As much as I live by everything things Italian all the time, when it comes to food and cooking believe it or not, I do branch out. This savory “tourte” has been on my mind ever since I made the incredible “Woodland Tart” a few months ago. Both recipes come from a restaurant where I worked for about four years when I first moved to the San Diego area. The food that was served there was what you might call “California cuisine” along with a healthy dose of French bistro fare. The recipe for this tourte originated from a French “charcutier” (someone trained in the art of working with meat products, especially pork) who worked in the restaurant kitchen.
I’m sure there are more than a few cuisines with their own spin on a cabbage and pork pie, but I’m partial to this French one. The cabbage sweetens up a bit as it cooks and is the perfect foil for the smoky bacon and ground pork. How can you resist anything wrapped in a buttery puff pastry crust?
Tourte Au Chou (adapted from the Piret’s Cookbook)
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1/4 pound bacon, chopped
1 pound ground pork
1 large onion, chopped
1 large head of cabbage, shredded
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Roll out one sheet of pastry and fit into a 10″ pie dish with a 1″ overhang of the dough. Fit the pastry into the pan and refrigerate. Store remaining dough until you are ready to use it.
Cook the bacon in a large skillet until it begins to render its fat. Add the ground pork and cook just until it loses its pink color. Stir in the onions and cook for five minutes, Add the cabbage and a good sprinkling of salt and cook covered for about 20 minutes, or until the cabbage is soft. Drain the mixture in a colander and spread it in a shallow pan so it cools quickly.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spoon the filling into the prepared pie pan, mounding it in the center. Roll out the remaining pastry to a circle wide enough to cover the filling. Fold the bottom overhanging pastry up over the top edge, pressing to seal. Crimp edges and brush egg wash over the dough. Cut a small hole in the center of the dough to ket the steam escape.
Bake the pie for about 45 minutes, or until the top is well browned. Let the pie stand for about 15 minutes to firm up, then cut into wedges to serve. Perfect with a green salad and a glass of wine! Serves: 6 to 8