Traditional Christmas Tourtière Recipe


This traditional tourtière recipe makes it easy to bring this classic French-Canadian Christmas meat pie to the dinner table at Christmas or any time of year. #tourtiere #tourtiererecipe #meatpie #christmaspieTourtière is a traditional French Canadian meat pie that’s made only at Christmas time, but this tourtière recipe is good enough to enjoy all year long!

According to this article by Food Network Canada, tourtière can be traced back to 17th century Québec. French settlers would attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve and then celebrate afterwards with a late-night feast called a réveillon, which featured a table overflowing with indulgences of all sorts.

One of these indulgences was tourtière, a pie traditionally served in a cast-iron cauldron and stuffed with cubed meats, including wild game like rabbit, pheasant, or moose meat. So it’s sort of a special treat, reserved for a special time of year. In fact, the first time I ever made tourtière was at Christmas time a few years ago, and it was like a three or four-day affair. I’d only recently learned to cook for myself and was enthralled with this idea of cooking from scratch and being able to create something out of nothing with just my own two hands. But I was still learning the basics of cooking and baking, so taking on a traditional homemade meat pie for Christmas was a BIG deal.

I can’t find the specific tourtière recipe I was using anymore, but I remember it felt like it was such an ordeal. I had to make the crust and refrigerate it overnight. Then I had to make the filling and the recipe I was following said it needed to cook it and then chill overnight too. But because I was so preoccupied with getting the crust just right, I didn’t read the directions for the filling until the next day. So I had to wait a whole other day for the filling to be ready. And then there was assembly and bake time…

It was honestly just my inexperience that made it take so long. But nevertheless, it seemed like an awful lot of time and effort for one dish. Especially when I was still pretty used to opening up a freezer meal, tossing it in the microwave for a couple minutes and calling it good. I had to check every ingredient and every step about a million times because I had no idea what I was doing. I think I had made maybe one other pie crust before in my life. So I just remember spending days planning and preparing this pie.This traditional tourtière recipe makes it easy to bring this classic French-Canadian Christmas meat pie to the dinner table at Christmas or any time of year. #tourtiere #tourtiererecipe #meatpie #christmaspie

But still, there was a sense of pride that I got from pulling off a homemade pie (of any kind) at that point in my life. To be honest, I STILL get that same sense of pride from the cooking and baking (and growing and creating…) And it made all of the time and effort worth it;)

Luckily as my kitchen skills have improved, cooking and pie-baking has become much easier (and the process now goes a lot quicker too). So this year when I attempted tourtière again, it was actually a pretty simple, straightforward process.

Making the perfect pie crust

The key to a good tourtière (or any pie for that matter) is to start with a good crust. Because it doesn’t matter how good the filing is, if your crust is too tough or too soggy it ruins the whole pie. I always start with this recipe for perfect, flaky pie crust and it never fails me.

I like to use lard in place of butter for this pie because I just love the extra flaky texture it give this crust, but butter works just as well. You can make your crust in advance (either make it the night before you plan on baking and put it in the fridge, or keep in the fridge for up to three days, or you can even make your crust ahead and freeze it for up to three months and put it in the fridge to thaw the night before baking day). OR you can make it the same day and just pop it in the fridge to chill for an hour or so while you make your filling.

This traditional tourtière recipe makes it easy to bring this classic French-Canadian Christmas meat pie to the dinner table at Christmas or any time of year. #tourtiere #tourtiererecipe #meatpie #christmaspie

 

Regional filling variations

The basic filling for a classic tourtière consists of a mixture of ground pork, ground beef, potatoes, onions, garlic and spices, namely cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice, as well as salt and pepper of course. (Can you smell Christmas wafting from the oven yet??) This tourtière recipe also calls for dried thyme, sage and ground ginger. I even like to put about ¼ cup of pure maple syrup in with my meat filling, but this is totally optional.

There are, however, many variations of tourtière that exist. Different regions of French Canada (including Québec and the Maritimes) would make their filling based on what was available locally. Some rural regions favoured wild game meat while coastal regions used seafood. Other regions used cubed meat instead of ground. But in Montreal, it was ground pork and ground beef or veal that made a true tourtière.

