Holiday Pork Pie

Temps des Fêtes 2018
food and drink

BY: Christopher St. Onge

This delicious savoury pie is adapted from Martin Picard’s excellent Tourtière du Shack. Because I’m not much of a fan of cool or even room-temperature ground meat, my recipe leaves it out altogether. That makes it a superb make-ahead dish, as it’s just as good fully cooled as it is hot from the oven. If you want it warm, bake just before your departure. There is ample dough to make a decorative top of overlapping cut-outs—if you opt not to do this, roll out your top to the same thickness as the bottom. And  be sure to bring ketchup to serve alongside! The spice profile here is similar to ketchup’s so it’s  a real winner with a squeeze on the side.

3 lbs (1.36 kg) trimmed and boned pork butt
2 tsp (10 mL) salt, divided
¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (500 mL) chicken stock, preferably homemade
½ cup (125 mL) dry white wine
1 small onion, halved
2 bay leaves
Generous sprig thyme
¼ cup (60 mL) bread crumbs
6 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ tsp (1 mL) ground cinnamon
½ tsp (2 mL) ground cloves
½ tsp (2 mL) ground nutmeg
¼ tsp (1 mL) ground allspice
½ cup (125 mL) peeled, coarsely grated  russet potato

3½ cups (875 mL) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup (250 mL) lard, cut into chunks
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
¼ cup (60 mL) ice-cold water
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).

2. Cut pork into several large chunks. In a large ovenproof pot with a tight-fitting lid, combine pork, 1 tsp (5 mL) salt, pepper, stock, wine,  onion, bay leaves and thyme. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, cover and bake in preheated oven for 2½ to 3 hours or until meat shreds easily. Remove pork from braising liquid and set aside.

3. Remove and discard onion, bay leaves and thyme from braising liquid; skim as much fat as possible and reduce over medium-high heat to 1 cup (250 mL).

4. Once pork is cool enough to handle, using both a knife and your fingers, pull pork apart and chop into ½-inch (1-cm) pieces; add to a large bowl. Sprinkle bread crumbs over and toss to combine. Pour reduced braising liquid over; stir gently and set aside.

5. Fry bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat; cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until bacon just begins to crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to bowl containing pork mixture. Drain all but 1 tbsp (15 mL) bacon fat from pan and return to medium-low heat.

6. Cook onion for about 6 minutes or until translucent; stir in garlic, cook 1 more minute. Add cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice; stir in potatoes and remaining 1 tsp (5 mL) salt. Cook, stirring often, for 8 to 10 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Scrape mixture into bowl over pork and bacon; stir to combine. Check seasoning; adjust if necessary. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, preferably overnight.

7. For the crust, combine flour, butter, lard and salt in a food processor; pulse until butter and lard are pea-sized. Turn out onto counter and sprinkle with ¼ cup (60 mL) ice-cold water. Bring dough together with your hands, folding it over onto itself several times and flattening as you go. Divide into 2 pieces, one roughly one-third, and the other two-thirds. Wrap both pieces in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

8. When ready to assemble and bake, preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

9. On a lightly floured surface, roll out smaller quantity of dough a scant ¼ inch (5 mm) thick; transfer to a 9-inch (23-cm) deep-dish pie plate. Trim dough leaving 1 inch (2.5 cm) of overhang. Fill with meat mixture and bring overhang up and over the edge of the meat; brush exposed dough with water.

10. If making a decorative top, roll out dough ⅛ inch (3 mm) thick; cut into as many pieces as you’re able to, using the cookie cutter of your choice. Arrange cut-outs in concentric circles overtop filling, being sure to brush bottom of each with a little water to adhere. Leave or cut out a 1-inch (2.5-cm) hole in centre.

11. Brush pastry with egg and bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden. Reduce temperature to 350°F (180°C) and bake for another 40 to 45 minutes or until deeply golden and filling is hot. Let rest at least 30 minutes before serving.

Serves 8 to 10

What to Serve