Tiny Tim Tourtière

11 Dec

Here is where our Canadian roots start showing:
at Christmas time, we are a sausage roll and tourtière crowd. The flaky pastry bites are passed around in the morning as we gather in front of the tree, to fortify ourselves for unwrapping presents. The tourtière is the centrepiece of a brunch table laden with fruit and cheese.

Why not combine both for a party appetizer? Crunchy bites of spiced, savoury ground meat are the flavour of Canadian Christmas.
And you can freeze them ahead of time.

Serve with our favourite cranberry ketchup


Cooking time 7 minutes
Preparation time 25 minutes
Baking Time 12 minutes
Makes 24 rolls

1/2 (10-oz/284-mL) can water chestnuts, drained
2 tsp (10 mL) butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 lb (500 g) ground chicken, turkey or pork
3/4 tsp (4 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each ground cloves, cinnamon and dried sage leaves
1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
4 green onions
2 celery stalks (optional)
1 egg
1/2 cup (125 mL) sour cream, preferably not light
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped fresh parsley
6 sheets phyllo pastry
1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, melted
Fresh thyme leaves or finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Rinse water chestnuts. Drain well. Chop into 1/4-inch (0.5-cm) pieces, then set aside. (Store remaining chestnuts in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. They will keep well at least 5 days.) Melt butter in a large frying pan set over medium heat. Add onion, chicken, salt, thyme, cloves, cinnamon, sage and pepper. Stir often with a fork to keep chicken separated until it loses its pink colour, from 6 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely slice green onions and finely chop celery, if using, into 1/4-inch (0.5-cm) pieces. In a medium-size bowl, whisk egg with sour cream. Set aside. Stir water chestnuts, green onions and celery, if using, into frying pan with chicken. Cook just until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and discard any excess liquid in pan. Stir sour cream mixture and 1/4 cup (50 mL) parsley into chicken. Cool completely.

Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Place 1 phyllo sheet on a large cutting board. Lightly brush with butter, then cover with another phyllo sheet. Line up all edges. Repeat brushing and layering with 1 more phyllo sheet. Cover remaining phyllo with a damp tea towel. Cut phyllo stack into 12 squares, each about 4×4 inches (10×10 cm). Work with 6 squares at a time. Spoon 1 tablespoon (15 mL) cooled filling onto bottom right corner of each square. Tightly roll corner toward centre to partially enclose filling. Once you reach centre, fold in sides to cover filling. Continue tightly rolling up pastry to form a small log. To seal, lightly brush seam with a little melted butter. Then place seam-side down on an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining squares, spacing them about 1/2 inch (1 cm) apart. Once 12 rolls have been made, repeat entire process with remaining phyllo, butter and filling.

Brush tops of rolls with remaining butter, then sprinkle with fresh thyme or parsley, if using. Bake in centre of 400F (200C) oven until golden, about 12 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with mango chutney or your favourite fruit chutney as a dipping sauce.

• Prepare rolls up to point of baking. Freeze rolls on baking sheet until firm, then store, layered, in an airtight container or freezer bag. To bake, do not thaw. Spread out frozen rolls on a baking sheet. Bake according to recipe, but frozen rolls will take a few minutes longer.


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