Of course, since its invention, many chefs and home cooks have put their own spin on this classic dish. Some add vegetables like carrots and celery to their tourtière recipe. Others have even made their pies into spring rolls or phyllo pastries. For the purposes of authenticity, I’ve stuck as close to the traditional tourtière recipe as possible. And because, quite honestly, it’s damn delicious just the way it is.

This traditional tourtière recipe makes it easy to bring this classic French-Canadian Christmas meat pie to the dinner table at Christmas or any time of year. #tourtiere #tourtiererecipe #meatpie #christmaspie

 

How to make traditional tourtière

 

Filling

To make your filling, first start by peeling a large potato, then cut it into large chunks and placing it in a pot of boiling water. While it’s boiling, melt a knob of butter in your pan (I love using my cast iron pan for this). Then sauté up your onions and garlic and throw in one pound (or slightly more) each of ground pork and ground beef. Brown your meat for a minute or two and then add in your spice mixture, which consists of the following herbs and spices:

  • Two teaspoons salt
  • One teaspoon dried thyme
  • One teaspoon dried sage
  • One teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground clove
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Stir in your spice mix well, making sure to coat all of the meat. While you’re cooking your meats, make sure to mix them together well and break them up as best you can. You don’t want lumps and clumps of meat. You want the filling to be almost paste-like if possible.

Once your potato is cooked and soft enough to mash (check with a fork), scoop ½ cup of the potato water out of the pot and add it to the ground meat mixture. The starch from the potato water will help the meat bind together. Strain the rest of the potatoes and mash them in a pot with another teaspoon of salt and set aside. Let the meat filling cook on medium, stirring occasionally for about half an hour or until all of the liquid has evaporated from the pie filling. Then add in the mashed potato and mix everything together really well to combine. Turn off the heat and let your filling cool for about 45 minutes (or place in the fridge and cool overnight).

 

Assembly

While the filling is cooling, roll out your pie crust and prepare your bottom crust in a 9-inch pie plate. A 9 or 10-inch cast iron pan is another good option. Spoon the cooled meat filling into your bottom crust. Then roll out your top crust and place on top. Make sure there’s at least one hole in the top of the crust through which steam can escape. I like to cut a small star into the middle of my tourtière with a small star-shaped cookie cutter. Then place in the oven and bake at 375ºF (190ºC) for one hour. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.

 

Bringing Christmas to the table, any time of year

This pie is delicious with a little homemade cranberry sauce on the side, or my personal favourite, homemade apple rhubarb chutney. The best part is, even though this is a special dish that’s typically reserved for a special time of year, it really doesn’t take too much time or energy to actually make one of these bad boys from scratch. In fact, I made one on an ordinary Monday. And I made another one on Tuesday to test my recipe (and I’m happy to say it came out excellent both times!), so you don’t have to wait for Christmas to enjoy this tourtière recipe, and you don’t need to spend days making it like I did the first time around;) 

I do, however, think there’s something to be said for waiting until after midnight on Christmas Eve to dig in that makes this meat pie all the more special. And that, along with the delicious, spiced meat filling and perfect flaky crust, is what makes this tourtière recipe something to look forward to (and drool over) all year long.

This traditional tourtière recipe makes it easy to bring this classic French-Canadian Christmas meat pie to the dinner table at Christmas or any time of year. #tourtiere #tourtiererecipe #meatpie #christmaspie

Traditional Christmas Tourtière Recipe

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • Flaky pie crust
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1 large onion, diced small
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. salt (+ ½ tsp. for the mashed potatoes)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. ground allspice
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 egg + 1 Tbsp. water for egg wash

