Granny's Christmas Pâté
If you do a little research you will find Acadian Meat Pie similar to this. The big difference is that they make the pie round. Somewhat unfortunate choice. To each her own.
This dish is legend in my family. I think we only had it at Christmas time. Sometimes we had it when we went ice fishing. We washed it down with hot bouillon.
When I was about 8 years old, I offered a piece to a schoolmate without telling her it contained a bit of rabbit. That was a bit of an odd thing for me to do, being a bit of a goody two shoes.
I have changed the recipe a bit for myself, added more sweet spices like you might find in a tourtiere; cinnamon and nutmeg. I use a lot more fresh herbs at various points in the preparation. I cut the amount of fat in the crust a bit and used butter instead of shortening. I have included my updated version below.
If you are inspired and have some time to make this, you can’t go wrong. It is the first time I have had it in a couple of decades and it is delicious! We used to make it with chicken and pork for sure, but we really did add other game meats including rabbit. I have thought about a vegan version with dried porcini mushrooms mixed with a few local hedgehog mushrooms, thyme and potatoes. It could be very good. Maybe next year.
Terry Delourme (née Gallant) gave me the recipe. I include a photograph of a transcribed version. Note the inclusion in step 3 of the suggestion to use the baby bath to mix up the dough.
This of course is good with a little mustard pickle, or if you are lucky enough, some green tomato chow chow.
Happy to help if anyone has any questions. I have included my updated version below.
I browned the meat well before braising, and was lucky enough to have some fresh summer savoury on hand.
The chopped, seasoned cold meat in the dough.
Sliced and ready for the freezer.
I reheat it in a hot cast iron pan, then into a hot oven to get crisp edges. Maybe time for a little ice fishing and some green tomato chow chow.
Best to make over 2 + days. Braise the meat one day. Cool overnight. The next morning start the dough and while it is rising you can finish the meat filling and assemble the pie.
3 pounds bone in pork shoulder
3 pounds bone-in chicken legs
6 oz smoked ham-optional
1 rabbit- optional
3 large onions, chopped
1 Tbsp dry mustard
4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 Tbsp dry
A little summer savoury, fresh or dry
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp salt
3 - 4 cups water
Sear the chicken and pork in a bit of olive oil until well browned. You may need to do in batches. Set meat aside and add onions to the pan. Cook over medium for 20 minutes or so until soft and light golden. Add the meat back to the pan along with the herbs, mustard, pepper, salt and water. Bake in the oven for 2 hours or more until meat is beginning to fall off the bone. Cool in the liquid.
2 cups milk
1 cup butter
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
2 packages yeast
½ cup warm water, ideally 100 degrees F
2 tsp sugar
7 cups all-purpose flour
Melt the butter in a medium sized pot. Add the milk, olive oil, sugar and salt. Heat just until warm to the touch, ideally 85 degrees.
Sprinkle the yeast onto the ½ cup warm water mixed with the 2 tsp sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes. Mix this with the milk mixture in a large bowl. (Terry’s baby bath if you can find it.) Mix in about half of the flour with a wooden spoon. Beat well by hand for 3 or 4 minutes. Add more of the flour. Use just enough flour to make a medium soft dough and turn it out onto the counter. Knead for 2 or 3 minutes until smooth.. Place in a big bowl, cover with plastic and leave somewhere a little warm for 2 or 3 hours.
Seasoning the meat filling:
2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
¼ tsp nutmeg
¾ tsp cinnamon
Warm the meat a little bit, just until the liquid melts. Save broth. Simmer the broth down till you have about 1 cup, set aside to cool.
Pull the meat off the bones and discard bones. Chop meat about ½ inch dice. Not too fine, leave a few chunks. Add the thyme, parsley, pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon. It will need a bit more salt at this point, salt to taste.
Put the cool broth in a jar and add 3 Tbsp Flour. Shake well and return to the heat, bring to a simmer, it should be a very thick gravy. Combine with the meat. Chill. Keep the mixture cold until dough is ready to go.
Preheat oven to 400.
Have ready a 16 by 11 inch deep pan. Or use some equivalent of that.
Gently take the dough out of the bowl and place on a floured counter. Cut in half, with one half being slightly larger than the other.
Roll out the larger half gently with your rolling pin to a bit larger than the pan. It is very soft and won’t take much effort.
Roll the smaller half out to just about the size of the pan
Line a pan with the larger piece. Have the edges come up the side of the pan about an inch. Spread the meat filling on the bottom. Top with the top dough. Crimp the edges. Cut a few slits in the top.
Bake until dough is nicely browned on top.
Chill. Cut the pie in half lengthwise. Cut into ¾ inch slices. Freeze. (Little pieces of wax or parchment paper in between helps them from sticking together).
Reheat pieces at 400. Crisp edges are good.
Margaret Alvina Chisholm
Executive Chef and Chief Bottle Washer. Granddaughter of Alvina Gallant.