When I make tourtière (“meat pie”), a French Canadian dish traditionally served at Christmas-time, I do not follow my mother’s, or Jean’s mother’s recipes.
First of all, the math is just too difficult. They, of course, cannot conceive of making any less than 12 pies at once. Whereas I, who do not have a steady stream of French Canadian visitors during the holiday season, only want one pie. You try dividing all the ingredients by 12.
Plus, I have the definite sense that even I went for the 12, mine wouldn’t be quite like theirs. I just don’t have that experience behind me.
So, I actually follow a recipe by someone who isn’t even French Canadian! You can tell because it’s for only one pie.
But even at just one pie, I fret over the unhealthiness. Two pounds of ground pork? The fattiest meat ever? Really?
So this year I experimented, making a tourtiere that featured:
1 lb organic ground chicken
1 lb free-range bison
No-trans fat, vegan shortening in the crust (which is, I must say, totally hilarious in a “meat” pie)
Oatmeal instead of potato as thickener
Organic “beef-like” broth for flavor
Plus a bunch of herbs and spices, including odd ones like nutmeg and all-spice.
And I served it with warm curried potato salad and roasted beets with balsamic vinegar and truffle oil. (I mean, why start being traditional at this point.)
OK, it’s probably still not “health food”. At the center is still a bunch of meat in pastry. But at least its fats are less cloggy.
And the really amazing thing? The darn thing was delicious!
Si la France a ses rillettes
Son foie gras, ses crêpes Suzette
La Belgique a ses gaufrettes
Et Milan son escalope
L’Portugal a ses sardines
Toronto sa margarine
L’Espagne a ses mandarines
Et l’Anglais son mutton chop
Mais nous on fait exception
Au diable l’importation.
À part la patate (bis)
La patate à part (bis)
Le ragoût de pattes (bis)
La soupe aux pois…
Qu’est-ce qu’on dévore? Ah!
Mais la toure, toure, toure
Qu’on savoure, voure, voure
Quand c’est fête, fête, fête
Faites, faites, faites, faites