RECIPE

Gatineau chef shares recipe for 'big meat cube' known as cipaille

The owner of Edgar, a cozy restaurant in Gatineau, shares her recipe for cipaille, a multi-layered meat pie that includes chicken, pork, beef and rabbit.

'Mix everything together, put it in the oven, don't worry about it for 12 hours — and it's magic'

Marysol Foucault, the chef and owner of Edgar in Gatineau, holds up a fresh cipaille, a multi-layered meat pie shaped like a cube. (Alistair Steele/CBC)

With Christmas fast approaching, Marysol Foucault is busy at work in her cozy Gatineau restaurant Edgar preparing multi-layered meat pies known as cipaille.

She makes the traditional Québécois dish, sometimes called cipâte, with chicken, pork, beef and rabbit.

"It really looks like a big meat cube," she said.

The tradition of using a variety of meats is not rooted in extravagance but frugality — the dish was made with leftovers.

​"It's sustenance food, so it's really filling, it's heavy," she said.

The chef at Edgar in Gatineau uses chicken, pork, beef and rabbit to make cipaille. (Alistair Steele/CBC)

Foucault  shared her recipe on D is For Dinner, the weekly food segment on CBC Radio's All In A Day

"No precision. You just cut up meat, you leave the fat on, it's very, almost, not sloppy but sloppy," she said.

"There's no particular cut for the onions. You just mix everything together, you put it in the oven, you don't worry about it for 12 hours — and it's magic."

She added that the recipe requires the use of a Dutch oven or a Creuset-style cocotte. 

Cipaille (cipâte)

Ingredients

  • 8 lbs of mixed meat (beef, pork, chicken, rabbit or other game meats), cubed with fat on.
  • 3 lbs of Yukon gold potatoes, cubed.
  • 2 large onions, sliced.
  • 1 leek, sliced.
  • 1 litre of veal stock (can substitute with chicken stock). 
  • 1/4 cup red wine.
  • 1 tbsp. of les Herbes salées du Bas-du-fleuve (available in grocery stores).
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. cloves. 
  • 1 tsp. allspice. 
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves.
  • A pinch of pepper.

Instructions

  • The night before cooking, marinate the cubed meats with the wine, spices and onion. Cover and refrigerate.
  • Make dough using your favourite recipe (Foucault's recipe includes lard but that can be substituted with vegetable shortening or butter, depending on your preference.) Make enough for four discs to layer the circumference of a Dutch oven.
  • Cube potatoes and leave in water until ready to use. 
  • Mix the marinated meats with the potatoes, leek, the Herbes salées, garlic, thyme leaves and a pinch 
    of salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out a large enough circle of dough to fit the cocotte and cover the sides a bit.
  • Grease the cocotte and gently snug in the dough.
  • Fill the bottom with one-third of the meat. 
  • Roll out a second piece of dough, fit atop the meat, poke a hole in the middle. Lay a second row of meat. 
  • Repeat a third time and finish with a nice circle of dough. Make a hole in the middle, which will act as your chimney to check if there is enough stock through the cooking process.
  • Heat the oven to 250 F. 
  • Fill the cipaille with stock just up to the last layer of dough.
  • Check after three to five hours of cooking to see if it needs refilling. You should always see liquid through the centre chimney.
  • Cook, covered, for a total of six to 12 hours until the meat is very tender and the top golden brown (cooking time varies depending on the oven). The juices around the cocotte should be dark brown when it's ready.

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