Quebec, the largest province in Canada, is known for its rich culinary traditions, and one of the most iconic dishes in Quebecois cuisine is Cipaille, a savory mixed meat pie. Cipaille, also known as “tourtière du Lac Saint-Jean,” is a hearty and flavorful dish that combines layers of different meats and flaky pastry to create a delicious and satisfying meal. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of making your own Quebecois-style mixed meat pie, allowing you to savor the taste of this Canadian classic in the comfort of your own home.
1. Ingredients for Quebecois-Style Mixed Meat Pie (Cipaille):
Before you begin, make sure you have the following ingredients on hand:
For the Pastry:
– 3 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 1/2 cups cold unsalted butter, cubed
– 1/2 cup ice water
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Meat Filling:
– 1 lb ground pork
– 1 lb cubed pork shoulder
– 1 lb cubed beef
– 1 lb cubed chicken or game meat (e.g., rabbit or venison)
– 2 onions, finely chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 2-3 cups beef or chicken broth
– 2-3 potatoes, peeled and diced
– 2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
– 2-3 celery stalks, diced
– 2-3 bay leaves
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
– Salt and pepper to taste
2. Preparing the Pastry:
The first step in making Cipaille is preparing the flaky pastry that will encase the savory meat filling.
– In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt.
– Add the cold, cubed butter and cut it into the flour using a pastry cutter or your hands. The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs.
– Gradually add the ice water, a little at a time, and mix until the dough comes together. Be careful not to overmix; the dough should be slightly shaggy.
– Divide the dough into two portions, one slightly larger than the other, and shape each into a disk. Wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3. Preparing the Meat Filling:
– In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, sauté the chopped onions and minced garlic in a bit of oil until they become translucent.
– Add the ground pork, cubed pork shoulder, cubed beef, and cubed chicken (or game meat). Brown the meat until it’s no longer pink.
– Stir in the diced potatoes, carrots, and celery.
– Add 2-3 cups of beef or chicken broth, depending on the thickness of the filling you desire.
– Season the mixture with ground cloves, salt, and pepper. Drop in a couple of bay leaves for added flavor.
– Allow the filling to simmer over low heat for about 30-40 minutes, or until the meat is tender and the flavors have melded together.
4. Assembling the Cipaille Layers:
– Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
– Roll out the larger pastry disk to fit the bottom of a deep, round, or oval baking dish.
– Add a layer of the meat filling to cover the pastry.
– Roll out the smaller pastry disk to create a top crust for your Cipaille.
– Place the top crust over the meat filling and trim any excess pastry. Make sure to cut a small slit in the center to allow steam to escape during baking.
– For an authentic Quebecois-style Cipaille, repeat the process by adding more layers of meat filling and pastry, typically alternating meat and pastry layers until you reach the top of your dish.
5. Baking the Cipaille:
– Place your assembled Cipaille in the preheated oven and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the pastry is golden brown and flaky.
– You may want to cover the top with foil if it starts to brown too quickly to prevent over-browning.
– After baking, allow the Cipaille to cool for a bit before serving. The flavors tend to meld and intensify as it cools.
6. Serving and Enjoying Cipaille:
– Cipaille is often served warm and can be accompanied by a side of green salad or a dollop of ketchup. It pairs wonderfully with cranberry sauce or chutney for added flavor.
7. Variations and Tips for the Perfect Cipaille:
– Meat Variations: While the traditional Cipaille recipe features a mix of pork, beef, and poultry, you can customize the meat selection to your liking. Rabbit, venison, or even duck can be delightful additions.
– Pastry Tips: For a truly flaky and tender pastry, it’s essential to keep the dough and the butter cold. Handle the dough as little as possible to maintain its texture.
– Layering: The number of layers in your Cipaille can vary depending on your preference. Some recipes call for up to 12 layers, while others have just a few. Experiment to find the balance that suits your taste.
Quebecois-Style Mixed Meat Pie, or Cipaille, is a culinary masterpiece that reflects the hearty and comforting cuisine of Quebec. This savory meat pie, with its layers of flaky pastry and flavorful meat filling, is a celebration of tradition and taste. By following this step-by-step guide, you can recreate the magic of Cipaille in your own kitchen, sharing the authentic flavors of Quebecois cuisine with your friends and family. Whether served on special occasions or enjoyed as a comforting meal, Cipaille is a dish that embodies the warmth and richness of Quebec’s culinary heritage. Bon appétit!