Our Katie makes this and this is her family recipe. It’s French-Canadian and a fixed part of a Canadian Christmas, generally served on Christmas Eve. She also made a festive slaw to go with it. Yummy in my tummy.

1-1/2 cups cubed peeled potatoes
2 lb (907 g) lean minced pork – some people like to do 1/3 beef and the rest pork
2 cups sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
3/4 cup (175 mL) chicken stock
2 onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried savory (or use Sage and be a bit more lavish)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
large batch of flaky pastry

one egg

***it will still be delicious if you use the spices, celery and mushroom quantities as a guideline but adjust them to suit your taste***

-boil the potatoes and mash them finely. season.

-Meanwhile, in a deep frying pan, saute pork over medium-high heat, until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Drain off fat.

-Add mushrooms, celery, stock, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, savory, thyme, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until almost no liquid remains, about 25 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Mix in potatoes. Let cool.

-roll out part of the pastry to about 5mm thickness. lay into deep 9-inch pie plate. Spoon in filling. Roll out the rest of the pastry. Brush pie rim with water; cover with the top circle of pastry and press the edge to seal. trim your edges and flute your favourite way.

– Now the fun bit – take the pastry scraps, roll them out and cut out holiday shapes to decorate the top crust. Stick them on with a bit of water. Cut vents or an exciting holiday shape for the steam.

-lightly whisk the egg and brush the top of the pie to make it shiny and golden.

(Make-ahead: Wrap tourtiere and shapes separately; refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Or overwrap in heavy-duty foil and freeze for up to 2 weeks; thaw in refrigerator. Add 20 to 30 minutes to baking time, covering with foil after 45 minutes; remove foil for last 10 minutes.)

Mix egg yolk with 2 tsp (10 mL) water; brush three-quarters over top. Arrange cutouts on top; brush with remaining egg wash. Cut steam vents in top.

Bake in bottom third of a 200 C oven until lovely and golden. Probably about 50 minutes.

It is actually traditional to make the tourtiere well in advance and freeze it. My Mom says the flavours will develop more this way! If you do this, just follow all of the steps above (including the sticking on of festive shapes) apart from the egg wash. Freeze wrapped heavily in foil. Take it out in plenty of time to thaw (at least a day) and let it thaw in a cold room or in the fridge. Bring it to nearly room temperature before you put it in the oven. If you have frozen it, add another 10 or 15 minutes to the cooking time.

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