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Tourtiere, a Quebec specialty - Meat Pie (recipe)

All this talk about ground pork and about chicken stock got me to bring out my favorite tourtiere recipe, for which I've made the pie dough and will finish cooking the whole thing tonight. I doubled the recipe because it 'disappears' fast! In case anyone else wants to try it, here it is:

Make dough for double crust pie, chill, wrapped, for 1 hour
1 onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 lb. ground pork
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup chicken stock (I use homemade)
1/2 teasp. salt
1/2 teasp. thyme
1/4 teasp. ground allspice
1 bay leaf
2 Tablespoons fresh bread crumbs (I use dry)

In a saucepan cook onion & celery in butter over mod. heat, stirring frequently, for 4 mins. Add garlic and cook the mix for 2 mins. Add the pork and cook stirring until pork changes color. Add the chicken stock, the thyme, salt, allspice and bay leaf and simmer the mixture, covered, for 30 mins. Let it cool and stir in breadcrumbs.

Roll ball of dough into 9-inch round,fit it into a 7-inch pie plate & spoon pork mixture into it. Roll smaller ball of dought into 7.5 inch round and lay on top of the filling. Press edges together to seal pie and trim excess dough. Make a 1/2 inch X in the center, brush dought with egg glaze (1 egg, beaten with 2 Tablesp. cream) and bake the tourtiere in the lower third of a preheated oven (425 degrees F) for 10 mins. Reduce heat to moderately hot (375 degrees F), transfer the tourtiere to the middle of the oven and bake it for 25 mins. more, or until crust is golden.

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  1. Thanks for the recipe. My mother used to make this sometimes, learned fromn her French-Canadian mother. We used to call it "tout-care" pie, hah!

    1. Thanks for the memories. Tortiere was one of the first things I ever made (in high school) and the recipe came from watching Graham Kerr's show, the Galloping Gourmet. I was watching this in Canada before I had even heard of Julia Child. Kerr's recipe used water instead of stock or wine but poured in out of a wine bottle to keep up appearances.

      1 Reply
      1. re: gourmaniac

        There are many traditional variations on tourtière, using game meats, such as la tourtière du Saguenay (ou du Lac-Saint-Jean), made of diced (not minced) meats and diced potatoes, with onions of course. And nowadays there are many tourtières featuring meats other than pork, for non-pork eaters or people who want a lighter meal.

        There are also surprisingly successful vegetarian tourtières based on millet, seitan, or "fake meats" like the popular Yves Veggie line. Something I often serve as a veggie option, for a winter meal.

      2. Thanks for that recipe... Is there a traditional way to serve it? Hot or cold? Is there anything usually served with it?

        25 Replies
        1. re: gido

          My in-laws (French Canadians) eat it with ketchup. go figure.

          1. re: manya7

            Actual ketchup or chow-chow, aka green tomato "ketchup"? We've always used the latter, and I assumed it was the traditional tourtière condiment.

            1. re: piccola

              French Canadian here. We always ate it with Heinz ketchup but I could easily see "Ketchup maison" (homemade ketchup) being used.

              We used to eat it hot.

              1. re: CaptCrunch

                Where are you from, CaptCrunch? I don't know anyone in Québec who eats it with Heinz-type ketchup, but obviously I know a tiny subset of the Québec population and French-speakers elsewhere in Canada. My francophone friends in Ottawa use homemade-type chowchows and such as well.

                1. re: lagatta

                  I'm from Montreal, originally from the south shore.

                  We ate paté chinois with ketchup too and highlighner fishsticks with a mix of mayo and ketchup. Mind you, I was a kid in the 80s so this wasn't the glamour years for cooking.

                  My mother would make the weekday Tourtière. It would be a pretty thin affair, made mostly from ground pork if I remember correctly and would most probably come from an adaptation of a recipe in the Jehane Benoit cookbook (she was our Julia Child and my mother's generation used that big fat book often... the pages were bent and the pages corrected from decades of use).

                  The Christmas holidays would be something else however and we'd always have an aunt or another member of the family whip up their "special" Tourtière recipe.

