Abitibi Game Pie

Author: Canadian Living

Come winter or late fall, there is nothing like sharing a savoury meat pie from Abitibi with family and friends. Commonly called tourtière, cipaille or tourte, there seem to be as many recipes as there are amateur of this hearty fare. The tourte, the bird that gave it its name, is unfortunately extinct, but the tradition of this delectable, easy to prepare in advance dish, is very much alive. Deer, caribou, moose, bear, boar and especially hare make it a very special treat. The fortunate cook, who has hunters in the family or generous friends to donate a little game, is blessed. Even more, if they are willing to help deboning and dicing the meat. However, it can also be prepared with farm raised deer, caribou, boar, rabbit and adding shoulder or loin of pork, as some game is very lean. The important thing to remember is (that the recipe calls for) half part game, preferably a variety of three different kinds, to half part diced potatoes. With some home-made tomato ketchup and a nice green sassy salad, like chicory with old style mustard and cider vinegar dressing, the hostess can sit back and enjoy the hunters' long tales.

  • Portion size 8 servings
  • Credits : abrielle.jung026


Chicory Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette:
Pie crust:
Pie layers and glaze:
Tomato Ketchup:


*24 hours before entertaining, prepare the pie crust and filling.

Pie crust:
Stir together in a large mixing bowl the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Cut the lard, in fairly large pieces, with a pastry blender or your hands.

Beat together the egg and vinegar. Add enough cold water to make one cup. Add it all at once to the flour mixture. Mix with your hands until dough comes away from bowl.

Shape it into a ball and wrap in plastic foil. Refrigerate at least overnight or until ready to use.

Yield: Six 9-inch pie shells or enough to line a 6 quart heavy pan. Grocery stores also sell refrigerated pie dough, if you prefer or are in a hurry.

Prepare meats:
Debone any game such as deer, caribou, moose, boar, hare etc. or their farm raised counterpart: deer, caribou, boar, rabbit. Dice the meat into ½ -inch cubes and use the bones to make stock.

The rule-of-thumb for a quart of good stock is twice the amount of water for the amount of raw material, then reduce by two thirds.

In a large kettle place the bones, add carrots, celery, onions, then a bouquet garni consisting of a couple sprigs parsley, bay leaf, dried thyme, freshly ground black pepper, salt, and water.

Simmer until the liquid is reduced by two thirds, strain and let cool. Skim the fat from the top and store in a jar with a cap in the refrigerator. This stock is very important in game cookery, but a good chicken broth is also acceptable.

In a porcelain or plastic bowl combine deer, caribou or moose meat diced into ½ inch cubes; boar or loin or shoulder of pork diced into ½ inch cubes, and hare or rabbit diced into ½ inch cubes. Cover with a marinade of onions and pickling spices in a small-tied cheese cloth pouch, bay leaf, garlic, and dry white wine. Add enough stock to cover the meat. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

The next day, remove pie crust from refrigerator. Allow it to soften for easier rolling.

Make a paper pattern the size of the bottom of a 10-12 inch relatively high enamelled casserole or other heavy ovenproof metal pot. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to line the casserole with the dough overlapping the sides. Leave a 2 inch overhang. Trim off excess dough with scissors. Roll remaining dough ½ inch thick following the pattern.

Remove the meat from the marinade. Pat dry. Strain the marinade and set aside. Peel 3 pounds Prince Edward Island potatoes or any other firm variety. Dice into ½ -inch cubes.

Layer meat and potatoes in the pastry lined pot, one layer meat, one layer potatoes and so on. Add strained marinade. Place reserved dough on top of the filling.

Paint circumference with cold water and fold edges over, first pressing with fingers to seal and then firmly with a fork. Make pastry cutouts from leftover dough of any shape you wish: leaves, stars, shells, depending on the occasion, to hide the junction of the crusts.

Paint bottom of each cutout with an egg glaze (1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water). Press in place on pie, completely covering the seam where edges of pastry overlap.

Before baking, paint the entire top crust with the glaze. With a sharp knife make a ¼ inch hole in the middle of the pie, going down through to touch the filling to allow the cooking steam to escape. Fill the pie with the stock until you can see the liquid.

Insert a greased 1½ chimney, such as a metal tube from a pastry bag or aluminum foil During baking check the level of the liquid. If necessary add hot stock.

Bake 7 to 8 hours in a preheated 250° F (120° C ) oven. Crust should be wonderfully golden brown. Cover with aluminum foil if it browns too quickly.

Serve with Tomato Ketchup and Chicory Salad (recipes follow).

Tomato Ketchup:
Cook ingredients slowly in a heavy medium sauce pan until all vegetables are tender.

Chicory Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette:
Wash and tear the leaves of the chicory. Discard any wilted leaves after soaking the lettuce in cold water. If not using immediately place in a food saver or in a large resealable storage bag in the refrigerator. When ready to serve arrange in a salad bowl.

Combine all ingredients for the vinaigrette. If preparing in advance pour all ingredients in a glass jar with a cover and store in the refrigerator. When needed shake vigorously and pour progressively over the lettuce, occasionally checking seasoning. Toss well. Make 2 cups of vinaigrette.

Serves 6-8.
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Abitibi Game Pie