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Christmas Tourtière. Traditional French meat pie.

Christmas Tourtière. Traditional French meat pie. Christmas Eve would not be the same for many people without this flavourful herb and spice seasoned pie with a light flakey pastry crust.

Christmas Tourtière slice shown on a white and gold plate copy

Christmas Tourtière. Traditional French meat pie.

Tourtière is very much a French-Canadian tradition at Christmas, served almost universally in Quebec on Christmas Eve.

Many times the tradition is to serve the Tourtière after evening Church service on Christmas Eve. For French Canadians especially, this was one of the most anticipated meals of the year. For many it still is.

Close up overhead photo of uncut Christmas Tourtière

Christmas Tourtière. Traditional French meat pie.

The tradition also exists for many people of Acadian descent in Atlantic Canada. It continues too in the Port-au Port region on the west coast of Newfoundland where many people are of French ancestry.

Grinding pork for sausages

Coarse grind your own pork if possible.

 

For the pastry, I use the same recipe as for Butter Tarts, another Canadian Christmas tradition. I’ve updated the ingredient amounts in the pastry recipe if you plan on making leaves or other decorations for the top.

Tourtièrewas never a tradition in our family, but I have tried & tasted several different variations over the years. I’ve now come to look forward to making this hearty meat pie just before Christmas.

It’s never too late to start a new Christmas tradition.

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If you are looking for more recipes like this, we have gathered a collection of our Most Popular Christmas Recipes of the past 14 years.

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Christmas Tourtière. Traditional French meat pie.

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Christmas Tourtière slice shown on a white and gold plate copy
Yield: 8 servings

Christmas Tourtière. Traditional French meat pie.

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours

Christmas Tourtière. Traditional French meat pie. Christmas Eve would not be the same for many people without this flavourful herb and spice seasoned pie with a light flakey pastry crust.

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 3 1/3 cups flour, pastry flour is best to use but all-purpose will do
  • 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup shortening, Very cold and cut in cubes
  • 3/4 cup butter, Very cold and cut in cubes
  • 8-9 tbsp ice water, approximately, enough to bring the dough together

For the Tourtière filling

  • 2½ lbs ground pork shoulder (coarse grind if possible)
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup finely chopped cremini mushrooms (or any mushroom really)
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 tsp savoury
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme (or ½ tsp dried thyme)
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup grated raw potato
  • 1½ cups pork or chicken stock
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk

Instructions

  1. I like to make my filling the day before and chill it in the fridge overnight before adding it to the pie crust. I also grind my own pork shoulder for this recipe using a meat grinder attachment on my electric mixer. If you can’t grind your own, ask your butcher if they can coarse grind some pork shoulder for you. The coarse grind makes for a much meatier textured tourtière.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, season the ground pork with salt and pepper and brown it quickly over high heat. Drain off the excess fat and remove the meat from the pan.
  3. Add the celery, onion, garlic, and chopped mushrooms to the pot and cook until the onions are softened but not browned.
  4. Add the browned pork back to the Dutch oven along with the bay leaf, savoury, thyme, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, salt, grated potato and stock.
  5. Simmer very slowly, stirring occasionally, until practically all the liquid has disappeared from the pan. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

Preparing the crust for the Tourtière

  1. On a well-floured surface, roll out ½ of the pastry to about a 12-inch circle and fit into the bottom of a 9- to 10-inch pie plate.
  2. Roll out the top crust to about 2 inches larger than the top of your pie plate.
  3. Add the cooled filling and add the top crust, cutting a small circle out of the pastry’s center to allow steam to escape.
  4. Tuck the top crust under the bottom crust at the edges of the pie plate and crimp or flute the edges of the crust to seal.
  5. Brush with an egg wash made by whisking together 1 egg and 1 tbsp milk. (You will not use all this egg wash.)
  6. Decorate as desired by cutting shapes like leaves out of extra pastry if desired. I score the tops of the leaf shapes with the tip of a sharp knife to create the veining in the leaves. Small Christmas cookie cutters also make good pastry decorations for a tourtière.

Baking the Tourtière

  1. Chill the pie for 30 minutes before putting it into the oven. You can also prepare the entire pie a day in advance and bake it on the day you are serving it.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F and bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 250°F and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes until the crust is an even golden brown.
  3. If the edges brown too quickly, cover them with thin strips of aluminum foil.
  4. Let the tourtière rest for 20 minutes before serving.

Notes

For the pastry, I use the same recipe as for Butter Tarts, another Canadian Christmas tradition. I've updated the ingredient amounts in the pastry recipe if you plan on making leaves or other decorations for the top.

Nutrition Information

Yield

8

Serving Size

1 slice

Amount Per Serving Calories 787Total Fat 50gSaturated Fat 23gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 23gCholesterol 193mgSodium 691mgCarbohydrates 38gFiber 2gSugar 4gProtein 44g

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

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Deborah

Tuesday 22nd of March 2022

Hi, Thank you! For your wonderful traditional recipes. Where do you buy savoury and under what brand name do you prefer.

carolyn e borske

Thursday 6th of January 2022

This looks absolutely wonderful! We don't eat pork so is it possible to sub a different type of meat?

Ruth

Saturday 25th of December 2021

I normally love your recipes but did not enjoy this one at all. A lot of work for a disappointing meal.

CLETE RODOCKER

Wednesday 22nd of December 2021

GREAT RECIPE

Terry

Saturday 16th of October 2021

Hi Barry! Need your help please. In the recipe you list 1 tsp savoury. What is that? I've never heard of it. Thanks! Love your recipes.

Just FYI...in our house growing up, butter tarts weren't just a Xmas thing, they were an EVERY WEEK thing! My dad was a butter tart hound lol The recipe my mom used as a guide came from the Robin Hood Flour Cookbook, I believe copyright 1942 (mom would have been 10). I was fortunate enough to get it when she passed, smeared pages & phone # list (from the 50s) inside the back cover & all. The spine is tattered & separated from the pages so I keep it in its own bible case for protection. It's without doubt my most prized nostalgic possession as it takes me back to my childhood & family memories. Stay safe!

Lynn Parsons

Thursday 9th of December 2021

Savoury is a dried herb , also known as summer savoury. It’s a staple in Newfoundland when cooking turkey. And regarding your cookbook- always keep it safe!

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