Instructions

  1. Make your pie crust. Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour before rolling out.
  2. Place potato quarters in a pot with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium high until cooked through (10 to 15 minutes). Reserve ½ cup of potato cooking water, strain potatoes and return them to the pot. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and mash potatoes with a potato masher.
  3. Melt butter in a large skillet and add diced onions. Cook onions for a few minutes until they’re translucent and starting to brown. Add chopped garlic and mix well.
  4. Add ground beef and ground pork and brown for a couple minutes. Then add salt, pepper, dried herbs and spices and mix well to combine.
  5. Add the ½ cup of reserved potato water and stir everything together to combine.
  6. Cook the meat filling over medium heat for about half an hour or until excess liquid has evaporated.
  7. Add in mashed potato and stir well to combine. Meat filling should be thick and almost paste-like, so break down any large chunks. Let filling cool while you prepare your crust and preheat the oven.
  8. Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Cut your pie crust in half and shape one half into a disc. Generously flour your surface or countertop as well as a rolling pin and roll out your crust to fit a 9” pie pan. Place your bottom crust into the pie pan and get ready to add your filling.
  9. Spoon the meat filling into the bottom pie crust. Then roll out the other half of your pie crust and place on top. (Make sure to cut a hole or slits in the middle of the pie crust so that steam can escape). Crimp the edge of the pie crust and brush with egg wash.
  10. Bake pie for one hour, then remove from the oven and let cool. Alternatively, place unbaked pie in the freezer and bake from frozen later (just add an extra 15-20 minutes to your baking time).

 


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4 Comments

  1. Andre Lamothe

    There are various tourtieres variations such as the Lac-St-Jean.
    But the Cipaille or Cipate variations are noteworthy.
    Anyway my Christmas Réveillon always has a form of tourtière, a ragout de boulettes and as accompaniement some pickled beets, and what we know as fruit ketchup but is also known as chow-chow.
    And the desserts…

    Reply
  2. Lorie

    I have been making this for a few years now- it’s wonderful on a cold winter’s night for supper. So glad to see the recipe shared!

    Reply
  3. Cathi Ogden

    My grandmother and aunt used to make this for dinner. It was served warm with a slice of cheese under the top crust. Thank you for the recipe. My family never passed it down. Now I can fix it for my family.

    Reply
  4. MARIE ANNE

    Tortiere is delicious on a cold winter’s day. It’s a seasonal favorite at our house. We also use beef and pork, but venison, squirrel, or just about any meat can be used. Sometimes, we will also use some creton to mix in if we don’t have enough ground pork. Creton is kind of a pork pate that we spread on warm toast for breakfast. Another seasonal favorite of ours.

    Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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I grew up in Vancouver and had pretty much zero experience homesteading before my husband, Ryan and I decided we wanted to escape the rat race, become less dependent on the modern industrial food system (and all modern industrialized systems), and dove head first into this lifestyle around a decade ago.

We packed up and moved to Vancouver Island where we live now, started our first garden, and the rest is pretty much history.

(Well, actually that’s not true… There have been A LOT of ups and downs, successes and failures, wins and losses, struggles, challenges and pivotal moments along the way, but those are stories for another day).

Over the past few years, our decision to follow a less conventional path that aims to break free (at least in some part) from “the system” has been affirmed over and over again. We all know for a fact now that our food system, healthcare system, financial system, transportation system and so much more are all really just a house of cards built on shaky ground. We’ve been lucky so far, but sooner or later it’s all liable to collapse.

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I’m all about practical gifts; Gifts that will truly make life easier and contribute to my and my family’s wellbeing. And our family includes our animals!

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Automating our homesteading tasks as much as possible allows us to worry about other things and saves us a ton of time. Plus, it makes sure that things get taken care of, whether we remember or not.

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Yes, you read that right…

Modern Homesteading Magazine is coming to an end.

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If you’ve been watching events unfold over the past few years and you’re feeling called to start “cutting ties” with the system and begin reclaiming your independence, The Society of Self-Reliance was made for you!

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Got out for an early morning harvest today. Been up since 3am, contemplating life, the future and the past, the order of things…

There is a rumbling right now, not just in North America, but around the world. Many of us can feel it, and know we are on the precipice of something big.

I’d been hearing about this new song that’s become an overnight viral sensation, written by an (until now) unknown singer named Oliver Anthony. His new song Rich Men North of Richmond has had 14 million views on YouTube in the past week alone, so I decided to check it out.

