowl


add in the potatoes


keep sauteing


add the mushrooms and garlic, and keep sauteing until the pan bottom is quite brown


add in a couple of tablespoons of liquid to…


loosen the brown bits off the bottom


add in the flour


and stock, and continue simmering until the gravy is thick



put the mixture into a deep pie dish


remove the pastry mixture from the freezer


add the ice-cold water and work it in to the pastry


until it stays together if you take out a pinch


dump it out onto a silpat, a floured counter or a piece of parchment


work it gently with your hands until it comes together


into a ball. Note the flecks of frozen butter


roll it out into a circle


about the size of your pie dish


You may need to use a bit of flour


place the pastry crust on top of the pork mixture in the pie dish


trim the overhanging edges and make fancy shapes, if you like


Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes until golden brown



serve with green peas and a salad


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