Pink curing salt #1, which can be purchased online or in stores specializing in meat curing, is a mixture of table salt and nitrites; it is also called Prague Powder #1, Insta Cure #1, or DQ Curing Salt #1. In addition to the pink salt, we use table salt here. If using Diamond Crystal kosher salt, increase the salt to 1 1/2 cups; if using Morton kosher salt, increase to 1 1/8 cups. This recipe requires six days to corn the beef, and you will need cheesecloth. Look for a uniformly thick brisket to ensure that the beef cures evenly. The brisket will look gray after curing but will turn pink once cooked.
Unless your ancestors were French Canadian, tourtière just may be the most delicious Christmas tradition you’ve never heard of.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
This French Canadian meat pie is a Christmas tradition for feeding a crowd. After settling on ground pork for our pie filling, we had to fix the dry, pebbly texture that resulted from cooking the meat twice—once in the skillet and once in the oven. Adding shredded potato to the meat moistened it and made it cohesive, and we found that mixing the pork with baking soda before cooking tenderized it. We flavor the filling with savory onions, garlic, and thyme cooked in butter and then add the warm spices customary to the dish—allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Finally, we bake the filling in our favorite tender, flaky sour cream crust.