Alcide Desveaux is a retired Canadian hailing from Cape Breton, N.S., which is also from where he credits his family recipe for Acadian Meat Pies.
Alcide’s passion for cooking traditional foods is exemplified in his approach to ingredients and flavour combinations. Alcide’s recipe earned him a spot on Recipe to Riches where he competed against the other top home cooks in the country in the savoury pie competition.
The judges were instantly struck by the delicious taste of Alcide’s dish. After successfully competing in cooking and marketing challenges, Alcide’s savoury pie made him the episode finalist.
Alcide shares his recipe, below, which is sure to please the entire family.
Acadian Meat Pies
Recipe by Alcide Desveaux
Makes: 4 pies, 8 servings per pie
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 3-1/2 hours
Chill time: 1 hour
8 cups (2 L) all-purpose flour
3 tbsp (45 mL) baking powder
4 tsp (20 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper
1 pkg (454 g) cold lard, cubed
2 cups (500 mL) cold milk
1 boneless pork shoulder (about 2 lb/1 kg), fat removed and meat cut in large chunks
7 lb (3 kg) skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
4 large onions, cut in chunks
4 tsp (20 mL) salt
2 tsp (10 mL) freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp (10 mL) dried summer savoury
3 cups (750 mL) (approx.) no salt added chicken stock
5 large sprigs fresh savoury, leaves chopped
1. Make Pastry: In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Using fingertips, work in lard until coarse crumb consistency. Drizzle in milk, tossing with a fork until ragged dough forms. Scrape onto floured work surface; lightly knead into two even balls. Divide each ball into four equal portions. Shape each portion into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2. Make Meat Filling: Place pork in largest pot you own. Top with chicken, onion, salt, pepper and dried savoury. Add water to cover, about 9 cups (2.25 L). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce heat to medium-low for a low, rolling boil; cook for 1 hour, skimming impurities, or until chicken is falling off the bone. Using slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a large bowl; let cool enough to handle, then remove skin and bones and shred the chicken meat. Continue to boil pork for 1-1/2 hours, skimming impurities, or until pork falls apart. Using slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and let cool enough to shred; add to shredded chicken. Spoon fat from cooking liquid, leaving cooked onion bits in pot. Transfer to glass measuring cup. Add enough chicken stock to make 3 cups (750 mL); stir into shredded meat mixture. Sprinkle fresh savoury over; toss to combine. Set aside.
3. Make Egg Wash: In small bowl, whisk egg with 2 tsp (10 mL) water. Set aside.
4. Arrange oven rack in lowest position. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). On floured work surface, roll each pastry disk into a 10-inch (25 cm) circle. Line four 9-inch (23 cm) pie plates with pastry. Divide meat mixture evenly among four lined pie plates. Brush rim of each pie with egg wash. Top with remaining rolled pastry rounds. Press along rim. With scissors, trim excess top and bottom pasty 3/4-inch (2 cm) from edge of plate. Fold pastry under to line up with pie plate edge. Flute the pastry edge or press tines of fork all along edge to seal. Brush tops of pies all over with egg wash. Using sharp paring knife, make four slashes in top of each pie. Place two pies on each of two large rimmed baking sheets.
5. One baking sheet at a time, bake on lowest rack for 45 to 50 minutes or until evenly browned and filling bubbles out of vents in pastry. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 4 pies, 8 servings per pie
TIP: Cover edges of pastry with foil if it browns too quickly.
TIP: To freeze, do not egg wash assembled pies. Refrigerate unbaked pies for 1 hour or until very cold. Wrap well in plastic wrap and overwrap in foil. Freeze for up to 1 month. To bake from frozen, unwrap and place on baking sheet. Brush tops with egg wash. Bake no more than two pies at a time in bottom third of preheated 375°F (190°C) oven for 70 to 80 minutes or until evenly browned and filling bubbles out of vents in pastry.
Watch Alcide compete on Recipe to Riches as he bakes 100 pies in three hours and hosts a public taste test event!