Miniature Meat Pies

These cute little snacks are based on a traditional French-Canadian meat pie known as “Tourtiere”.  With football season starting, I think they would make a good addition to the usual game night fare.  A simple filling of ground pork is seasoned with garlic, cloves, and cinnamon.  I chose to make these mini, but you could just as easily make a regular nine inch pie.  In fact, I got impatient with rolling and forming these little ones, and finished by making two larger individual pies.  These will come in handy some cool autumn evening when I need a quick, hearty meal.  I’ll serve them with some sturdy salad leaves dressed with a mustardy vinaigrette.

Tourtiere goes very well with spicy condiments and so I’ve found another use for my tomato chutney.
Here is the recipe:

Miniature Meat Pies (Tourtiere)
(barely adapted from “The Flavours of Canada” by Anita Stewart)
1 pound lean, ground pork
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium potato, peeled and halved
1 cup boiling water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Fine, dry bread crumbs or cold water, as needed
Your favorite pastry for a savory pie (I used lard pastry)
egg wash (made by mixing an egg with a teaspoon or two of water and beating together well)

In a medium saucepan, combine the pork, garlic, potato halves, boiling water, salt, pepper, mustard, cloves, and cinnamon.  Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, replace the lid, and simmer, until the potato is completely tender (about 35-45 minutes).  Remove the potato and mash thoroughly.  Stir potato back into the meat mixture, then taste and adjust the seasoning.  If there is too much liquid, stir in some of the bread crumbs until the mixture has the consistency of thick spaghetti sauce.  Conversely, if it seems dry, add cold water, a little at a time.  Cover and cool completely.  The filling can be made up to two days in advance and kept refrigerated.  To make the mini meat pies, roll out the pastry thinly and cut into 3 inch circles. 

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 375F**.  Take a dough circle in your hand and with your finger, paint the edges with a little egg wash.  Place a scant dessert-spoonful of filling on the dough and bring the rounded edges together to make a half-moon shape.  Place on the baking sheet and seal the edges with a fork.

Brush the little pies with egg wash and cut a small decorative vent in the top to allow steam to escape.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Serve warm, with your favorite spicy condiment, or cool completely and freeze for longer storage.  You should get 30-36 mini meat pies, or 1 9 inch pie with this amount of filling.  If you choose to make the individual pies, the yield will depend on the size of ramekin or tin you use.  I used 6 ounce Pyrex custard cups for mine and I imagine this recipe would make 4-6 of them. 

**A single 9 inch pie should be baked for 15 minutes at 400F, then an additional 40-45 minutes at 350F, or until golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.  The smaller ramekins will take 35-40 minutes after the initial 15 minute baking time. 

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