Monday, December 27, 2010

Tourtiere ~ My Memere Made This

An uncomplicated Christmas eve or New Year's eve/day dinner and quite comforting, this traditional French meat pie has become a favorite in our home.  It was my French-Canadian family's annual tradition, served at different times during the holidays depending on who I was visiting. Mostly, it was served on Christmas eve after midnight mass.

While the tourtiere is a traditional pie originating in Quebec (most think so) centuries ago, there are many variations.  Some don't use potatoes, some do.  Some use breadcrumbs instead of potatoes.  Some combine pork and ground beef, or some just use ground beef and so forth.  You too can make changes to suit you.

French Meat Pie Recipe (makes two pies):

3 lbs of ground pork
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
6 medium yukon gold potatoes, skins left on (2 potatoes for every pound of pork, if you want a meatier pie, use 1 potato per pound of meat but more meat will be needed to fill the pies)
1/2 ts of cinnamon
3/4 ts of poultry seasoning
1/4 ts of nutmeg (I use freshly grated)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tbs butter, can vary depending on the size of the potatoes
Pastry for two two-crust pies (Your favorite recipe or store-bought. I used pie sheets from Immaculate Baking Co.)

Boil potatoes, whole or halved, with skins on until fork tender.  Meanwhile, saute chopped onion until translucent.  Add meat and saute until just browned.  Remove from stove, drain fat, and in a large bowl mix meat with cinnamon, poultry seasoning, and nutmeg.   When potatoes are tender, remove from water and place in a separate bowl (including the skins for more nutritional value)  and break up with a spoon adding butter, salt and pepper to taste (keeping them lumpy).   Add potatoes to meat and mix together (the potatoes should bind the mixture, but if not you can add an egg).  Lay a sheet of pastry in each pie dish.  Add equal amounts of filling to each.  Top each with another sheet of pastry.  Slit holes in top, crimp edges, and wrap with foil to protect from burning.  Heat in oven at 350 degrees until the crust is done, about 45 min.

Can be served with ketchup.  I can't explain it - it's just what my family did!

The pies can be frozen for a few months. Make extra and take one out when you're too busy too cook.

Enjoy it for breakfast as well.

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2011 update: for the version using fresh herbs and spices and homemade crust, click here.


  1. That sounds delicious! Its more a deep dish like they make in the Eastern townships. I look forward to trying this version.

  2. Really? That's good to know. I was researching but couldn't find much about the origins of the different variations. Thanks so much!