I come from the land of poutine and tourtiere.

However, both regional “delicacies” have experienced emotional-ostracism, and have, virtually, been shut out of my life.

As delicious as they may be, the poutine is just too dirty to actually be enjoyed, and, my meat-abstinence has relegated the tourtiere to a permanent spot on the bench.

How’s that for Quebec-culinary-pride?

Never one to be more than a partial stick-in-the-mud, I have devised strategies that have allowed for me to partake in our local specialties: oven-fry poutine with mushroom gravy (oh boy, too good) and this, equally-delicious, vegetarian tourtiere.

This “meat” pie has a delicious taste, a wonderful texture, and the innards actually look fairly reminiscent of meat.

Perhaps if I were to have recently woken from a long nap, stumbled to the dinner table, and groggily taken a bite of this pie, it is highly possible that I might be duped into thinking that I had just consumed ground animal; hastily regurgitating it into my napkin. (sorry to have put you through that visual, it was, perhaps, unnecessary…)

If sorta looks like meat, sorta tastes like meat, sorta smells like meat…must it be meat?

All I’m trying to say, in my incredibly-roundabout way, is that this delicious alternative to tourtiere will please carnivores and vegetarians alike.

Serve it with vegan gravy for a wonderful, comforting, treat.

Chestnut-Mushroom Tourtiere

Adapted from Reader’s Digest

Ingredients
1 (15g) package dried mushrooms (I used shiitake)
8 oz (250g) cremini or white mushrooms
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 stalks celery, diced
1 leek (white and light green parts only), thinly sliced
2 carrots, diced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp black pepper
300g vacuum-packed, cooked & peeled, chestnuts
2 eggs, beaten
2, 9-inch, deep-dish pie shells (either homemade or store-bought), I made half-wheat pie dough for this recipe

Directions
1. In a small pot, heat 1 cup of water until boiling. Remove from the heat and place the dried mushrooms in the pot to soak in the hot water. Let stand for 15 minutes. Reserve the liquid and transfer the mushrooms to a food processor. Add the cremini mushrooms and pulse until chopped.
2. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Cook the celery, leek, and carrot in the butter-olive oil mixture until softened, stirring often, about 4 minutes.
3. Stir in the chopped mushrooms, sage, salt, allspice, and pepper; cook until the mushrooms are softened, about 4 minutes.
4. Stir in the reserved mushroom liquid and cook until almost all the liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and allow it to cool slightly.
5. Pulse the chestnuts in the food processor until coarsely chopped. Stir them into the mushroom mixture, along with all but 1 Tbsp of the beaten egg.
6. Beat 1 tsp of water into the remaining egg.
7. Spoon filling into one of the pie shells; lightly brush the edge with some of the egg wash. Top the filling with the remaining pie crust and pinch the edge together and flute with a fork to seal.
8. Brush the top of the pie with more of the remaining egg wash. Cut 2-3 steam vents in the top crust.
9. Bake in the bottom third of the preheated oven until deep golden in colour, about 45 minutes.
10. Remove from the oven and let stand at least 10 minutes before cutting into wedges.

This time, I turned this recipe into individual pies, rather than a 9-inch version. Both have been done, and both are fabulous.

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