I also saw a clip of him playing a Farmers Market last week, and anything that has to do with Farmers Markets always has my attention;)

I can’t tell you how many tears I’ve already cried listening to that song. If you’ve heard it already, you probably know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, I highly recommend giving it a listen. All I can say is it’s been a while since a song resonated so deeply with me, and in this strange new world, I know I’m not the only one.

One of the lines in Anthony’s song is “Livin’ in the new world, with an old soul,” and that’s something I think so many of us in the homesteading community can relate to.

Trying to cling to better days; To a simpler time; To the old ways, all while doing our best to get by in the new world.

The world has changed drastically in the last few years especially, and it’s set to change in immense ways over the next few years. Today I’m feeling thankful for people like @oliver_anthony_music_ who give a voice to what so many are feeling right now.

Know that if you’re feeling it too, you’re far from alone. And while the future may feel uncertain and even a little scary, remember that if we stand united, we the people are a force to be reckoned with.

(Continued in comments…)
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Another garlic harvest in the books!

Garlic is easily one of my favourite crops to grow. It’s pretty much a “set if and forget it” crop. We plant in the fall and leave it to overwinter, fertilize a couple times in the spring, start watering only once the ground starts to dry out, and then harvest in the summer. We can even plant a fall succession crop after our garlic if we want so it really makes great use of garden space all year round.

Over the years we’ve managed to become completely self-sufficient with garlic. We now grow enough to eat all year (and then some!), plus we save our own seed garlic and usually have extra to sell or give away. And around here fresh, organic garlic ain’t cheap, so it’s a good cash crop for anyone who’s serious about selling it.

It took me a few years to really get the hang of garlic, but it’s one crop I’m now very confident with (knock on wood, because it’s always when we make statements like this that next year’s crop fails! Lol.)

A while back I compiled a comprehensive guide to growing, harvesting and using garlic both as an edible and medicinal crop. This is usually only available as part of a paid bundle (or in the fall 2022 issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine if you’re a subscriber;), but for a limited time I’m offering it for free, no strings attached!

Plus you’ll also get access to my step-by-step video lesson on planting garlic so you can set yourself up for success with your garlic crop this year.

Comment “Garlic” below or head to thehouseandhomestead.com/garlic-guide to get your free copy!
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#garlic #garlicharvest #homesteading #selfsufficient #selfsufficiency #selfsufficientliving #selfreliance #homegrown #groworganic #growfoodnotlawns #gardenersofinstagram #homesteadersofinstagram
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Going through photos and videos from our trip to the @modernhomesteadingconference and the vast majority are of our daughter having the time of her life!

Even if I personally got nothing else out of this gathering (which I most certainly did), watching her discover her own love of this lifestyle outside of what we do at home made my heart grow three sizes!

Homesteading is about so much more than homegrown food and self-reliance. It’s about passing on invaluable skills and an understanding of and respect for our connection to the land that provides for us to the next generation.

Being around so many other kids and families who are also pursuing a homesteading lifestyle helped show our little one that this is a movement that is so much bigger and greater than what our own family does on our little plot of land. This is a lifestyle worth pursuing, with a community unlike any other.

Glad to be back home and more excited than ever to involve my kids in everything we’re doing. But also, I think I speak for my whole family when I say we can’t wait to go back someday!
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#homesteading #modernhomesteading #raisinglittles
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If you’re simply looking for ways to save a little extra cash this summer and live well for less, here are 12 tried and tested frugal living tips for summer that you can use to save money this season without sacrificing a thing.
Head over using the link in my bio!
https://thehouseandhomestead.com/12-frugal-living-tips-summer/
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#houseandhomestead
#momentsofcalm
#pursuejoy
#simplepleasuresoflife
#thatauthenticfeeling
#findhappiness
#artofslowliving
#simplelifepleasures
#lifesimplepleasure
#simplepleasuresinlife
#thatauthenticlife
#authenticlifestyle
#liveanauthenticlife
#livinginspired
#savouringhappiness
#livemoment
#localgoodness
#simplelive
#lifeouthere
#enjoywhatyouhave
#frugallifestyle
#homesteadingmama
#offgridhomestead
#modernfarmhousekitchen
#crunchymama
#rusticfarmhouse
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#farmhouselife
#modernhomesteading
#backyardfarmer
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