                  We didn't use homemade ketchup at home. My memories of homemade ketchup are the same category as fruitcake. The uncle would give a "Lions club fruitcake" and the aunt (always the one with the most time on her hands) would distribute her "homemade ketchup", usually pretending she got the recipe from a talking holy burning bush..

                  1. re: CaptCrunch

                    Same here on the different styles for the different time of year. A normal tourtiere the rest of the year would be ground pork/beef combo, but the Christmas holiday tourtiere was actually made from a combination of shredded roast pork and beef. Totally different.

                    And we used either Heinz-style or homemade.

                    1. re: CaptCrunch

                      Our Jehane Benoit book is cherished. My mother-in-law made many meals from that book. French Canadian cooking is very good.

              2. re: manya7

                My Grandmother served it with her homemade chili sauce (not chow-chow), so sort of a vinegary ketchup. It cuts the richness of the tortiere (her recipe had ground veal, pork and beef - lard crust - and one of these days I'll dig it up and make it). If I'm eating commercial frozen tortiere and I don't have chili sauce I will eat a dill pickle with it.

                1. re: julesrules

                  I could totally see it with a good spicy/vinegary condiment, like those pickled hot peppers. Even the veggie version (which is what I eat).

                  Something to look forward to at Xmas...

                2. re: manya7

                  We have always had it with good gravy and crispy fresh frites, but we're from NY State. Only 15 minutes to the Quebec border, but frites, gravy and peas always seem perfect. Our favorite for Christmas Eve.

                  1. re: Candy

                    Candy, I like your idea of frites and a good rich gravy plus we LOVE peas in this house! I'll make it (again) Wednesday as that's my day to buy meat at the market.
                    I'll be buying Rhubarb too so I can make the rhubarb ketchup from


                    1. re: iL Divo

                      If you are a pea-loving household, have you tried this Italian way---cooked peas mixed half-and-half with cooked rice and served with a lot of grated Parmesan cheese?

                      1. re: Querencia

                        no I haven't and I'm way late at seeing this, sorry.
                        so cook peas drain add 1/2&1/2, cook rice, mix the two, lots of parm cheese. that could be my entire meal. TFS

                  2. re: manya7

                    Traditionally it's *ketchup maison*, homemade ketchup that bares little resemblance to American store-bought ketchups like Heinz's. It comes in a jar; is loose, chunky and watery (similar to salsa); sweet; vinegary; and redolent of sweet spices.

                  3. re: gido

                    lagatta, great that you reminded me of the vegetarian tourtieres too. I've got to look up some recipes for that - do you have any that you like/use, by chance?
                    gido, It's served so many ways. You could have it as part of a brunch for example, with baked beans, ham etc. Here it's often served along with other offerings at holiday turkey dinners. I'd serve it warm, keeping the crust a nice texture (in other words I'd avoid heating it in a microwave). Myself, I'd eat it with any(or all) of these: baked beans, mashed potatoes, &/or a salad if I'm eating it at lunch. And I do make it at Christmas, to serve along with roast turkey. At times, I've made several & have frozen a couple of them, ready for the final baking another day; a great time saver!

                    1. re: morebubbles

                      I'll have to remember exactly what I put in the veg tourtière. I've had luck using some Yves fake ground meat, but I also add vegetables as I don't like the fake meat taste to dominate. Mushrooms, sautéed in red wine, are a nice touch. Onions are mandatory. Personally, I do like to bind tourtière with a bit of grated or mashed potato (or other root vegetable), but that is a bone of contention among tourtière makers.

                      One that was very successful featured some St-Ambroise oatmeal stout as the liquid...

                      For meat eaters, I make a lovely one from venison. You do have to add a bit of fattier meat, or some other fat or oil,

                      As for the ketchup, I think it depends on the family, the region, the mileu. Tourtière "ketchup" for me is a kind of relish, made from tomato or various fruits - and typically best bought at autumnal church bazaars.

                      1. re: lagatta

                        hi, my family is from the three rivers area and we used to eat what my grandmother (and everybody else in watertown, ct) called PUTSINS....they are dumplings with ground meat, cinnimon, nutmeg, and cloves...in a great gravy made from the broth of many different meats boiling for hours together.....they are the best....but i can't find anything about them on the internet.......have you heard of them?

