Tourtière hand pies

A fun new way to enjoy a classic French Canadian dish!

Tourtière is a dish that many Canadians – whether of French heritage or not – associate with the holiday season. Commonly served at ‘le réveillon‘ – the feast following midnight mass on Christmas eve – tourtière is a savoury meat pie that gets an extra boost of flavour thanks to the inclusion of spices such as cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice. While it is most often made in the format of a traditional pie (with both top and bottom crust), the spiced meat filling is super versatile to enjoy in other ways. My family loves these little tourtière tarts so much that I decided to try making hand pies with the same filling and they were a huge hit. I love that you can make a batch or two and freeze them, then bake from frozen for a super easy lunch, appetizer or dinner. Serve them with your favourite chili sauce or chutney (we like this sweet and spicy tomato jam) and a side salad.

Ingredients

  • Dough for two pastry shells or two sheets of puff pastry, thawed but still cold
  • 1 pound (500 g) lean ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups (110 g) finely chopped mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) chicken or beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon (1 g) dried savory
  • 1/4 tsp (.7 g) each ground cinnamon and cloves
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon (5 mL) water, to seal and brush crust

Method

  • Cook pork in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until no longer pink.
  • Add oil, then add onion, celery and carrot. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes longer, until all vegetables are softened.
  • Add stock, savory, cinnamon and cloves. Simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until almost no liquid remains. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool for 15 minutes then refrigerate until thoroughly cold (or freeze if planning to assemble hand pies later; if frozen, thaw meat carefully before proceeding). The filling must be cold so it doesn’t melt the pastry.
  • Lightly flour both sides of the pastry dough then roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper, as thinly as possible without creating holes (1/8 inch or 3 mm is ideal but a little thicker is fine also). Using a bowl or other vessel that is 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter, cut circles out of pastry, re-rolling scraps to get as many as possible (you should get 10 – 12).
  • Beat the egg and water together in a small bowl; set aside.
  • Place a heaping spoonful of the cold tourtière filling near the centre of each circle, taking care to leave a border free for sealing. Brush the edge or border with the egg wash using a pastry brush or your fingertips.
  • Fold over the pastry to form a semi-circle or half-moon shape. With the tines of a fork, press the edges together to seal the hand pie. Repeat with remaining pastry circles.
  • Prick each pie several times to create steam vents. At this point you can refrigerate or freeze the hand pies to bake later.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425F. Place the hand pies, spaced about 2 inches (5 cm) apart, on a parchment-lined baking tray and brush the tops with the remaining egg wash.
  • If baking from fresh (i.e., not frozen), bake for 15 minutes, lower the heat to 350F, and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until pies are deep golden brown and filling is bubbly.
  • If baking from frozen, bake for 15 minutes at 425F then 20 – 25 minutes at 350F.
  • Serve hot, with condiment of choice.
  • Any remaining tourtière filling can be frozen for future use.

Makes approximately 1 dozen hand pies.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.

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