Friday, November 1, 2013

Meat pie, my jumbo mini version. The perfect food, the perfect container, the perfect mood fixer. My version is a homage to the French Canadian Tourtiere, with it's old fashioned flavors and spice blend. Oh and I cook the filling in the pressure cooker.

I love a good meat pie.  My mom makes the best meat pie.  I make a decent meat pie.  I wanted meat pie tonight but I wanted it with more flair and more spice than our standard family meat pie.  I wanted something that would give me the joy of a meat pie without the mental comparison I do to my own meat pie.  I wanted something that was close but different... what to do, what to do.  

Oh then we had an epiphany:  Why, hello Mr. Tourtiere.  A tourtiere is a wonderful French Canadian invention that incorporates the best of the meat pie and the best of the flavors of the north, cloves, allspice, cinnamon.  It's hearty and had a wonderful depth of flavor.  

It isn't full of vegetables or gravy but rather pork (and in my case, beef too) goodness with a spice background that is bright and earthy and so good it's making me wax poetic like a lovesick foodie.

You wouldn't think the meat and those spices would 'go' but they do and today, for me, they went all the way home to this mini meat pie extravaganza. I cooked the filling in the pressure cooker because I can and I LOVE my Nesco Pressure Cooker and find ways to use it every day.  

I'm teaching Connor (14) how to cook meals and snacks and general food stuffs in it which is another post for another day. 

Today, however, we are in meat pie land.  I hope you make these, I hope you love these like I do. Oh and yes you can make a large one, yes, you can make smaller ones, yes you can make them as turnovers or topless or bottomless  This is merely a moment in time where I am sharing with you how I made mine, tonight.  As we know, tomorrow or next week I will do it completely differently.  This is the version you need to make soon

Tracy's Mini Tourtiere Inspired Meat Pies  

1/2 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
1 onion
a little bit each of: cloves, allspice, nutmeg, mace, savory, cinnamon
salt and pepper

*leftover mashed potatoes optional*

Pastry, either buy some, make some of your own or use my recipe: 

My vodka pastry is super quick and easy: 

2 cups all purpose flour
1 heaped tsp salt
1 heaped tsp sugar
1 cup fat (butter/margarine/shortening/lard combination)
1/4 cup ice cold vodka
enough cold water to make a soft dough

I put all the dry ingredients in a food processor then add the fats and pulse it so that it looks like small peas in there.  

I toss all the vodka down the tube while it's running then enough ice water in a SLOW stream until it comes together as a ball on the blades.  

Stop the machine immediately.  

"THEY" say you're not supposed to wait till the dough rides the blade; I do.  
Don't fret.  
It's much wetter than 'normal' pastry, the vodka evaporates and makes a lovely flaky dough.  trust me.

Remove the ball, divide it into two and wrap and toss in the fridge for about an hour.  Load of people moan at me about my bad method about blending too long or not measuring properly BUT, I make a killer, flaky pie crust so apparently my wrong way works just fine, try it, you'll like it :)


All right then, back to the pie. 

I cook my filling in the pressure cooker, which is cold.  
Toss in the pork, beef, onion, the spices (I forgot to take a pic of the savory, don't forget to add it) and some water, shush it around to make it look wet and unappetizing and a little like baby food.
Nasty looking isn't it?  Fear not.  The water keeps the meat tender, moist and soft.

IF you don't have your pressure cooker YET, wait on buying one, I am going to testing a new one next week and will do a review for you here.  In the mean time, cook this in a wide pan on the stove with a lid and it'll be almost as good :)  Put all the ingredients in a cold sauce pan with a lid and turn it to medium.  When it boils (euwww) reduce the heat to medium low and simmer it about 30 minutes then reduce the liquid, if needed, without a lid.  

Back to those of us with electric pressure cookers:  Lock and Load, 15 minutes

At the end of 15 minutes, release the pressure and you'll be sure you've done it wrong.  It's sort of cooked and there's this beef/pork/spice/fat mixture floating around the meat.  Turn the cooker onto BROWN and cook the liquid down until you can pull a spoon through it and leaves a wet line.  Add any leftover mashed potatoes, I had about a cup or so, and mix it in well.  Dump it into a container and shove it in the fridge to cool down. 
Deliciousness; and yes it's SUPPOSED to be that color

While the meat cools, make the pastry, roll it out and line 6 (in my case) JUMBO muffin tins.  I cut 6 inch circles and lined the muffin tins.  

Then I squashed the sides a bit so the pastry would be higher than the side of the muffin in.  To make it easier to seal it.  I cut 3 inch 'lids'.  

Fill the tins with the cooled meat mixture almost to the top then put a lid, that's been slit, on to of each.
It's easier to slit before you put them on, according to my International tester.
Place the lid on top and fold the sides up and over the top, pressing slightly.  My dough is pretty soft and super easy to work with so it sticks and squashes together beautifully.  Don't fret, do the best you can.  This is one time where practice really does make perfect.

Badly folded first one:     Beautifully folded sixth one:
Shove them in the fridge until you're ready to cook them.

Egg wash the tops when you're ready and bake them on the BOTTOM RACK of a preheated 425 oven.
Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 375 and bake for another 20+, until they're absolutely gorgeous.  Pop them out of the tins quickly so they don't steam and go soggy.  There are few things worse than a soggy bottomed jumbo mini meat pie.
Nothing but beauty shots now:

Add some veggies and make a light beef gravy from the jar of beef fat you have in the freezer and hello, welcome to full on pie and 3 veg dinner on a Friday night

So, it appears you need to get your hands on a jumbo muffin tin, some pork and/or beef, an onion and some flour for pastry and you'll get this amazing pie on the table. 

I hope you like it, let me know! 


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