Tourtière, also known as old fashioned pork pie or meat pie, is a traditional French-Canadian meat pie enjoyed throughout Canada, especially in Quebec. It is made from a combination of ground meat, onions, savory tourtiere spices, and baked in a traditional piecrust and served as the main dish for a meal. I am going to share the best tourtière recipe out there – my Grandma’s homemade tourtière recipe!
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Every Christmas eve for as long as I can remember we have always had a special meal: Canadian Meat Pie. This delicious Meat Pie is also called French Canadian Tourtiere. If you have never tried this old fashioned pork pie recipe you are missing out! It is a traditional Quebec dish, a meat pie made with ground pork and beef. This is not to be confused with Tourtiere lac St. Jean which is also a French meat pie, but is not made with ground meats. The key to this savoury pie is the combination of ground meats seasoned with collection of spices including ground cloves, sage and marjoram. The filling is then baked into a flaky pie crust to create a meat pie worthy of being served on Christmas Eve. And if I do say so myself this recipe beats the tourtiere meat pie recipe Canadian Living has.
Canadian Meat Pie
This easy to follow tourtiere recipe has been used in our family for generations. I learned how to make this pork and beef Tourtiere from my Grandmother. She used to make up a large batch of Tourtieres and the freeze them. They were always very popular at the church bazaar, and she would have a stash of them to give to give away if someone was ill or had lost a family member. And of course, we would enjoy this authentic tourtiere every Christmas Eve.
Traditional Christmas Meat Pie
This family tradition continued along perfectly until several years ago. As my Grandma got older she started to forget things (we didn’t know at the time it was early stage Alzheimer’s). Cooking and following a recipe became more difficult, I decided that it was time for me to learn how to make homemade Tourtiere so that I could help my Grandma in this yearly tradition. Grandma and I made Tourtiere together for a few years until she was no longer able to take part, then I took over the role of Tourtiere maker for our Christmas eve family dinners.
Tips for Making Homemade French Canadian Tourtiere Recipe
Plan ahead – I have run into a couple of situations where I have not been able to find bread crumbs or ground pork at the first grocery store I stopped into. At Christmas time it can be harder to find ground pork because it is more popular. So pick some up ahead of time and freeze it until you are ready to make your meat pies if you need to.
Preparing the onions – if you want your onions finely chopped use a food processor! Either a small “bullet” processor or a regular food processor will work. It will save you lot of time chopping and likely save you a few tears from the onions too.
Pie crust – Plan out the pie dough you will be using for the crust. Are you going to make homemade pie crust from scratch, a pie crust mix, or a frozen pre-made pie crust?
Canadian Meat Pie - French Canadian Tourtiere Recipe
- 3 lbs Lean Ground Beef
- 1 lbs Ground Pork
- 3 Medium Onions
- 1/2 tsp Sage
- 3/4 tsp Ground Cloves
- 3/4 tsp Pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp Marjoram
- 1 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 cup Hot Water
- 1-2 cups of Bread Crumbs
- 4 Pastry crusts top and bottom
- In a large pot cook Ground Beef and Ground Pork over medium low heat
- Once cooked you can drain the excess liquid (I like to remove the extra fat)
- Mix in Onions, Cloves, Pepper, Marjoram, and Salt
- Add Hot water (reduce volume if you did not drain meat in step 2)
- Add in bread crumbs a little at a time until most of the liquid as been absorbed, for me this is usually around 1 cup of crumbs.
- Simmer on low for 15-20 min, then allow meat mixture to cool (Can put in the fridge to speed up the process). The meat mixture should not be runny.
- Divide meat mixture into the 4 pastry crusts bottoms, and cover with top layer of pastry. Poke holes to allow for venting.
- Use foil to cover edges of of the pie crust to prevent burning
- Bake at 350 for 45 mins or until heated through and crust is golden brown. Remove foil for last 10 minutes of baking to brown edges
If you prefer medium ground beef feel free to use that as well. My Grandma liked to use some medium ground beef in the recipe, whereas I use lean or extra-lean ground beef depending on what I have on hand. This traditional Quebec Meat Pie is sure to become a family favourite at your house too.
Can you Freeze Tourtière – Canadian Meat Pie
YES!!! These Canadian French Meat Pies freeze up beautifully. I make mine in 9 inch foil pie plates, once assembled I put them into large ziploc bags before baking and freeze. This tourtiere recipe tastes just as good if the meat pies have been frozen as if they are baked fresh. To cook once frozen thaw in the fridge for 24-48 hours and bake as directed above from thawed. You can bake from frozen as well but keep the top crust covered with foil so the crust does not burn while the pie is cooking, and adjust the cooking time to 1 hour 45 minutes or until heated through. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes to brown the crust. Make up some extra pies and share this recipe for French Canadian meat pie with friends, you will be sure to hear a chorus of thank yous to follow.
What to Serve with Tourtière?
Now that you have your main dish of the best Tourtiere recipe ever all set what will you be serving with it? Here are some of our family favourite side dishes that go great with Tourtiere and are perfect for any meal including Christmas Eve
- Gravy – Make your own or buy canned beef gravy to serve with your tourtiere. Gravy is a must, I don’t each gravy on any other meat, but it pairs perfectly with meat pie. But hey if you hate gravy there is always ketchup.
- Potatoes – This is the second must have when it comes to Tourtiere. Personally I think mashed potatoes are your best bet for a side dish with Tourtiere. The creamy texture is a perfect complement to the pork pie and you can use the gravy on the Tourtiere and the mashed potatoes.
- Carrots – A staple side dish that everyone loves. Cooked carrots don’t have to be boring. Mix it up by trying Maple Glazed Carrots for a twist on a classic veggie.
- Brussels Sprouts – Don’t forget to include your greens in your Tourtiere dinner. There are so many ways to enjoy Brussels Sprouts – roasted, steamed, grilled. Give these Maple Bacon Brussels Sprout a try, because bacon makes everything better!
You know when December rolls around I will be making Tourtiere. It is a good idea to make a double batch and freeze the extra pies for busy nights when you are too busy to cook. This is the best tourtiere recipe out there and has been passed through generations in our family. It is tried and tested, and I am sure you will enjoy it as well! What are you favourite French Canadian Recipes? Do you have any other favourite holiday meat pie recipes?