In my family, it’s not Christmas without French Canadian meat pie, known as Tourtière. It’s a necessary staple for any dinner table during the holidays.
This French Canadian main course is a folk dish. Besides Tourtière there many other dishes that define the French Canadian culture such as “Ragout aux pattes de cochons”, “la tarte au sucre”, “le sucre a crème” as well as la tourtière.
There are many variations of toutière, just as is with most folk songs or stories. Passed down from generations, these songs, stories or recipes change over time and over regions.
My grandmother used to make up to 40 of these meat pies every Christmas season. We would eat all these meat pies between Christmas Eve and New Years Day. With a family as large as ours (my mom had 11 siblings) you need that many.
You can substitute the beef for your tourtière can be with 1 pound of moose meat if you have a hunter in the family. This would make it truly French Canadian.
If you do use moose meat, you might have to add more pork to the recipe to balance out the lean moose meat.
Toutière Pie Crust
We usually think of pie as a sweet dessert, but in this dish, we use the same pie crust to make it a savory main course, or it can be served as a side dish.
For the recipe below, you will need some pie pastry ready (enough for 2 shells). Use your favorite recipe. If you don’t have one, use my go-to from Canadian Living.
Without further ado, here is the recipe…
French Canadian Tourtiere
- Large Pot
- Pie Plate
- Rolling Pin
- 1 lb ground beef* You can subsitute with moose meat.
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 large white or yellow onion Use the onion whole, just peel the outer layer.
- 1 clove of garlic chopped very finely
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp dried sage
- Salt to taste
- Pepper To taste
- Place all ingredients in a large pot. The onion remains whole as you will remove it at the end of the process. It’s in the recipe for flavouring, but you don’t want any onion bits in the filling (other variations of the recipe has you chopping the onions very finely, either way it’s will taste great)
- Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes, uncovered over medium heat, stirring often to break up the meat. Remove from heat. Taste to make sure the meat is properly seasoning, add more seasoning if desired.
- Spoon meat mixture into a pie shell and cover with top pie pastry. Perforate the top shell to allow steam to escape.
- Bake in the oven at 350 F until the top is well browned (about 1 hour).
- Serve hot. It’s also traditionally eaten with a dallop of ketchup on top, for real!
What traditional foods do you enjoy during the holidays? Leave me a comment below with your answers.
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