                        1. re: redsoxmama

                          Your description makes me think of "ragout de boulettes", a stew of meatballs made in a thick pork gravy, but the word "putsin" with the word "dumpling" makes me think of "poutine râpée", an Acadian recipe made of ground meat stuffed potato dumplings. Does any of those two ring a bell?

                          1. re: redsoxmama

                            I know that "soon" I want to do a gravy like you described.
                            a pot on the stove for a week being added to with dinner vegs and various meat scraps/bones + liquid day by day simmering away slowly. at the end of the week full of flavor.

                            And I do remember those little bundles of goodness-heard about them somewhere, online, magazine, TV...can't remember.

                          2. re: lagatta

                            i find the whole relish on tortiere wierd...but a vegetarian version...i did side by each my pork based and with yves ground round...did pretty much everything the same...the end of the day yves was chewy...so i just took two thirds of it ...minced it in my blender stirred in the last third...and it was so close to a "traditional" meat pie

                        2. re: gido

                          Regular ketchup is traditional and you absolutely have to eat pickled beets with tourtière !

                          1. re: gido

                            Mémé always served it (after midnight Mass on Chrismas eve) at room temperature or warmed, with fresh cranberry sauce and dill pickles. I see after looking at other replies that these are apparently not the usual accompaniments. :-) On the other hand, the theme in general seems to be something vinegary or tart to cut the richness of the pie.

                            1. re: alyciamarie

                              Oh, I'm glad you started this up again in time for ""Les Fêtes". Any new recipes you've found?

                              1. re: lagatta

                                When the wife makes a batch (usually about 20 pies at holiday time), I'll shanghai two before baking. I add cayenne to one, making a "hot" pie and cretons seasonings to another, a cretons pie. Not quite traditional, but very tasty indeed.

                            2. re: gido

                              Yes, you serve it hot and put ketchup on in or you can serve it with gravy on top. But mostly Ketchup. And it can be made with 1/3 pork and 2/3 ground beef. You can also add crused garlic to it. Very good.

                            3. I just busted out my families recipie with a few small twists. I added 30% ground turkey to the ground pork. It makes it a little lighter. I also used water and 2 tablespoons of salted butter instead of stock. I also add cinimmon, nutmeg and sage to the mix. The extra herbs and spices really kick up the flavor a little. The sage is a hint from my french relatives.

                              Also I made it in tart sized pans so that each one is a nice individual size. They are easy to keep and easy to reheat this way.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jdean1

                                I had tourtiere in the Red Shoe Pub in Mabou on Cape Breton Island a few weeks ago. It had a nice, allspice flavor to it.

                              2. My grandmother used to make this (she lived in central Maine and called it "toochie" pie) and would add about a cup of mashed potatoes to it. It's great in the winter- one of my favorites!

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: kelseyfrost

                                  Yup, my Maine family calls it "toochie" too.

                                  We use 3/4 lb. lean ground pork, 3/4 lb. lean ground round, and allspice -- but no other spices. No garlic. I was taught to boil the meat and one very finely chopped onion with 1/2 c. water in a pot for about 2 hours, until the meat is, well, grey. Boil 2 potatoes, peeled and diced, separately. When they're soft, skim the fat off the meat mixture, add the potatoes, and mash it all together with a potato masher. Add salt and allspice, some pepper, then spread the mixture in a crust-lined plate, add top crust, brush with egg wash, and bake for about 20-25 mins. until golden.

                                  Even better the next day. I do like it cold and with ketchup.

                                  1. re: lobsterfest

                                    Funny how you say 'until the meat is, well, grey.'
                                    My mother-in-law frequently complained how my wife's meat pie (we don't call it 'tortiere') was pinkish. "The meat's not cooked"
                                    "But ma, it boiled for 2 hours, how can't it be cooked?"
                                    "I don't know, but it ain't cooked..."
                                    I paid more attention to her technique - she was adding salt to the pork/water mix immediately, the pork was still raw and the water cold. In the time it took to come to a boil, the ground pork had been slightly cured by the salt, retaining a pinkish color.

                                    Afterwards, she only salted at the end of the cooking process. Mother-in-law was happy, no longer eating 'raw' meat pies. HAHA
                                    She needed that 'greyness', simple as that.

