Lamb Tourtière Crepes

Temps des Fêtes 2011
food and drink

BY: Monda Rosenberg

While most of us think of tourtieres as Quebec’s quintessential meat pies made with a mix of ground beef, pork and veal—fillings for these flavourful pies actually extend to venison, lamb, duck and even seafood. Here, we’ve combined the ingredients that star in the lamb tourtieres sold at the award-winning Les Fougeres restaurant and shop in Chelsea, Quebec. Ground lamb simmered with fragrant seasonings is given a modern touch with the addition of diced red pepper and a crowning layer of creamy goat’s cheese just before the top crust is added. We borrowed this seductive combo—then wrapped everything up party-style in another French classic: delicate French crepes. You can, of course, roll the filling in spring roll wrappers or spoon into store-bought tart shells or croustades.

12 cooked Blender Crepes (recipe follows)
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
1 lb (500 g) ground lamb or veal
½ cup (125 mL) sodium-reduced chicken or beef broth
¾ cup (175 mL) fi nely chopped onion
2 tbsp (30 mL) minced fresh sage leaves or 1½ tsp (7 mL) dried sage leaves
1 tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 tsp (5 mL) dried rosemary
½ tsp (2 mL) each of ground mace, all spice and salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) cinnamon
½ cup (125 mL) finely chopped celery
½ cup (125 mL) finely chopped red pepper
¼ cup (60 mL) crumbled soft goat’s cheese or 3 tbsp (45 mL) rolled oats

3 eggs
1½ cups (375 mL) fine dry bread crumbs or panko crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying

Chives or sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 Prepare Blender Crepes and set aside. For filling, heat oil in a wide frying pan over medium-heat. Spread the meat out in the pan. Cook until no pink remains, about 7 minutes.Stir often, breaking up the meat to prevent clumping.

2 Add the broth and onion. Sprinkle with the sage, rosemary, mace, allspice, salt and cinnamon.Adjust heat so the mixture just simmers. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the celery and red pepper. Cover and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Then uncover and cook, stirring often, until liquid is reduced to about ⅓ cup (80 mL). This will take 10 to 15 minutes.

3 To help hold the mixture together, stir in the goat’s cheese or the rolled oats. Stir for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit at least 5 minutes before using. (If making ahead, cover and refrigerate up to 2 days. Warm slightly in the microwave and stir well before filling crepes.)

4 To fill crepes, lay them on a work surface. Spoon a scant. cup (60 mL) filling along the bottom half of 1 crepe. Spread to form a 2 x 4-inch (5 x 10-cm) mound. Fold in sides of crepe, then gently roll up, enclosing filling as you would a burrito. Or for a cigar-style roll, spoon the filling along the bottom half of the crepe and simply roll crepe up over the filling. Place on a platter or baking sheet. Repeat with remaining crepes and filling. (If making ahead, cover and refrigerate no more than 4 hours.)

5 To fry crepes, whisk eggs in a shallow bowl just large enough to hold 1 filled crepe. Place bread crumbs in a second similar-size bowl. Pour enough oil into a medium-size frying pan with high sides to reach a level of 1/2 inch (1 cm). Set over medium heat.

6 When oil is hot, gently roll a filled crepe in egg mixture. Lift, draining off excess egg, then place in bread crumbs. Roll gently to coat. Shake off excess crumbs, then slip into the oil. Immediately repeat with another crepe. Turn the first crepe and cook both until crisp and golden, 15 to 30 seconds a side. Lift to appetizer plates and serve, or place on a baking sheet in a 200°F (100°C) oven while cooking remaining crepes. Try to skim off any breading that may come off the crepes during frying before adding the next batch of crepes. Garnish with chives or sprigs of fresh rosemary.

Makes 3 cups (750 mL) filling for 12 appetizer crepes

What to Serve