Saturday, December 29, 2012


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Our "Boxing Day" (day after Christmas) buffet- one leftover Tourtière is in the center, behind the mashed potatoes. (Tofu Pot Pie in the foreground, with my Seitan "Ham" to the L [and you can barely see the crusty homemade bread to the R]; mashed potatoes, "Ham Gravy", homemade cranberry sauce and chutney, red cabbage and apple coleslaw, and stuffing surrounding the Tourtière; and, at the very back, Sarah's cranberry chutney,  SIL Ben's vegan sweet potato casserole, and some leftover sliced Seitan "Turkey" and gravy.

Many of us bring with us Christmas holiday food traditions from our grandparents and parents, and their family backgrounds. If we’re part of a couple, our partner brings more, sometimes very different, traditions along. Unless both come from the same ethnic and religious background, there will be some compromising, and some making of new traditions. (I love this— it gives us more scope for experimentation!) If vegetarian or vegan diet is in the mix, new culinary traditions must be found as well. 

If you have a mixed ethnic background, as I do, you probably choose what appeals to you from the different traditions in your family (or combined families). For instance, my father, Alejandro Jaime Urbina, a Peruvian of Spanish and Italian descent, fondly recalled the Panetón (the Peruvian version of Italian Panettone) that his Tia Maria baked in a brick oven in the central courtyard of his large, Spanish-style boyhood home in Lima. Because of his memories, I began making Panettone for Christmas many years ago, eventually devising my own low-fat, vegan version. (Panettone is a rich yeast bread, slightly sweet, and flavored with citrus zest, dried fruit, anise and almonds.) I later discovered that my father’s Italian family, who immigrated to Peru from the Italian Riviera in the 1800s, may have been making Panettone Genovese, rather than the Panettone di Milano, which most Italians simply call Panettone. The Genovese version is not as rich as the Milanese version, and is flavored more exotically. It’s the inspiration for my own vegan version of Panetón, which I included in my book World Vegan Feast

                     This is a bread machine version of Panetón, from my book "World Vegan Feast".

A newer tradition: My husband Brian, though not French-Canadian, was born in the province of Quebec and he was so happy when I came up with a vegan version of Tourtière (a special "meat" pie). It's an integral part of many Canadian Christmas celebrations now- certainly in our house, when we celebrate Réveillon, the Quebec Christmas Eve. This is something that I had never heard of before coming to Canada from the USA and, even then, because we lived in Western Canada, I had no real experience with it. But over 20 years ago, I devised a vegan recipe for my book The Almost No-Fat Holiday Cookbook and have used that recipe all this time, although I usually use commercial vegan hamburger “crumbles” now, instead of ground seitan. 

This year I decided that it needed a make-over—more “oomph” in the flavor department. I also read about some versions of the pie that are made with oatmeal as the thickener instead of the usual potatoes, so I decided to try that, too. I made four pies (Brian’s always afraid that there won’t be any leftovers! ) and my new Tourtière was a big hit. 

Tourtière is traditionally eaten at any meal, hot or cold, with gravy, relish, chutney or ketchup (some members of our family have been known to eat it with hot sauce or salsa). This year I made a tomato-apple chutney that resembles an old-fashioned homemade Quebec accompaniment to Tourtière which is called French-Canadian “Ketchup”, but is chunky and a little spicy, made with tomatoes and fruit. I’ll post that recipe below, too. 

Tourtière with homemade Tomato-Apple Chutney

Printable Recipe (includes pastry recipe and chutney recipe)


Serves 6-8 
Tourtière is good any time of the year, and makes good picnic fare. The recipe can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled, and Tourtière freezes well.

A Double crust of Low-Fat Oil Pastry (see below) or your favorite pastry.
Nondairy milk for brushing
1 large onion
2 cups chopped celery with leaves
2 large cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 bay leaf
1/2 tablespoon dried savory
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 package Yves “Ground Round” or other vegan “hamburger crumbles”,  OR 2 cups of your favorite vegan hamburger substitute, such as ground "beefy" seitan or textured soy protein (TSP or TVP) reconstituted in a tasty broth
1 cup hot water mixed with
1 1/4 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon "No-Chicken" broth paste
1/2 cup dry red wine (can be non-alcoholic)
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (oatmeal)
2 tablespoons ordinary ketchup (can be organic)
(NOTE: do not omit the ketchup!  Strange as it may seem, the ketchup rounds out the flavor nicely and you don't actually taste it.)
1/4 teaspoon EACH ground allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

If you have a food processor, cut the peeled onion into chunks and add to the processor bowl along wit the celery and garlic.  Pulse until minced. (Otherwise, you'll have to mince the vegetables by hand with a sharp knife.)

In a large heavy skillet over high heat (nonstick, if possible), saute the minced vegetables in the 2 oils over medium-high heat until the onion softens, adding drops of water as need to keep from sticking. Add the bay leaf, dried savory and rosemary and saute for a few more minutes.  Stir in the hamburger substitute, the hot water mixed with the broth paste, red wine, rolled oats and ketchup. Simmer over medium-low heat, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or until the mixture thickens.

