Serves 6

Tortiere is a meat pie originating from the Quebec (French) region of Canada. It is traditionally served on Christmas eve in French households and on New Years Eve but it is also found and enjoyed in grocery stores all year round. As with anything though . . . Homemade is the best of all!

Meat Filling:
1 ½ pounds ground pork
1 onion, chopped really fine
¼ cup celery, chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp summer savoury (if you can’t find this, you may use a mixed herbs)
1/3 tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp allspice
1 bay leaf
½ cup boiling water
1 small potato, peeled and finely grated

2 cups plain flour
1 tsp salt
½ cup vegetable shortening
¼ cup cold butter, cut into bits
5 to 6 TBS ice water

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 TBS water

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat and add the ground pork. Cook, stirring to break up the larger chunks until it is completely cooked through and all of the liquid has evaporated. (I like to use a potato masher as it cooks, to help break it up into small even pieces)

Stir in the onion, celery, garlic and grated potato. Cook until the onions and celery are tender, but not browned. Add the salt, savoury, pepper, allspice, bay leaf and the boiling water. Cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer over medium heat for about 25 minutes.

Remove the lid and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes longer until most of the water has evaporated, but the mixture is still quite moist. Set aside to cool while you make the pastry.

Place the flour and salt in a large bowl, mixing it well. Add the shortening and butter and cut it in with a pastry blender until it resembles very fine bread crumbs. Add the water a little bit at a time, stirring with a fork until the mixture forms a soft dough that holds together well. (Try not to overwork it) Gather it into a ball and wrap it up in plastic cling film. Chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 205*C/425*F/gas mark 7.

Divide the pastry in half. Roll one half out on a well floured surface, with a well floured rollingpin, to a size that will fit into a 9 inch pie round pie dish with about a one inch overhang all around. Transfer it to the pie dish.

Remove the bay leaf from the filling and spoon it evenly into the pie dish.

Roll out the other half of the pastry to fit over top of the pie dish with the same amount of overhang. Trim and seal the edges by either pressing it together with the tines of a fork or fluting it with your fingers. Cut a few vents in top for steaming and brush it with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 to 50 minutes, on the lowest oven rack, until it is golden brown on top and crisped on the bottom. Serve warm with mustard pickle or catsup on the side.