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Recipe: Venison Tourtière

Recipe: Venison Tourtière

Tourtière, or meat pie, is a traditional French-Canadian dish often served at special events or holidays. They are dense, with plenty of meat for a hearty meal, wrapped in hot, flaky pastry. Pies are traditionally made in batches, allowing you to serve a large group, or freeze some for later use. These meat pies would be a huge hit in any hunting camp.

This recipe originated from my sister in-law, Laura, who got it from her grandmother. It was passed down for generations, and is always a favorite. This recipe does have a modern twist, with an immersion blender used to finely mince the meat into a uniform mass. It is an optional step, but one that makes the pies dense and flavorful.

Ingredients:

• 4 lbs ground venison
• 4 lbs ground pork
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 onions, finely chopped
• 1 cup chicken broth
• 1 tsp celery seed
• 1 Tbsp marjoram
• 2 tsp seasoning salt
• 1 tsp allspice
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp nutmeg
• 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
• up to 3 Tbsp Panko crumbs (if needed)
• 4 eggs
• 4 Tbsp water
• 8-inch pie crusts, with tops (homemade or store-bought shells; you will need one set of pie crusts per pound of meat)

Directions:
1. In a large pot, sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for a few minutes to soften. Brown the meat for 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer mixture at low to medium heat for an additional 60 minutes with the lid off to reduce the liquid, stirring occasionally. If you stir to the bottom of the pot and can still see moisture, add Panko crumbs 1 tablespoon at a time to absorb the moisture. Using an immersion blender, mince the meat to a fine texture. Adjust seasoning to taste, then refrigerate meat until cooled completely.

2. Roll out enough dough to fit an 8-inch pie plate and make a second for the top (or use store bought shells); lay out the crusts to be filled.

3. Make an egg wash by whisking 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the bottom and sides of the pie crust. Scoop the meat mixture into the pie crust. Cover with a top crust and seal the two together along the edge of the pie plate pressing down the sides with a fork or your fingers. Brush the top with egg wash, and cut slits to vent the pie as it’s baking.

4. Bake at 375°F for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.

Since this recipe makes around 8 pies, here are some instructions for freezing and reheating: Bake pies, then wrap cooled pies in foil and put in freezer bags. Reheat thawed pies by covering loosely with foil on top and baking at 350°F for 45 minutes or until the centre is hot.

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