Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday dinner

For years, twenty or more, Sunday has been my night to cook a good, often experimental dinner. When the kids were home and my brother's children were also around, I often had twenty at my table. Once my brother really didn't like the entrĂ©e--I think it was a cornbread/hamburger concoction--and fixed me with a direct question: "Sis, is the budget the problem?" But I remember once serving leg of lamb, so the budget wasn't as much of a problem as my tendency to experiment. I don't remember when the kids drifted away one by one but I clearly remember when Jamie moved to Dallas and was incredulous that I expected him to come home for Sunday dinner every week. His loss, and I moved on. I invited friends I rarely see and should get back to that, but now it's pretty much down to Jordan and her family and a few close friends.
Tonight there were six of us--counting Jacob who usually has his own separate meal (don't ask my opinion on that, though I recognize he really doesn't like meat). We had tourtiere, a French-Canadian meat pie. My Canadian daughter, Sue, mentioned that she and Teddy had made that over the holidays. I'd never heard of it, and she sent me a recipe. Then all of a sudden I started seeing recipes everywhere. Oddly, the new issue of Bon Appetit devotes an entire section to meat pies but doesn't mention this one. Anyway I decided to try it, though I am notably bad at making desserts look pretty and why I thought a meat pie would be different is anyone's guess.
The filling recipe I used was fairly straightforward--onion, garlic, ground beef and pork, grated potatoes, a bit of water (I used broth), and a wild array of a pinch of this and a pinch of that--rosemary, curry, savory, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, salt, etc. One recipe called for sliced mushrooms, and after I got them all sliced I realized that the recipe I was using didn't call for them and Christian won't eat them--Jordan and I will have sliced mushrooms on toast (how British can you get?) tomorrow when Christiana takes two little boys to the rodeo.
Back to the tourtiere, another recipe said to refrigerate meat mixture overnight, which always sounds good to me--all that about letting the flavors blend and mellow. So I made it last night and let it sit in the fridge. Tonight I struggled with the frozen pie crust--and I think part of my trouble was being either too lazy or too intimidated to make my crust from scratch. I had difficulty, to put it mildly, with the upper crust and did so much patching that it looked like a quilt.
The finished pie (above) looked quite appetizing, but it didn't cut well at all. The crust crumbled and the meat didn't hold together. I think another time I'll put a handful of instant tapioca in the meat mixture--it doesn't change the taste but it holds meatloaf together, so why not this? Long story short, individual servings were a mess but the flavor was delicious. Opinion around the table was unanimous, though I think Christian had never heard of meat pie. I'll cook this again--but with variations. We had roasted asparagus and a blue-cheese salad with it. Thanks to friend Subie, strawberries with ice cream for dessert. Really good supper if I do say so myself.

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