Signature Dish of Michel Boucher


a. Count 1 lb of not too lean ground pork per tourtière (you want more than 10% fat. I have found that that's too lean). Mix meat, per lb, with:
b. one small clove of garlic, minced
c. one small onion, minced
d. 1/2 tsp salt
e. white pepper/savory/ground cloves to taste, roughly 1/4 tsp per lb. (in other words, taste the meat; this has to be achieved by experimentation as usually you will be making more than 1 lb of meat at a time)
f. a small amount of water (it keeps the meat tender and helps to steam it a bit as well as browning it)

Sauté the meat gently until it is lightly browned, no pink, and very little liquid is left (if it looks like it will cook too long while waiting for the liquid to evaporate, drain some it). Place into prepared pie plates. Bake in 350°F oven for 30-45 minutes, until surface is browned. Serve with pickled beets.

As you can see, it isn't a precise thing. :-) Also, always use white pepper (if you don't already) in preparing any dish. Black pepper is fine for the table, but white pepper is best for flavouring during the cooking. The water trick is common when cooking pork. It keeps the meat from hardening in the cooking process. I also use a few judicious handfuls of water in pork meat when making ragoût de boulettes (or as it's sometimes called "ragoût de patte") and the meat is always VERY tender.

Keep in mind that a tourtière is not a very strong tasting dish. However, it should be fragrant when coming out of the oven.

For a very good crust, Madame Benoit offers the following:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch turmeric
1/4 tsp savory
1/2 cup pure lard
1/3 cup ice water
1/3 cup butter

Stir the flour, salt, baking soda, turmeric and savory together in a bowl. Cut in the lard, or mix with a pastry blender or two knives until the particles are about the size of peas. Add ice water by the tablespoon (15 mL), stirring with a fork or the tips of your fingers, until just enough has been added so that you can pat the dough into a ball. (Since flour varies, you may not need all the water.) Handle the dough as little as possible at this stage.

Roll out the pastry, dot with the butter, and roll up toward you like a jelly roll, and roll out again in a flat sheet. Roll out again 2 or 3 times. Refrigerate a few hours before using.

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