French Canadian Salmon Pie

Friday, 13 January 2017

For those of you who don't know, my father is a French Canadian, bred and born in the Saguenay Region of Quebec where he lived until he joined the Canadian Military way back when.  My childhood was embroidered with the traditional foods of my mother's English/German ancestry and my father's French traditions.  
Some of the French dishes may have been slightly adapted to my mother's tastes and skills in translation, but I believe at the very essence they stayed the same.

This Salmon Pie was one of my father's favourite meals.  Having grown up on the Saguenay, fresh salmon was in plentiful supply and this was a favourite dish from his childhood.  
It was destined to become a favourite with all of us as well.  We were all very happy campers when this was on the menu!

Its a very simple pie . . .  composed of equal amounts of mashed potatoes and salmon, grated onion, summer savory, salt and pepper. All of this was encased in a flakey crust and baked.  
Simple ingredients put together beautifully. Comfort food at its very best. 

I am sure you could serve a simple cream sauce with this if you wanted to. Mom never did and I have never thought to either.  
We always just simply had it with some salad and a vegetable.   It is truly delicious all on its own.

I can remember making these for my father's lunch as a young bride.  He would come to visit and have lunch with me every now and then and my salmon pies and stew were a point of pride for me and something he really enjoyed.  
He always said he liked my stews better than my mothers.  I don't know why.   
He also loved it when I would make him a toasted bologna and cheese sandwich.   I would carefully lay several strands of chive in the sandwich before I toasted it.   He loved that.

The pastry I use is very simple and very flaky.  Composed of a mix of plain flour, some salt, and equal amounts of butter and lard.  Oh, and ice water of course.  
I will also give you the recipe for that.  It is a beautiful pastry and works well on all kinds of pies.  Just use a gentle and light hand and you will be rewarded. 

*French Canadian Salmon Pie*
Serves 6
When I was growing up this was always my father's favourite pie and a real favourite with the family.  I don't make it very often but when I do we are both in heaven.  Simple and delicious.  You could certainly make a cream sauce to serve with this, but we never do.  It's very good just on it's own with a salad on the side. 

1 (418g) tin of salmon, drained well, flaked and mashed (1 15 1/2 ounce tin)
(I oftimes use two small boneless, skinless tins of salmon because I am not fond
of either the skin or the bones)
650g of cold mashed potatoes (2 cups)
( I use the frozen mash you can buy nowadays, thawed completely and slightly warmed)
1/2 medium onion, peeled and grated
3 TBS melted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp summer savory (can also use thyme)
1/4 tsp coarse black pepper
Pastry for a two crust pie 

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Roll out half of your pastry large enough to line a 9 inch pie tin.  Set aside. 

Mash together the salmon, potatoes, onion, melted butter, salt, savory and black pepper.   Place this into the lined pie dish, smoothing the top over. 

Roll out the remaining pastry into a round large enough to cover the base.   Lay over the top of the filling to cover with a bit of overhang.  Trim and crimp the edges of the pie.   Cut a few steam vents into the top with a sharp knife.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden brown and the filling is heated through and hot.  Cut into wedges to serve.


*Butter-Lard Pastry*
Makes 2 nine - inch crusts

This is a beautiful pastry.  Flaky just right.  You can add a touch of sugar to it if you are making a fruit pie.

2 cups all purpose flour (280g)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter (76g)
1/3 cup lard (or white vegetable shortening) (74g)
5 to 6 tablespoons of ice water

(note: if using for a sweet pie, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar.)

Mix flour with salt, and cut in butter and lard, until you have pieces of fat in the flour about the size of peas.  Add ice water, one TBS at a time, tossing it in with a fork until pastry comes together. Form in to a ball and cut in two pieces. Form each into a round flat disc.  Warp in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.

This truly is a beautiful taste of home for me and a lovely supper dish.  I hope you'll try it.  It is proof positive that it is the simple things in life which oftimes bring us the most pleasure.   

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  1. Oh my goodness, I think I may have to make this tomorrow!

    1. You won't be sorry kath! Its pretty tasty! xo

  2. this looks great Marie, I'll have to try it in future! I never saw the frozen mashed potatoes, I'll have to check for them.

    1. Mary it is great and you can buy the frozen mash in all grocery stores for about £1 a bag. I usually use Asda's own brand. xo

  3. just delighted to see this recipe today because I love your salmon loaf recipe so much ! Enjoyed your family story about cooking lunch for your Dad. Also appreciate the short cut to use
    ready to go mashed . your friend in NH, Sue

    1. You will really love this Sue. It is truly delicious! The ready to go mash works perfectly, and if you use ready roll pie crust then it really becomes a doddle to put together! I hope you make it and that you enjoy! Xo

  4. My mashed potatoes are made with milk and butter. Are yours the same or just plain? I want to make sure I get the recipe just right

    1. I do add a bit of milk and butter to my mash Denise. I normally don't have enough leftover to make this but tend to make them from scratch and I wouldn't add as much milk as I would have done if we were having them on their own. I hope you give it a go! Xo

  5. Your crimping is spectac Marie..spectac.

    Your recipe is my recipe:) J puts ketchup on it;)

    1. Thanks Monique! We used to put ketchup on it also! Looking forward to the leftovers tonight! Xo

  6. Thanks for posting this. I have made pork pie many times, but never salmon pie. Cannot wait to try this. Thanks again.

    1. I am sure you will enjoy this Excentric! It is really very good! xo

  7. This is the same recipe as my mom's ....and which I also make. The only difference is inyour crust, I only use lard , no butter... I might try it with half butter, and half lard next time. Yes it's a very good salmon pie

    1. Its a French Canadian institution Lorraine! You need to try the pastry. Its very good! xo

  8. My grandfather (Pepere) was a cook in the lumber camps in northern Ontario and Quebec. This was one of his staples, and I grew up loving it! Your recipe is almost identical. Mom used to serve it with stewed tomatoes on top. As with so many of these traditional dishes, it's even better the second day, hot or cold.

    1. I have never had it with stewed tomatoes on top Donna, but it sounds very much like something my father's family would do. They are in the Saguenay region of Quebec! Oh yes, even better the second or third day even! xoxo

  9. Friday again and time for our weekly fish dinner. I have never made a salmon pie before, but there's always a first time for everything :)

    They don't sell tinned salmon here, so I used fresh, flaked salmon. I also added some chopped blanched baby spinach (well squeezed) as I already had it and I know it goes well with salmon. I also didn't have summer savory, so I used thyme, sage, marjoram.

    We really enjoyed this. That butter-lard pastry is really good - it bakes nicely and holds its shape well, making the pie robust and easy to cut into portions. We had a salad on the side and have enough pie left for lunch tomorrow. Another winner dish - I can see why your dad likes it so much.

    1. That sounds lovely Marie. I love the addition of the spinach. This has been a favorite family meal for all of my life. I am so pleased you made the effort to make it and that it was enjoyed and I love your adaptations! Thanks so much for sharing! xoxo

  10. My mother was from Canada and when she made this pie she served it with a bechamel sauce with hard boiled eggs in the sauce. My husband loves it this way!

    1. That sounds delicious! Its really a very good pie! xo


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