                                    1. re: porker

                                      Yeah till the meat is grey or gray,,,my family tradional tortiere is pork water salt and cloves.....no potato no veggies just very simple,,,but the colour is wierdly the key

                                    2. re: lobsterfest

                                      Yup... my family is from Quebec and this is exactly how I remember my aunt making it, and how I make it now too!! She left the potatoes cubed in the pie though,and so of course since this is how I first had it when I was young, this is how I prefer it now. We would have it hot for dinner with some gravy (although it didn't need it, IMO), and then cold with ketchup in the morning with our coffee. I MUST make it again this year, per request of my younger son who's asked me to write out the recipe for his wife. And the tradition goes on... (smile)

                                  2. As all this back-and-forth makes clear, it can't be stressed enough just how variable tourtiere ingredients can be. I heard an interview with a French Canadian food expert who, when the host finally asked, "So, which is the best tourtiere?," replied, "The one your mother made." The New York Times ran a lovely, mellow recipe a few years ago (no potatoes, just like the ones I grew up with and prefer). You may enjoy listening to this radio piece from a while back:


                                    By the way, if you can drum up a batch of Quebec rhubarb ketchup, it can make a nice accompaniment--I think so, anyway. Eat hearty.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Barry Foy

                                      Mango chutney, yum. And ditto on the beets!

                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                          That sounds wonderful! In the spirit of what carswell and I had spoken of.

                                          This also reminds me of chutney. This is subtle and mild, but people who like heat could also kick it up a bit. Thanks.

                                          1. re: lagatta

                                            lag-yep but yesterday in my 3 markets attempted no rhubarb in any form so can't make it until I find rhubarb. I will make it eventually-not the tourtière which I'll do tonight but the rhubarb. being in Newfolden Minnesota late September wish I'd have grabbed a few stalks of rhubarb out of cousins backyard-dang. have bought it before in produce section here in southern Calif but produce guy said he has no idea why he's not received rhubarb yet. Oh yeah!

                                      1. Well, I am on the second time making this as the first time was a hit, despite my not having ingredients and having to improvise. The first time was with a bisquick crust, and now I'm onto an olive oil crust. Also had to swap the stock this time, but the main flavors/ingredients are all there. I'm in Nantucket, and even though it is May already it is cold and wet outside! Feel like spring is never coming. So glad you posted this recipe for people to enjoy for years to come!

                                        1. Great recipe! Ma mere adds cinnamon.

                                          1. My friend from Montreal said to use game meat as a mix with
                                            the ground pork. I have ground bison and will use that along
                                            with a mix of shredded carrots and diced celery. This is accord-
                                            ing to one recipe. From my research the recipes are as varied
                                            as the cooks that produce them - as are the sides and

                                            9 Replies
                                            1. re: Johnny West

                                              great thread! I made this for the first time and it turned out great! I used ground bison & pork. Thanks!

                                              1. re: Johnny West

                                                Bison or deer both make very tasty tourtières - and the deer brings it back to the game tourtières made up in the Saguenay/Lac-St-Jean regions, but you do have to add a bit of fattier meat such as pork. I've had caribou tourtière. Yum.

                                                Duck tourtières have become fairly popular, and rich duck meat needs no porky addition. We are having one tonight (I'm not making it this year).

                                                1. re: lagatta

                                                  lagatta, I was fascinated to learn that the original tourtiere recipe was passenger pigeon (I kind of live in Quebec, but am not francophone, so did not ever consider the root of the name).
                                                  Mrs porker is making a thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. She already made 9 meat pies (our "traditional" is pork hash and potato).
                                                  Hiowever, I bought duck today (inspired by your post and the original fowl-based tourtiere)and will make a filling with it tomorrow. The wife will make the pie.
                                                  Can you share your recipe for the filling?

                                                  1. re: porker

                                                    I don't really have a written recipe - my neighbour downstairs made one last year, braising the duck in a bit of liquid (I used a small bottle of dry cider). I browned the duck on all sides first. I'm adding in sautéed red onions, probably a bit of potato and some parsley root (since I happen to have that). Friend said to add in some lardons.

