Lee's Kitchen: Cold weather means time for a meat pie, so please dig in

Recent extended low temperatures reminded me of growing up in upstate New York and living in Ithaca and Rochester.

It is frequently bitterly cold there, but now I live on the Connecticut shoreline and used to laugh at people who talk about how cold it is. After all, it rarely goes below freezing on a sunny winter day.

I wasn’t laughing much during the cold run when Alexa about told me it was 2 degrees outside.

I have two suet feeders on the patio, and the birds are going through cakes every other day. In the morning about five crows are at the feeders and there is a huge flock of starlings sharing the wild bird and black oil sunflower seeds with flickers, titmice, cardinals, chickadees and woodpeckers.

I have been cooking like crazy, in addition to binging on “The Crown” and football and reading Dan Brown’s latest, “Origin.” Yesterday I looked in the refrigerator and found two balls of pie crust I hadn’t used during the holiday. I am tired of sweets, but remembered a recipe for tortiere, a French-Canadian meat pie, I love it but my husband didn’t and I hadn’t made it in 15 years. I think you will like it, too. And feel free to buy a supermarket pie crust instead of making your own.

Tortiere (Pork Pie)


Yield: 8 side dishes, 4 as a main dish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees


1 1/4 pounds ground beef

3/4 pound ground pork

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/3 teaspoon allspice

1 cup water

1 medium potato, peeled and grated

salt and pepper to taste

pastry for 2-crust pie (recipe below)

1 egg, beaten

Combine meat, seasonings, onion and the water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Cool. Drain some of the juices. Add grated potato and mix; add salt and pepper, to taste. Pour meat mixture into a pastry-lined pan, push the mixture down and brush edges of bottom crust. Top the tortiere with the second. Cut slits on the top and dab crust with the rest of the beaten egg. Bake 30 minutes or until done.

Deb Jensen’s Perfect Pie Crust


Makes enough for two, two-crust nine-inch pies (what is not used can be frozen)

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons sugar

1 3/4 cups solid shortening, very, very cold (1 cup Crisco, 3/4 cup unsalted butter cut into small pieces

1 egg

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1/2 cup ice water

Combine dry ingredients. Cut shortening into dry ingredients. Add egg to ice water, beat, then add vinegar. Stir into dry ingredients with a fork.

Form into four balls, place individually in plastic wrap or small plastic bags and chill. Bring back to room temperature before rolling out.

Dough keeps one month in refrigerator and longer in freezer.

I make my dough in a food processor. With steel attachment, whirl dry ingredients. Add shortening and pulse 15 times. With processor on, add ice water, vinegar and egg until mixture will hold together when pinched.

Do not process until it turns into a ball.

My biggest problem with pie crust is the rolling out. I use a well floured pastry cloth and a well-floured mitten on my rolling pin.

When it’s the right size, I roll the crust up on my rolling pin and gently “roll it out” over the pie plate.


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