Monday, 1 October 2012

Tourtière - (the filling is gluten free)

Every year our church has a pie sale, and for the last few years I have been making the traditional pies called 'Tourtière'. They are from my French Canadian background, and are usually served on Christmas Eve after Midnight Mass, during the celebration of 'Reveillon'. Every town, or perhaps, every family in Quebec has their own version of this classic pie. They are very filling, as they contain meat and spices. Some people add potato, as I do, and some do not. The meat can be pork, beef, veal, lamb, or a combination of any of them. I have not heard of a version with poultry, but there is a different pie for the birds, called `rappé pie`. Here is my version of Tourtière. I will have to work on finding - or creating - a gluten free dough recipe.

What you  need: pastry for one double crust pie; 300 gr lean ground pork; 300 gr lean ground beef; 1/2 package (375 gr) of frozen shredded style hash browns; 1/4 cup minced onion; 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced; 1 tsp each: ground cinnamon, ground coriander, and dried summer savoury leaves; 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, or 2 tbs dried; salt and pepper.

What you do:  Cook beef and pork until cooked through, stirring to break up the pieces. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place meat in a strainer and drain off the juices. Place the drippings into the fridge, and allow the fat to congeal. Place meat in a large bowl. Add potatoes, onion, garlic, herbs and spices. If fat layer has hardened, remove drippings from fridge.  Lift off fat, and pour any juices back into the meat mixture. Stir the filling well, and taste, adjusting seasonings to your preference. Place bottom pie pastry in pie plate. Fill with meat mixture. Moisten edges of pastry, and cover with top crust, sealing and fluting edges. Make several cuts in top crust, to allow steam to escape.

Bake at 450F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F and bake for 30 minutes more.
This can be served hot or cold, but I like it hot best. Enjoy.

This recipe also freezes well.

Stuffed Salmon (another gluten free dish)

I have been making this recipe for over 28 years, and have had many compliments from guests. It is a little more time consuming, so usually save it for when we have company. It can be done in the oven, or on a BBQ, so it is a year round treat. This is a 'start early in the day' production. The most important thing about cooking fish, is to get it cooked without over-cooking. This can be very tricky, and I still have days when I left it too long. When over cooked, fish becomes dried, and difficult to swallow. The perfect point of cooking is when the flesh is just opaque, but still moist and very tender. If done right, it just melts in your mouth.

What you need:  1 whole salmon, 4-5 pounds (head and tail removed if you wish); 1 cup of raw wild rice, 2 cups of raw long grain white rice or brown rice; 1 small onion, 3 - 4 cloves of garlic; a bunch of fresh parsley; 2 lemons; salt; pepper; 2 tbs 'herbes fines' , or your favourite blend of herbs.

About 4 hours before serving time, cook wild rice in 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Set aside in remaining cooking water.

Peel and mince the onoin and garlic. Heat a little butter, margarine, or oil and gently saute the onion and garlic until transparent, but not browned.

Cook white or brown rice as directed on package. Finely chop the parsley.
Add wild rice to other cooked rice, reserving cooking liquid from wild rice. Add sauted onion and garlic, and season with salt, pepper, parsley and the fine herbs.

Remove wrappings from salmon and wash well in cool water. Place on a large doubled sheet of heavy duty foil, which is long enough to enclose the whole fish. Season inside and outside of the fish with salt and pepper. Stuff cavity with rice mixture. Thinly slice 1 lemon, and place slices on top of fish. Roll the fish to the other side, and repeat with second lemon. Tightly wrap the foil, folding edges together to seal. Place remaining rice mixture in an oven safe crock or baking dish. Add cooking liquid from wild rice to about an inch depth. Cover tightly with foil.

Oven baking - Place fish on a cookie sheet to bake in oven, and bake about 15-20 minutes per side at 350 F. Place extra stuffing in oven to keep hot. Check for doneness, by slicing into the fish to see if the flesh in opaque. the industry says cook fish for 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Use that as your guide, because the fish will take more or less time depending on it's size.

If using the BBQ  preheat at maximum. After initial heating, reduce to about medium heat. Place foil wrapped fish directly on rack, and place extra stuffing on upper rack to keep hot. Turn whole package over after 10 minutes. Check the fish after 10 minutes for doneness.

To serve, peel back top side of the skin. It should separate fairly easily from the flesh. Use a metal spatula to lift the meat from the ribcage and spinal bones. When all the usable meat is removed from the top side, turn fish and repeat to get meat from other side. Serve with the rice mixture and a salad or cooked vegetables of your choice. Also, I usually make a Hollandaise sauce to go with this. I make it from scratch, but there are also many mixes available at the market. The recipe I use is from the Vancouver 1986 World's Fair cookbook, so I am not able to share, as I do not own the rights to it.
Hope you enjoy.