As you all know unless you've been in Siberia - I'm Canadian. Half french Canadian to be exact thanks to my Mother's rellies. My Father was first generation Canadian, as his Dad was born in England. It was an interesting combination to say the least.
Christmas Eve traditions in our house when I was growing up included the infamous Tourtiere which is a French Canadian pork pie, subtle in flavor and made with ground pork, onions, thyme, a pinch of cloves and bound together with mashed potatoes or bread crumbs, or both. The recipe for it seems to change by region and/or family as some include beef and pork, or venison, some with more vegetables and spices vary as well. It was one of those dishes as kids we looked forward to every year, because it was only served at Christmas and Mother's tourtiere was absolutely incredible!
The first year the big guy and I were married of course I made tourtiere for Christmas Eve - the same recipe I'd been making for years. It was a MAJOR bust. He hated it - "didn't have enough spices", so that version's been kicked to the curb. I have to admit to being darn near heart broken, but hey it's just one of those compromises you make when you're married so this year I thought I'd give him a surprise that wasn't much of a surprise since he prepped all the veggies that went into it. I used his recipe for Cajun Meat Pies but made just one rustic pie rather than a bunch of hand pies, and served it for our Christmas Eve dinner last evening. I am including the recipe here for the filling which will make far more than you'll need for one pie, but I'll be posting about what to do with the leftovers a little later this week. Honestly a word of warning - OK - two words of warning, oh what the heck. Who's really counting anyway! Download Cajun Meat Pies
It is not for the faint of heart or stomach. Made from a mixture of pork and beef, it is loaded with the "trinity" - onion, celery and green peppers, and laden with garlic, jalapeno peppers, cayenne, black pepper, thyme and bay leaves. All of that tempered with a load of candied sweet potatoes - it is the true antithesis of tourtiere. In other words, there isn't anything subtle about it. If you have gall bladder issues - do not, I repeat, do not eat this. It has so much butter in it, it could float a boat. I'm giving you the real original recipe but honestly if you want to cut back on the butter, go right ahead. For sure it doesn't really need the stick of it that goes into the filling, in addition to the bunch in the candied sweet potatoes, at least I don't think it does. Use your discretion, but don't leave it out entirely. After all - it's Christmas!
The pastry in the picture you're looking at is a Hot Water Pastry. It's one I've used and posted before when I made some beef pot pies. It is PERFECT for savory pies because while it is rich and flaky, it is also "toothy". It is amazingly easy to make and has never failed, though I've never used it in a sweet pie.
Now I've gotta' run! Merry Christmas everyone. Here's wishing you a day filled with joy and laughter - oh and great food too!