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
February 19, 2013 at 12:21 am
that looks so amazingingly beautiful!!!! yummy
March 1, 2013 at 2:32 am
Gail-come on over and get a piece…
February 19, 2013 at 4:45 am
Num Num! 🙂
February 20, 2013 at 2:28 am
J.-thank you for being my guinea pig! You have great palate.
March 1, 2013 at 2:32 am
J-my faithful tester, grazie!
February 20, 2013 at 2:27 am
Gail-this is really simple to make! You should make it.
December 1, 2013 at 8:06 pm
I had this dish many times at Piret’s restaurant. They served it with very spicy mustard which is a must! It elevates it to something extraordinary.
February 7, 2015 at 3:22 pm
One of my favorite dishes ever! They made it with a ton of freshly cracked pepper. I add some coarse spicy mustard to the mixture.
February 17, 2015 at 3:00 pm
Kathy-I just made two more dishes from the Piret’s cookbook-Chicken with Cabbage and also Pommes Byron-delicious!
August 25, 2016 at 5:28 pm
I worked at Piret’s from ’83 to ’86. Love this recipe!
August 25, 2016 at 5:30 pm
Peter-were you a waiter? I was there from 84-88-worked in the Perfect Pan and behind the counter in charcuterie.
January 13, 2017 at 8:42 pm
Yes, I was a waiter and bartender at the downtown location. I also opened the one in Beverly HIlls.
January 19, 2017 at 12:19 am
We must have all worked there together. Ginger, Jeff, Tracy, Gail,Great times. The Lamplighter 🙂
April 10, 2020 at 3:54 pm
Hello again Panini Girl, yes I was a waiter in both the Mission Hills store and B St. downtown, and also bartender downtown. Moved to the Beverly Hills store in 1986. There are a few favorites dishes I remember that aren’t in the cookbook; Chicken Apple Walnut Salad, Hearts of Palm-Mushroom Salad, Poulet Sautee Forestiere. YUM, Those were the days
April 10, 2020 at 4:48 pm
Good Morning! I thought that the capon recipe was missing from the cookbook. Do you remember that dish? Maybe it was the Poulet Sauté Forestiere? If you have that recipe would you be willing to share ? Have a great day and stay healthy!
April 13, 2020 at 4:44 pm
Mary-I don’t have that recipe but I do remember Poulet Forestiere.
April 13, 2020 at 5:12 pm
We have been looking on line for a recipe for the poulet saute Forestiere. Sounds like a mushroom sauce of some sort. I don’t have a recipe yet. What do you remember was in this dish? Thank you for your help!
April 13, 2020 at 8:02 pm
This is one of the chicken dishes I’ve enjoyed the most. The original dish was a seasoned boneless skinless pounded thin chicken breast browned on both sides. Then sliced shallots & mushrooms sautéed until soft. Deglaze with white wine. Add heavy cream and simmer for a few minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Over the years I’ve made some adjustments; boneless thighs, reduced chicken stock and less cream. If I have some fresh herbs I’ll throw them in, Thyme or tarragon do nicely. Thanks for the memories.
April 13, 2020 at 9:04 pm
Peter, thank you so much! This sounds delightful! I think the fresh herbs would be awesome in it. I will give it a try since we are house bound. Would you suggest pasta with this Or?
April 16, 2020 at 6:26 pm
LOL, I could eat pasta with anything! Go for it.
April 15, 2020 at 9:29 pm
Peter-thanks for remembering! That’s just what I thought it might be. One of my favorites was the lamb sausage pizza!
April 15, 2020 at 9:30 pm
Mary-so happy that Peter give us the recipe.
April 15, 2020 at 10:52 pm
Yes! Now I can try the recipe! Thank you Peter!