                                                    The spices are pretty much the same as the pork one, though I add in some favourite aromatic spices, such as cardamom, and I'll put in some shallots.

                                                    There are quite a few hits on google for "duck tourtière" and "tourtière de canard". Your hunches are as good as mine. What I'm pondering is my crust recipe as oddly, my duck didn't produce as much fat as I thought it would. There isn't even quite a cup, and normally a braised duck would produce more than that. So I'm wondering what to do - buy more duck fat, or mix in some other fat?

                                                    As for the duck meat, a pleasant feature is how it makes feathery filaments, that give a lot of character to the tourtière.

                                                    I'm sure tourtières have many origins. http://nature.ca/notebooks/english/pa... (switch to French, and its "tourte) but such savoury pies were common in Europe at least from the Middle ages.

                                                    1. re: lagatta

                                                      Thanks for your reply.
                                                      I will look at a few web recipes for idears. Right now, I'm thinking of using a red wine braise. The crust will be conventional lard/flour/salt/H20/scant vinegar sans duck fat.
                                                      I'll let you know how it comes out.

                                                      1. re: porker

                                                        So I chopped up some lardons and crisped/melted them. Removed and seared duck (rendered more fat than the lardons), removed. Added chopped onion/shallot, cooked until soft, added ~1oz brandy (a salute to the couriers de bois), ~1C red wine (a salute to my dad), duck, lardons, chicken broth (not enough duck to make a broth), 3 pinch ground clove, 2 pinch each cinnamon, sage, 1 pinch allspice and cardamon.
                                                        Its braising now. The broth smells and tastes great.
                                                        I'm thinking of adding a potato small diced, and maybe thickening later with a browned (we call burnt) flour.
                                                        Mrs Porker is being cagey today. She said she ain't making the pie dough...she'll show me how instead....

                                                        1. re: porker

                                                          I used dry Québec cider, but red wine is always good in a braise!

                                                          I did the thickening with the farine grillée (browned or burnt flour) and have added not only some small diced potato, but a larger quantity of cooked, very small diced and browned with the red onions parsley root - a seasonal treat from the Jean-Talon market - they are parsley with a larger root than leaf, sort of like celeriac as compared to branch celery. I finally bought some lardons too, as I don't anticipate any non-pork eaters (the Jewish and Muslim friends who are likely to show up are as non-observant as I am, as a lapsed Catholic). And I am going to make a vegetarian tourtière too.

                                                          I'll have enough for two smallish tart (quiche) pans, plumply filled. That is handier for me than one large one, as I'm freezing them.

                                                          But I still have to go buy some more duck fat or some compatible fat for the pastry! Making that tomorrow (and of course I got a rush of work when starting the tourtière process...)

                                                          Are you going to eat this soon, or freeze it for the Christmas/New Year's holidays?

                                                          1. re: lagatta

                                                            We ate it, still warm outta the oven.
                                                            Mrs Porker did a Thanksgiving dinner last night - turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, 'slaw, meat pie, pickles, and a duck tourtiere.
                                                            It was *very* good.
                                                            Thanks for your help and inspiration!

                                                            1. re: porker

                                                              I'm so happy I could help, as I was just feeling my way through it myself, since this is something I make about once a year...

                                                              Finally it will be two smallish tourtières, as that will be easier to freeze and serve, whether I have two guests or more. I made one just now, with the duck-fat pastry. It is chilly here, and the little tourtière is out on a shelf I have on the balcony behind my typical Montréal-triplex kitchen. In a box, in case hungry cats or squirrels are interested. The pastry seemed to work, but of course I'll only know in a few weeks, as it is being frozen for the Christmas/New Year's season.

                                                              For people who keep kosher, a duck tourtière with duck-fat pastry might be a nice solution around that time of year!

                                              2. I didn't grow up with Tourtiere. I discovered it in a Canadian Living cookbook. So I don't know what's authentic or traditional. I just know the one I made with the lard crust and ground pork cooked with potatoes, spinach and fennel seeds is fan-****ing-tastic!

                                                1. Toutiere was the first Northern Maine/Canadian recipe I learned when I moved here to the North Woods of Maine. I like it, but down south we would cover it with gravy!!

