A Guest Post by Rhonda Parrish
For me, Christmas has always been about three things–food, family and presents :) In fact, my family celebrates a secular version of Christmas that we call Giftmas. Okay, mostly just I call it that, but I hold out hope that it will catch on eventually!
A few years back we stopped eating most meat which meant we had to totally re-evaluate our holiday meals. Tofurkey might work for some families in our situation but I am a ridiculously picky eater who doesn’t like tofu, so that wasn’t an option for us. Still, it wasn’t too difficult to find new, fun food traditions (vegetarian dim sum, fondue and pizza all have starring roles at Christmas time around here) but some dishes are easier than others to replace. One of my favourite holiday foods is tourtiere. In case you’re not familiar with it, tourtiere is essentially a meat pie — my version included both beef and pork, plus tons of spices and diced up vegetables. It’s so good. But it’s also like the exact opposite of a vegetarian meal.
It took a little work but eventually I landed upon a vegetarian tourtiere recipe that everyone in the family loves. This recipe from Alison Kent one uses cheddar in it to keep it nice and moist, and the mushrooms and chickpeas come surprisingly close to matching the texture of ground meat (I can’t explain it, but it’s true!). It’s super tasty and I hope you’ll give it a shot:
Vegetarian Tourtiere with Cheddar
10 oz (300 mL) cremini or white mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 Tbsp (45 mL) butter
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1 leek (white and light green parts only)
thinly sliced 1 carrot
diced 1 Yukon Gold potato, peeled and coarsely grated
1 cup (250 mL) vegetable broth
½ tsp (2 mL) each ground allspice, dried thyme and salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) each ground cloves and pepper
1 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 frozen 9-inch (23 cm) deep-dish pie shells, thawed
1. In a food processor, pulse mushrooms and chickpeas until finely chopped.
2. In a sauté pan or wide saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat; fry mushroom mixture, celery, leek and carrot, stirring often, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in potato, broth, allspice, thyme, salt, cloves and pepper; cook until mixture is thickened, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; let cool for 10 minutes.
3. Stir in cheese. In a small bowl, beat eggs; stir all but 1 tbsp (15 mL) into mushroom mixture. Beat 1 tsp (5 mL) water into remaining egg to make egg wash. Spoon filling into one of the pie shells; lightly brush edge with some of the egg wash. Invert remaining pie shell over filling; remove from its foil liner. Pinch shells together; flute or use tines of a fork to press and seal edges.
4. Brush top of pie with remaining egg wash. Cut 3 steam vents in top. Bake in bottom third of 400°F (200°C) oven until deep golden, about 45 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes; cut into wedges.
5. Tip: Serve warm or at room temperature with chili sauce or your favourite chutney.
[source: Food Network Canada]
Another important part of Giftmas for me is helping people who are less fortunate than I am. This kind of comes from the same place as gifts, which truly are more fun to give than to receive. As part of this tour I wanted to not only share recipes but also raise money to help out people here in Edmonton who really need it. Alberta is in the midst of a brutal economic downturn that was exacerbated by the Fort McMurray wildfires. Because of that the Edmonton Food Bank is even more in need of donations this year than most.
If you are able please consider making a donation — every little bit helps. And, if you’re American I’ve got great news for you, all these donations are in Canadian dollars, which means your money can stretch even further to help those who need it the most.
After you’ve done that be sure and come back here to enter this rafflecopter. I’m giving away one crocheted throw to help keep you cozy this winter. This draw is open internationally — I will ship the blanket to anywhere in the world. There are no photos yet though because the winner will get to chose the colour(s) I make the blanket in :)
If you can’t help by donating directly to our fundraiser you can still help by spreading the word, and so you can earn entries into the draw (and good karma!) that way. There’s also just a free entry that I’m offering to everyone as my gift to you.