December 3, 2016 at 3:25 am
I was just thinking about this dish yesterday. I too worked at Pirets! This was one of my favorite items from the menu. Since it is winter, it seems like a perfect meal to share with friends. I am happy to have found this! TD
January 9, 2017 at 6:17 am
I live in San Diego and used to live very close to Piret’s Mission Hills….. I loved the food and the ambiance….. I’ve made the Torte au Choux for years, it is a favorite… We will never forget the Mungers and their trend-setting charcouterie in Mission HIlls ! Miss it a lot 🙂
January 10, 2017 at 2:36 am
Hello T David-wasn’t Piret’s such a wonderful place? I worked for them for about 4 years. I am now motivated to make that Torte Au Choux and also the Woodland Torte (with mushrooms). I have so many great memories of all the meals I ate while working there. George and Piret were certainly ahead of their time.
February 3, 2017 at 7:59 pm
S. Berrin-I loved the Mission Hills location-so charming and the Pan Shop was great too. The Mungers really were pioneers in bringing good food to San Diego.
February 3, 2017 at 7:57 pm
Mark and T David-did either of you work in Encinitas?
February 6, 2017 at 8:04 am
Yes. I worked at the Encinitas location, in the Lumeryard. It was a great first SD area job. The picture on the cover of the Piret’s cookbook was taken there at the Encinitas location. This was a long time ago, but I remember working a fashion show at the Grossmont Mall one night. I did another even at the relatively new Union Bank location, (a large black high rise) downtown San Diego, that was a daytime event. Good times, certainly.
March 13, 2017 at 7:04 am
Never in Encinitas just Mission Hills and as a manager in Grossmont😎
July 14, 2019 at 6:59 pm
Fun to hear your reminiscing about Pirets and thank you for putting the recipe online. I loved their Encinitas store and this recipe.
July 14, 2019 at 9:22 pm
Sue-yes Piret’s was such a wonderful restaurant and certainly at the forefront of the food scene in San Diego. I loved this dish. I was lucky to work at the Encinitas location for four years. I loved this dish.
July 14, 2019 at 8:59 pm
I am wondering if I can use Savoy cabbage instead of the regular round green heads. Any thoughts?
July 14, 2019 at 9:23 pm
Sue-absolutely use savoy-it would be great.
July 14, 2019 at 9:56 pm
Thanks, I’m looking forward to making it. I sent your blog to Encinitas friends who just visited Lucca and are going back next month. They loved it ( the blog).
August 15, 2019 at 11:23 pm
Just made this. Sadly, the bottom did not cook but the top and filling are lovely.
August 18, 2019 at 9:11 pm
Hi Sue-maybe try putting it on a baking sheet that you’ve preheated in the oven. Also make sure that the filling is really well drained. Now I feel I have to get in the kitchen and make this!
August 19, 2019 at 4:38 pm
So great to be reminded of this great entre. I have not made one for a couple of years now, but I think that is about to change, as in this week! Couple of items: do you make your own phyllo dough? And second, do you thoroughly drain your cabbage, pork and bacon? I will confess, I use Pepperidge Farm Phyllo dough; it is always consistent.
August 19, 2019 at 9:41 pm
Terry-I’ve made this using purchased puff pastry and also with a homemade pie dough. I have made my own puff pastry, but it’s quite a job! During the holidays Trader Joes carries a great frozen puff pastry that’s all butter. Yes, I think it’s important to drain the filling well so that the bottom crust isn’t soggy.
April 8, 2020 at 12:19 am
We bought the Piret’s cookbook at the Encinitas location in 1990. After we had such an oh so fabulous lunch! I had this dish and my husband had a roast Capon dish he swears that was the best chicken he has ever had. As I write this I have this dish in the oven. I have to admit I use a Marie Calenders pie crust but after reading this I will try the puff pastry version. I have made this many times and it always bring back fond memories of our time at Piret’s and Encinitas.
April 9, 2020 at 11:52 pm
Mary-now I’m going to get the book out and cook the chicken dish! Piret’s was a wonderful place to work. I had the opportunity to eat a lot of great food.
April 18, 2020 at 2:15 am
Thank you for posting this recipe, I was a frequent patron at the La Jolla location next to Macy’s… this was my all time favorite…I used to make this at least once a year, now that we are house-bound I am making it this weekend. I bought the cookbook just for this recipe! 🥰 for sharing it
April 19, 2020 at 6:19 pm
Dayna-I need to look through the cookbook and find some other things to make!