Tag Archives: Christmas dinner

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

Over the years tourtière has become a New Year’s Eve tradition.  A nice break from turkey, a spiced meat pie on a chilly winter’s night is the ultimate comfort food.  I decided to change it up this year and include my new fave vegetable: fennel.  Fennel and pork are a popular Italian combination, that I thought my half Italian boyfriend would enjoy.  The licorice flavour pairs nicely with the pork, and adds to the festive seasoning of the filling.  Flaky, rich and hearty, this French Canadian Fennel Tourtière will keep you fed for days!

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

I have always been intimidated by crust, and I’ve tried many different recipes with mixed results. A few years ago I took a culinary course at George Brown College where I finally learned how to make the perfect crust.  This is a sure-fire recipe and the secret is to make sure your dough stays very cold.  What is great about this recipe is that the dough can be used almost immediately and doesn’t need to chill for an hour like most doughs.  I also read somewhere that using vodka instead of water makes for a crispier crust, and I swear by this trick now.

Originating from Canada, immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th century introduced this dish to Quebec and since then, has become a French Canadian Christmas or New Year’s Eve tradition.  The filling varies depending on the region.  For instance, the tourtières of the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean area and Eastern Quebec are made with potatoes and cubed pieces of meat, while in Montreal the pies are made with ground pork only, spiced with cloves and cinnamon and served with maple syrup, ketchup, chutneys or preserves.  In St. Boniface, Manitoba, similar herbs are used as well as celery salt, nutmeg and dry mustard and the pies are served with mustards and relishes, while an Acadian tourtière is made with pork and may also contain beef, chicken or hare.

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

My tourtière is influenced by both the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and Montreal tourtières.  I like using ground pork and beef instead of cubes, and the mashed potatoes help to bind the filling (and I also love mashed potato).  Spicing the meat is essential for that festive aroma, and I like my meat pie more on the savory side so I prefer a combination of marjoram, thyme, sage, cloves and now, fennel.  Finally, I serve my tourtière with some homemade ketchup, gerkins or beet chutney to balance out the richness.  I’d love to try serving with some relishes and mustards, I think a maple mustard or a cranberry relish would be really tasty.

With this recipe you can either make two medium thick pies, or one thick pie.  I usually make one large pie, however the tourtière tradition is to make a whole lot to give away during the holidays.  So if you need a last minute gift, making the second meat pie is always an option!  Either way, your home will be filled with the wonderful aroma of fennel, cloves and sage.

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

51

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: Makes two 9-inch (23-cm) meat pies or one thick 11-inch (27 cm) pie

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

Ingredients

    For the filling:
  • 6 peeled Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 cup finely chopped fennel, including stems
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon dried fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp ground sage
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten with 2 Tbsp water
  • For the crust:
  • 750 grams pastry flour
  • 500 grams shortening (chilled)
  • 250ml chilled vodka
  • 15 grams salt

Instructions

  1. Boil water in a large pot and add potatoes. Cook until soft, then push through a potato ricer*.
  2. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the fennel and garlic for 5 minutes or until softened.
  3. Crumble the ground pork and beef into the pan and cook until the meat is no longer pink.
  4. Add fennel seeds, marjoram, thyme, sage, cloves and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Stir in the wine and cover the pan. Lower the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Combine flour and shortening in large bowl and cut with pastry cutter until reduced to irregular pea sized crumbs.
  7. Dissolve salt in vodka and add to flour mixture all at once. Mix just enough to combine without overmixing.
  8. Transfer dough to floured surface and shape into four discs (or just two if making only one pie). Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in fridge until ready for use*.
  9. Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Grease either 2 x 9-inch pie pans or 1 x 11-inch pie pan.
  10. Once the filling has finished simmering, stir in the mashed potatoes and parsley. Set aside to cool.
  11. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface into four (or two) thin rounds.
  12. Fill each pie chell with 1/2 of the cooled meat mixture and top with the remaining pastry, sealing and fluting the edges with your fingers to form a ruffled border.
  13. Cut small steam vents in the tops of the pies using the tip of a sharp knife and brush the pies with the egg yolk glaze
  14. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Cool for 20 minutes before cutting into wedges to serve.

Notes

*a ricer is a utensil that pushes the potato through small holes, resulting in fluffly mashed potatoes. A potato masher can be used as well but can result in over mashing, making the potato too gluey.

*if making only one pie, use the extra dough to make a few mini meat pies or to add additional crust decor

*always keep your dough cold, this will "firm-up" the shortening which in turn makes the dough easier to handle

http://iseehungrypeople.net/2016/11/28/french-canadian-fennel-tourtiere/

Do you have a New Year’s Eve tradition?  What would you add to your French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere filling?

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup

Sweet Potato Squash Soup

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that as we grow older, eating becomes more tiring?  First world problems I know but whew!  After this past weekend I still feel like I’m in a food coma.  In general, I eat pretty healthy throughout the year so I think my body just shuts down when affronted with so much fat and sugar.  I love pigging out over the holidays, but I was really craving something healthy.  This Japanese-inspired Asian Sesame Sweet Potato Squash Soup was just what I needed after an overly indulgent weekend.

Over the years I’ve made every variation of sweet potato and squash: roasted, mashed, baked.   This holiday season, I really wanted to try something new.  Butternut squash soup is popular, but I decided to add sweet potato, to bring out the sweetness of the squash.  I had to keep this soup dairy free, so I used a bit of miso instead of cream for a richer taste.  Building on this Asian-inspired flavour, I included some mirin (sweet cooking wine) to add acidity to the dish.  For the garnish I topped with toasted sesame seeds and nori (dried seaweed) for a bit of salty crunch.

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup

Festive and easy to prepare, I loved this healthy, hearty soup on a cold, winter’s night.  The nori, mirin and miso can be found in the Asian aisle of a big chain supermarket, or at any Asian grocery store.  If you don’t want to buy a whole bottle of mirin, you can substitute for sake and keep on drinking this holiday season!

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup

51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1" piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • ¼ cup mirin (sweet cooking wine)
  • 2 tbsp light miso paste
  • 5 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 6 snack size sheets of nori (dried seaweed)
  • 3 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat sesame oil in a large pot or saute pan on medium-high heat. Saute onion, garlic and ginger until softened, about 2 minutes. Add squash and sweet potato and sauté 1 minute longer.
  2. Whisk together mirin and miso paste. Add to vegetables along with chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer uncovered for 20-25 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
  3. Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree soup until smooth. Return to pot and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Lightly toast the sesame seeds in a toaster oven or in a small pan on the stove top over low heat.
  5. Serve and top with toasted sesame seeds and pieces of nori.
http://iseehungrypeople.net/2016/11/14/asian-sesame-sweet-potato-squash-soup/

Sweet Potato Squash Soup

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato Squash Soup

What is your favourite holiday soup?  Let me know if you enjoyed the Asian flavours in this Sweet Potato Squash Soup!