Cold and gray winter days simply call for comfort food. Growing up one of the winter dinner staples in my house were meat pie. Meat, potatoes and perhaps a few vegetables are packed between two flaky crusts then served piping hot from the oven. The type of meat varied; chicken or beef would sometimes be used but more often than not pork was the meat of choice. My grandmother used to hand dice both the meat and the potatoes into tiny, uniform bites before stuffing them into the crust that she had laboriously rolled out. The results were memorable.
This recipe from Yankee Magazine skips some of the labor intensiveness of the preparation by using ground pork and mashed potatoes. If you are pressed for time you could also use a pre-made crust. This pie might not be my grandmother’s but it is delicious and satisfying making it a great meal for a cold dark evening.
FRENCH CANADIAN PORK PIE
For the crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon table salt
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons white or cider vinegar
4–6 tablespoons ice water
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
- Use a pastry cutter or fork to cut the butter cubes into the dry ingredients until the pieces are about the size of a pea. Then use your fingers to rub some of the butter into the flour so that it forms flakes; the mixture should look like cornmeal with lumps in it.
- Stir in the egg and vinegar; then add the ice water a tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together.
- Work the mixture into a cohesive ball; then divide it in half (one half slightly bigger than the other).
- Press each half into a disc, wrap in plastic, and chill at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.
For the filling:
2 pounds ground pork
1 medium-size onion, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup water
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground cloves
3 cups mashed potatoes
1 tablespoon milk
- In a medium-size skillet over medium heat, combine the pork, onion, salt, and water.
- Simmer, stirring often, until all liquid evaporates, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the spices.
- Add the potatoes and beat to combine.
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- On a work surface dusted with flour, roll out the bottom and top crusts.
- Line a pie plate with the larger crust and spoon in the pork/potato mixture.
- Add the top crust and flute the edges. Brush the top with milk and prick with a fork.
- Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes.