Posts Tagged ‘42 Crichton Street Fine Foods’

Seasonal eats: Yak mincemeat pie

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Chef Susan Jessup’s yak mincemeat pie

‘Tis the season for mincemeat pies. Although the mincemeat we’re most familiar with is a mix of fruit, spices and liquor, until fairly recently it also contained meat, usually beef, which — in an era before factory farming — was at its best in fall and winter.

In this version of the classic seasonal recipe, Ottawa chef Susan Jessup uses locally raised yak meat, although beef can be substituted.  Susan is one of a growing number of yak devotees, who prize the red meat’s sweet, delicate taste, lean texture, high protein and low cholesterol levels.

A Cordon Bleu-trained chef, Susan is owner and general manager at 42 Crichton Street Fine Foods in New Edinburgh, where her menus showcase local, seasonal foods.  A self-described “die-hard defender of the farmer” and Food for All advocate, she has been appointed to the Ottawa Food Policy Council, and belongs to Savour Ottawa‘s advisory committee, the advisory board for Ottawa street food and Just Food.

Susan buys yak meat from Rosemary Kralik, who raises yak, cattle, goats and sheep sustainably and humanely at Tiraislin Farm west of Ottawa, in the Lanark Highlands.

Yak Mincemeat Pie

(recipe makes 2 pies)


1 lb ground yak (or lean ground beef)

1 can Muskoka Dark Ale

8 oz  smashed walnuts

4 oz each raisins, dried cranberries and currants

1 large onion, medium dice

2 large apples, grated

¼  tsp ground clove

¼ tsp ground allspice

2 tsp ground ginger

½  tsp freshly grated nutmeg

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 branch fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste

3 oz heavy cream

½ fresh baguette, grated (yup)

enough butter to prevent the pies from sticking to the baking pans

your favourite pastry recipe for 2 double crust, 8-inch pies

1 beaten egg for the pastry egg wash


Open the beer, drink some, warm the rest (you choose how much to add/drink) and pour over the dried fruit and walnuts in a large mixing bowl.

Preheat a fry pan to medium and add the duck fat or butter. When the fat has melted and begins to bubble, toss in the onions and sauté until golden-brown. Add grated apple and spices and spoon the whole mixture, along with the onions, into the bowl containing beer, fruit and nuts.

Brown the meat using the same sauté/fry pan. Then add it, with the cream and grated baguette, to the big bowl and combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and allow to cool while you prep the pastry.

Lightly butter the grooves of two pie plates — or unwrap purchased pastry. (Hint: Many fine local bakeries are preparing pastry in foil pans for busy home chefs.) Roll out your pastry (top and bottom crusts). Line the pie plates, leaving some extra to hang over the sides. Beat the egg for the eggwash.

Divide meat filling between the pie plates. Drop the pastry tops* on and brush them with egg wash; flip the draped lower-crust pastry over the edges of the pastry tops and egg wash those. Cut steam vents into the tops and place the pies in a 350ºF oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 325ºF and bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until the bottom crust is cooked and the pasty is golden. (Set the timer in case your oven runs hotter than most).

Cool the pie for a few moments before slicing or prepare ahead of time and reheat at a lower temperature. Serve with onion jam or cranberry compote.

* If the pastry tops are too much fuss, use mashed sweet potatoes instead. Mash 2 egg yolks, salt, pepper, and a little butter into the baked, or boiled and drained, sweet potatoes. Delicious!