Help me avoid making a tourtierror
December 2, 2017 11:38 AM   Subscribe

Piefilter: I'm making my first tourtiere of the season, and I want to hear how you make yours! For filling, I'm going in a classic direction (beef, pork, onion, a little potato, herbs de provence, cinnamon and nutmeg), and it's good... but it's not quite perfect. It needs a little... something... and I'm not quite sure what. I'm looking for suggestions! Recipes are great, spice suggestions are great, Best Tourtiere I Ever Ate descriptions are great, hearing about your favourite sides or accompaniments is great (I'm partial to mango chutney). Tourtiere is great. Talk to me about tourtiere.
posted by halation to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
This is likely obvious, but you don't have salt listed in your ingredients. For a savory pie, you'll likely need more salt than you expect.
posted by saeculorum at 11:50 AM on December 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

This might sound weird, but one of the best tips I ever got for making hamburgers was to add some fish sauce to the mix. If you don't overdo it, it just adds a je-ne-sais-quoi umami boost. I do that for pretty much all ground meat recipes I make. Worcestershire, which is just a modified fish sauce, will also work.
posted by ITheCosmos at 12:15 PM on December 2, 2017 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Cook your meat in duck fat. Seriously that will make it incredible. It's easy to find it here where I live (Montreal) but you also get it from Amazon (link). Other animal fats work too, or just use a fatty piece of pork. Worcestershire or even soy sauce are good too! Or a cube of mushroom stock. I like adding a bit of cumin in powder. Caramelized onions are also fantastic. And garlic!
posted by TheGoodBlood at 12:47 PM on December 2, 2017 [4 favorites]

Best answer: The one I had included ground up mushrooms. I do not love mushrooms as a general rule but this did seem to add the little oomph it needed to keep it from just being a meat pie. Other suggestions include a good chunk of ground pepper (like more than you would think) or a bit of chicken stock.
posted by jessamyn at 1:08 PM on December 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Tourtiere filling is just pork, onion, allspice, and nutmeg. (I'd have to look at my memere's recipe, there might be cinnamon, but I don't remember it. The meat is specifically listed as "ground pork butt", however.) The allspice is probably the component that you are missing. Also, don't water it down with potato. I don't even eat meat anymore and still consider that a travesty to tourtieres everywhere. Note that beef is also not as traditional or authentic in Quebecois/Franco-American cooking. If you do want to get creative with the spicing, I don't think herbes de provence would pair all that will with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Sides to accompany it include: a good quality homemade bread and Harvard beets (or pickled beets, but Harvard beets are better). I mean, probably also a salad or something moderately healthy to offset the fact that tourtiere is not at all healthy.

Don't use a tourtiere recipe that does not make a little extra filling. Pack the extra filling very firmly into a small bowl (of glass or ceramic), cover it with something (plastic/cling wrap or something reusable), and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, spread this over toast (with butter) - this is cretons.
posted by eviemath at 1:18 PM on December 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh, I think ground cloves are part of the spice mix, however.
posted by eviemath at 1:20 PM on December 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: My family's tourtière recipes vary a bit -- my dad used veal, pork and beef, my older brother REALLY likes his cloves -- but my current approach is here (pork:beef ratio of 2:1 or 3:2). My basic advice is to start cautiously with spices, but be prepared to ramp them up.
posted by maudlin at 5:02 PM on December 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

I added a little soy sauce one year because the filling batch just wasn't meaty-tasting enough. Seconding ITheCosmos's Worcestershire.
posted by wryly at 5:18 PM on December 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

My French Canadian Nana would make it at the end of the week from the leftovers. So, a couple of hamburg patties, a piece of steak, a couple of pork chops, some sausange, cold potatoes all thru the meat grinder.

I think the pie was intended to use up leftovers not be made from scratch.
posted by andreap at 11:31 AM on December 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Eviemath's on the money. If you use whole cloves instead of ground, start off small, like 6 or 7 cloves to 3 lbs of meat. Fish sauce/worcestershire/cumin might make for a tasty meat pie, but I don't think it'd pass for tourtière anywhere!
posted by kate4914 at 6:32 PM on December 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Allspice! That is totally what it was missing. Thank you!

I ended up using a little of the pumpkin-pie spice blend I had mixed up, with a little supplemental allspice and nutmeg, plus a little splash of brandy. And some more fresh-ground pepper, and a touch more salt. Result: my Canadian taste-tester asserted it was better than either of his aunts' tourtieres, and both of them are excellent cooks, so I am counting this a win.

Next time I'm totally sauteeing the onion in duck fat, though, oh my gosh. (I'd also consider leaving out the potatoes, as I'm not sold on them, but Canadian taste-tester's aunts both use them and so it is Tradition and so there are gonna be potatoes. Maybe I could advocate for swapping in mushrooms instead...)
posted by halation at 5:18 PM on December 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

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