Thursday, December 15, 2011

A French Canadian Christmas Tradition–Tourtière

Something a little savory today!


Up until I moved to Ottawa ten years ago I had never heard of Tourtière.  After hearing about it, I thought OK, meat pie.  But I was promptly corrected at every turn and was taught about this French Canadian delicacy.

Very good friends of ours made it for us at my first Christmas in Ottawa and I loved it.  In essence it is a meat pie.  There is no sauce to speak of but the mixture of spices with ground pork and veal make it a truly wonderful savory treat. 


When I asked Gail if I could share her recipe, this was her response:

“Our pleasure.  It is an authentic French-Canadian recipe from around the Quebec City area from the early 20th century at least, if not earlier.  Many members of the family make it because it is delicious and so easy.  The flavourings are also typical of old French and Italian medieval recipes when strong spices disguised the taste of meat that was going off!”

So the “going off” is a bit of a turn off, no doubt.  But rest assured this is a delicious cold evening meal, served with roasty potatoes and salad and, of course, a nice bottle of wine!  Even the girls loved it (no wine for them!) and to be honest, they don’t like much.  Our next door neighbour’s daughter was over too and she only likes rice and chicken, so when she said it was really yummy, I knew we had a winner!


  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb ground veal
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp powdered savory
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp powdered cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  1. In a large saucepan, add onions and garlic and heat through.
  2. Add remaining ingredients except for the bread crumbs and bring to boil.  Cook for 20 minutes uncovered.
  3. Do not allow the pan to go dry.
  4. Add bread crumbs and remove from the heat.  Let cool.
  5. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  6. In an already prepared uncooked pie shell, fill with the cooled meat.  Cover with pastry top and add decorative pastry cutouts for venting. 
  7. Bake at 425 F for 30 minutes or until pie crust is golden brown.
  8. Can be eaten immediately or frozen when cooled and reheated in microwave or oven.  (it was delicious for lunch the next day)
  9. Enjoy!


This truly is a wonderful and very traditional French-Canadian meal and I hope you give it a try.

Thanks for looking and thanks Gail for sharing!

(sorry about the not-so-great pictures, I haven’t mastered the art of indoor at night picture taking)


  1. NOw this is so cool, I love recipe's like this that are different and unique and have a little "story" thx for sharing.

  2. You know, I grew up in a French Canadian and Irish household. We had Tourtière every year as part of the big meal after midnight mass. My father would not have Christmas without it. Funny though, I have never made one since I left home. That is about to change this year. Saving your (Gail's) recipe with many thanks. Your's looks amazing!