We tend to think of Mardi Gras as a season, but Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is just one day.
The name comes from the Italian carne vale, or farewell to meat, and marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period of fasting and penance before Easter when observant Catholics stop eating meat.
With austerity ahead, Mardi Gras is one last chance to eat, drink and party. There is no set menu for Mardi Gras in Quebec, but many people eat tourtiere with sweet crepes for dessert.
Here is the recipe for sweet crepes and below is the tourtiere recipe from Chez Clo, a snack bar in Montreal’s east end, (now closed),
Chez Clo tourtiere is heavy on the cloves, which will fill your kitchen with that familiar tourtiere smell as it cooks, and it uses oatmeal rather than potatoes to thicken. Bon appétit!
Chez Clo Tourtiere
- 2 lb. ground beef
- 1 lb. lean ground pork
- 2 large onions, diced
- 1 cup diced celery stalks with leaves
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups water
- 2 tsp. savory, sage or thyme
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. cloves
- 1/2 tsp.nutmeg
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) large-flake rolled oats
Saute onions over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, then add celery and cook another 2-3 minutes together, then empty vegetables into a large pot.
Saute beef and pork until meat loses its pinkness, then transfer meat into a large pot with the onions, water, parsley, savory, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Bring meat mixture to boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has almost evaporated, approximately 30 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in rolled oats. Let cool for 30 minutes. While the meat is cooling down, you can make the pie crust.
Preheat oven to 425.
Crisco No-Fail Pie Crust
- 5 cups flour (635 grams)
- 1½ tsp. salt
- 2 ½ cups shortening (320 grams)
- 1 egg
- ½ cup cold water
- 1 tbsp. white vinegar
Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add room temperature shortening. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture until rough crumbs.
Beat egg, water, and vinegar together, then pour over flour mixture.
Stir mixture together with a fork until moistened.
Divide dough into four equal size balls, roughly 300 gm each. Flatten balls into 4-inch disks, wrap with plastic wrap and store in the fridge. Can be stored up to 3 days in the fridge, or 3 weeks in the freezer.
Roll out pie dough, then put it in a deep 9″ pie plate (Pyrex is best).
Fill with half the meat mixture. Roll out another 10″ circle of pastry and put it on top. Crimp edges of pie with a fork then trim the overhang. Cut vents into the top for steam to escape.
Repeat for the second pie, then mix in a cup and brush over both pies:
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) milk
Preheat oven to 425F. Bake first 15 minutes at 425F to make the bottom crispy, then reduce heat to 350 until pastry is golden and filling piping hot, about 40 to 45 minutes.) Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
Serve tourtière with pickled beets, chili sauce or salsa.