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French Meat Pies


French Meat Pies – a New Year’s Day tradition
When Bill and I were first married, New Year’s Day was often spent with his maternal grandparents, Grandmemere and Grandpepere in Fairhaven, MA.   One of Grandpepere’s culinary treats was making the traditional French meat pies for the gang.  They had had seven children, too, and all were grown with children and grandchildren of their own by the time I met them.  Grandmemere could talk up a storm and was always cracking jokes, but everyone knew it was Grandpepere, the quiet one, who ruled the roost.  If you talk with any of the French folks around here, there are probably as many recipes for this dish as there are Frenchmen, but this one hails from Yvonne, my mother-in-law, of happy memory, who more than likely remembered it from her father.  We still enjoy it on New Year’s Day.  Enjoy!
1½ pounds ground pork
½ pound ground veal 
(ground beef can be substituted)  French meat pies
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 potatoes, diced*
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground sage
½ teaspoon allspice
1 ½ cup water or stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Double pie crust for 9” inch pie
egg yolk, beaten, for glaze
Combine all filling ingredients in a heavy pan.  Bring to a boil; simmer for 40 minutes uncovered until meat is tender.  Add water if necessary and skim fat.  Place bottom crust in greased pan, add meat mixture, and then add top crust and slash with knife or poke with fork to release steam.  Brush with egg wash and bake in 375 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes.  Serve with warm gravy.
*While Grandpepere used diced potatoes, I often cook the potatoes separately and then mash them with a little milk before adding them to the drained meat mixture.  I find they hold the pie together a little better that way.   


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