Remove the bay leaf and stir in the allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  Taste for salt and add freshly-ground black pepper to taste.  Smooth the mixture out on a baking sheet and place in the freezer to cool off quickly while you make and roll the pastry (see recipe below). 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a 9" pie dish with half of the pastry and fill with the cooled Filling (which should have thickened as it cooled). Cover with remaining pastry and trim and flute the edges. (I cut a star in the center this time with a little cookie cutter before placing the pastry on top of the Filling.)  Cut slits in the top and brush with nondairy milk.  Bake for 50 minutes. 

Cool on a rack.  Serve warm or at room temperature with relish, chutney or ketchup (some members of our family have been known to eat it with hot sauce or salsa). 

Nutrition Facts for 6 servings per pie
Nutrition (per serving): 412.5 calories; 39% calories from fat; 18.7g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 687.1mg sodium; 633.6mg potassium; 44.7g carbohydrates; 7.6g fiber; 4.8g sugar; 37.1g net carbs; 17.2g protein; 9.0 points.

Nutrition Facts for 8 servings per pie
Nutrition (per serving): 309.4 calories; 39% calories from fat; 14.0g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 515.3mg sodium; 475.2mg potassium; 33.5g carbohydrates; 5.7g fiber; 3.6g sugar; 27.8g net carbs; 12.9g protein; 6.6 points.

Printable Recipe

Makes two 9-inch crusts 
This crust contains about half the fat of ordinary pie pastry dough, and I use oil, rather than solid shortening, and half whole wheat flour. This is the pastry I have used for many years and the only pie crust that doesn’t give my husband indigestion. The pastry flour and nondairy “buttermilk” make a tender, crispy crust rather than a flaky one, but I have never had any complaints. (PS: The recipe can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled.)

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (do not use ordinary whole wheat flour or the pastry will be tough)
7/8 cup (14 tablespoons or 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) unbleached white flour
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon granulated unbleached organic sugar
6 tablespoons soy, hemp or nut milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice or cider vinegar
6 tablespoons oil (olive oil for savory pies; canola or sunflower for sweet pies)

Mix the 2 flours together in a medium bowl with the salt, baking powder and sugar. In a small bowl, mix together the non-dairy milk with the lemon juice or vinegar. Whisk in the oil until it is emulsified (you can’t see any oil globules). Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix the dough gently with a fork until it holds together in a ball. (If it’s too dry, sprinkle with a tiny bit of water.) 

If you have time, place the flattened dough in a plastic bag and refrigerate it for 30 minutes to an hour before rolling out. Divide the dough in half, roll out and bake the pastry as you would an ordinary crust. Tip: Roll the dough out on a lightly floured sheet of baking parchment– it never sticks! 

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 195.6 calories; 48% calories from fat; 10.7g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 184.1mg sodium; 123.6mg potassium; 22.3g carbohydrates; 2.2g fiber; 0.6g sugar; 20.1g net carbs; 3.7g protein; 4.4 points.

Printable Recipe 

This is easy to make and just spicy enough. 

One 28 oz. can plum tomatoes 
4 apples, diced (don't peel)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
6 to 8 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 cup raisins (any kind)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt or to taste
freshly-ground black pepper to taste

Dump the canned tomatoes (juice and all) into a large pot and, with clean or gloved hands, squish the tomatoes with your fingers to break them up into small chunks. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 45-50 minutes, or until it has a thicker consistency, almost like a chunky jam. Cool to room temperature. This will keep 3 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator, or you can seal it (while hot) into 6 half-pint canning jars and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.  

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 1/4 cup serving): 71.0 calories; 1% calories from fat; 0.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 162.6mg sodium; 211.7mg potassium; 18.7g carbohydrates; 1.3g fiber; 14.2g sugar; 17.4g net carbs; 0.7g protein; 1.2 points.


Anonymous said...

It looks like such a lovely spread! Any chance you will share your "Ham Gravy" recipe?!

Happy New Year!


Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Thanks, Courtney-- the gravy recipe is actually posted on this blog, with my Cajun Red bean Hash--
and the Printable recipe is here:

pattk1220 said...

I plan to make this for the holiday. Often I substitute cooked brown lentils for meat substitutes. Have you tried lentils in this recipe? I wonder if they would be too wet. Thanks for sharing so many wonderful recipes on your blog!

Unknown said...

Made this yesterday and will bake tomorrow. Photos here:

MarjRC said...

I've been looking for a vegan version of tourtiere and your recipe sounds amazing! Thank you for sharing. I'm going to try it out. :)

Unknown said...

Have you tried preparing the tourtiere ahead and freezing it?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

I can't remember, to tell you the truth, but pie dough freezes well and there's no reason why the filling wouldn't. You could freeze the pie dough already rolled out and put into the pie pans, but I would freeze the filling separately and thaw that out first (it will take longer to thaw than the pie crust), then add it to the crust when thawed and bake.