This is one variation of a traditional, savory dish in the Limousine region of France. It may be made with or without a layer of meat (pork) between two layers of potatoes and cream and the crust may be either a brioche or puff pastry. This tourtière is made with a puff pastry and a layer of ground pork between the sheets of potato.
This is supposed to be peasant food. If peasants ate this well, count me in. Butter in a flaky crust, potatoes covered in cream, ground pork seasoned with shallots and a hint of garlic. [A Texan is probably thinking biscuits and gravy with pork sausage and potatoes on the side at this point.]
Why this recipe today? Well, I’ve been hungry to cook more, I had a very light breakfast, and I’ve been dying to use a bunch of the chives that have been thriving this summer.
Let’s get to it: Ingredients
- Puff pastry- one recipe according to this one by Bruno Albouze
- 1 egg (to use as egg wash)
- 750 g of potatoes (Yukon Gold might be the best option)
- 250 ml heavy cream (or a reduced fat cream but not milk)
- 300 g ground, unseasoned pork
- Fresh chives – be generous; finely chopped
- 2 shallots or 1 medium white onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- Ground nutmeg – fresh is always best
- (Sea)Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Process: Puff pastry + 25 min prep other ingredients + 30-40 min baking
- Make the “Quick Puff Pastry” – this takes a couple of hours. A good idea to make this a day or more in advance. Once this is done, this recipe comes together quickly and easily.
- The potatoes…
- Place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile, peal and slice the potatoes into thin rounds (using a mandolin if you have one)
- Place the potatoes in the boiling water for about 4 minutes. You want them partially cooked but slightly firm for the process to follow.
- Meanwhile, in a small/medium sized bowl mix the cream, chives, nutmeg and salt (no black pepper) for the potatoes.
- Drain the potatoes. In a larger mixing bowl, cover the bottom with the cream mixture, add some of the potatoes, then a bit more cream, more potatoes, the rest of the cream. [Why so fussy about this step? You want to evenly evenly coat the potato slices with the sauce without breaking them. This is how I did it.]
- The ground pork….
- Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to a frying pan on medium heat
- Add the shallots; when translucent (don’t let them brown) add the garlic stirring frequently until fragrant.
- Add the sausage meat, mix and stir until brown.
- Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove from heat.
- Assembly required:
- Grease (butter or oil) a 9” or 22 cm tart/cake pan that has sides of 1.5 to 2 inches.
- Remove your puff pastry from the fridge
- Divide the pastry 2/3 (bottom and sides) and 1/3 (top) and roll out as quickly as possible
- Fit the bottom sheet in your pan and begin layering your ingredients…
- 1/2 of the potatoes, then all of the sausage, then the rest of the potatoes
- Whisk the egg and brush the edges of the pastry to help seal the top to the bottom sheet.
- Place the top sheet on the tourtière, trim any excess pastry and crimp the edges together.
- Brush the entire surface with egg wash
- Score the surface with a knife to create a design if you’d like to
- Pierce the pastry in several places with a toothpick to let steam escape
- Cut a small circle out of the center of the pastry to let steam escape
Place in your preheated oven at 190C or 375F for 35-40 minutes. Check on the tourtière at 30 minutes to make sure the crust is not over-browning. You may want to lay a piece of aluminum foil over it to protect the pastry. (I did.) At 40 minutes it should be done. Bring it out of the oven and LET IT COOL for at least thirty minutes before cutting into it. It needs this in order to hold together, for more steam to escape and for the cream to thicken.