Whether your preferences run toward sweet or savoury, the fact remains that pies unite us. All cultures produce the dish in some form or another.
And why not? They are a meal in one beautiful, flavourful package.
My wife, Jennifer, is a great cook. Luckily for me, she was born and raised in Quebec and soaked up its culinary traditions. One of the meals she has made for me over the years is tourtière, which combines a rich and flaky pastry with a tasty meat filling.
I have put my own twist on this great recipe by combining pork with venison. This makes for a moist filling, without compromising the distinctive venison flavour.
David Lee is co-owner of Toronto's Nota Bene restaurant, which is offering a special game menu throughout the month of November.
Ready time: 90 minutes, plus 24 hours to precook filling a day in advance
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground venison
1 medium-size onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Dash ground cloves
1 cup salted butter
4 cups all-purpose flour
6 to 10 tablespoons cold water, as needed
1 egg mixed with 2 tablespoons water, for glazing
Heat a sauté pan and add pork, venison, onions and garlic. Add the spices. Simmer over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink (about 30 minutes). Remove from heat, cover and allow to cool before refrigerating. This should be prepared a day in advance.
In a medium bowl, mix butter and flour until combined. The texture should be crumbly. Working quickly, add water and blend just until dough comes together. Shape into a disc, wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
On a lightly floured surface, cut dough in half, roll out to just less than 1/4-inch thickness and transfer it to an 8-inch spring-form pan. Fill with tourtière filling. Roll out the remaining dough, cut a hole in centre (for steam to escape) and place on top of filling. Pinch the edges of crust together and brush with egg wash.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until pastry is a rich golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes, then remove from pan and serve.