VPR Cafe: Tourtiere & Rutabaga Casserole

Dec 8, 2013

Food is at the center of holiday traditions around the world.  Today, Candace Page describes the delicious traditions kept alive by Vermonters who are passionate about their ancestry.  Candy writes for the Savorvore Section of the Burlington Free Press.  You'll find the recipes for Tourtiere and Rutabaga Casserole below.

The VPR Cafe is produced in collaboration with the Burlington Free Press and is made possible on VPR by J.K. Adams Company in Dorset, Vermont and at TheKitchenStoreOnline.com.

French Cadadian Tourtiere
(Quebec Meat Pie)*
1¼ pounds ground pork
½ to ¾ cup cold water
½ cup onion, finely chopped
¼ cup celery, finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried savory
¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
Pinch cinnamon
¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
Pastry for double crust pie (Candace Page's perfect pie crust)

In a large, heavy frying pan, combine pork with cold water and heat to boiling point. Add onion, celery, pepper, bay leaf, savory, rosemary, nutmeg and cinnamon. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 1½ hours, adding more water if mixture dries out. Halfway through cooking time, season with salt to taste. At end of cooking time, stir in rolled oats and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry. When meat mixture is lukewarm, spoon into pie shell and cover with remaining pastry. Trim pastry, seal edges and cut steam vents in top crust.

Decorate with pastry cutouts as desired. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake another 25 minutes or until crust is golden.

*From A Taste of Quebec, by Julian Armstrong, McMillan Canada, 2001.

Rutabaga casserole (Lanttulaatikko)
Candace makes this dish for her family as part of a Finnish Christmas Eve feast, with thanks to Beatrice Ojakangas, author of  The Finnish Cookbook, Crown Publishers, 1964

2 medium rutabagas, peeled and diced (about 6 cups)
¼  cup fine dry bread crumbs
¼  cup cream
½  teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons butter

Cook the rutabagas until soft, about 20 minutes, in salted water to cover. Drain and mash. Soak the bread crumbs in the cream and stir in the nutmeg, salt and beaten eggs. Combine with the mashed rutabagas.

Turn into a buttered 2 1/2 quart casserole, dot the top with butter, and bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees) for 1 hour or until lightly browned on top. Serves 6 to 8.

(Candy notes that this is a very forgiving recipe. Love rutabagas? Increase the amount. Trying to persuade the skeptical to try something new? Increase the eggs and cream. If you are using good Vermont heavy cream, the breadcrumbs will thicken into a block when they are combined. I usually add some milk to the cream for that reason.)

Broadcast on Sunday, December 8, 2013, 10:45 a.m.