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                    Lotsa people I know use gravy on their tortiere. Usually served at Christmas or New Years or other holidays, theres likely a turkey or beef gravy on the table.

                                                  2. I just finished the filling for a tourtiere. The dough is chilling in the fridge. At the end of this beautiful fall day, I will combine and bake them, and serve with baby greens and a sharp vinaigrette (and maybe sliced fresh pears). Life is good.

                                                    BTW, my recipe is REALLY different from the one above - there must a a million variations! Anyone know the history of tourtiere (AKA French Meat Pie)?

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                      It`s also good with green chow chow and homemade pickled beets. Below a link on history of the pie.

                                                      1. re: Ruthie789

                                                        jealous sandylc, your dinner sounds wonderful. I love tourtierre, esp at this time of year.

                                                        My recipe calls for 1/2 pork, 1/2 veal. And beets and mango chutney are musts.

                                                        I must make one very soon. Thanks for the reminder.

                                                        1. re: Ruthie789

                                                          Very interesting! And of course, I had to google passenger pigeons, too. Doubly interesting. Chow chow is something I have only read about - need to look at that next. You have made me very busy with your innocent post!

                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                            Just don't get two bushels of green tomatoes like I did. I was chopping and canning all weekend last year. My mother-in-law was French Canadian and made many traditional foods. You might find these recipes in a cookbook from Jehane Benoit. Also Laura Calder has done a segment on her show about French Canadian cuisine.

                                                      2. I'm rebooting this now, for any updates on tourtière. I'm making a duck tourtière - duck braised (with a small bottle of dry cider - these are small beer-bottle sized) sauce made with reduced stock of cooking liquid and bones. While not hot, seasonings will be a bit more lively than traditional, and include cardamom!

                                                        By the way, a duck tourtière can also be kosher or halal, if other alimentary rules are followed. The original tourtières were made with "tourtes" (passenger pigeons) not pork and not even mammalian game.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: lagatta

                                                          I did not know the passenger pigeon link.
                                                          I guess people didn't have much choice in choosing another filling...

                                                          1. re: lagatta

                                                            Actually the "tourtière" was the dish in which the pie was made. The filling evolved probably in a very organic fashion depending on location, customs and availability of the game.

                                                            Even now you get the regionalism in the concept of the dish (the two main variations I know of are "Tourtière du Lac St-Jean" vs "Tourtière Standard" but I'm sure every region has their small touches).

                                                            Interesting point I read that the crust in these savory pies were originally less used for taste or for texture but as a mean of keeping the filling from spoiling for a longer period.

                                                          2. My family is from Quebec and every year my aunt would make this for the holidays. One year I asked her for the recipe for Christmas (as a joke) and she game me hers, along with my own pie. Boy, was I happy!!! Now I make it for my family and my younger son has asked me to give my daughter-in-law the recipe. I'll do the same as my aunt did, make them a couple of pies along with the written recipe. It's the standard tourtiere recipe with cubed potatoes, diced onions, ground pork and allspice (with the ketchup on the side, of course). I can remember my mom and aunt having a slice of the leftover pie for breakfast with coffee... that's my favorite way now too!!! :)

                                                            1. I am making a similar pie that I know from working at a lovely San Diego upscale Deli/Bistro called Piret's; it is called "Tourte Au Chou". Recipe came from their first Charcuterie chef who haled from around Lyon, FR....

                                                              The recipe is very similar to the above, except no celery, and shredded cabbage - alot - about 6 cups - are added after the pork loses it's pink, and then all is stirred around until the cabbage softens, 15 minutes, then 15 minutes more with seasonings and just about 1/3 cup stock, a drab of brandy (optional) or hard cider.

                                                              Cool a bit; fill lard crust and top with top crust, egg wash, vent. Bake. Serve RT or just warm - best much later in the day, or next day if possible.

                                                              I am excited to make this, shall report results....

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: gingershelley

                                                                The "au chou" part is the cabbage. The Canadian-French version (which traveled w/my ancestors to Massachusetts), has no cabbage in it, and its pork is simmered in water, not fried. And, as others have mentioned, is ideal cold (or warmed) w/ketchup for breakfast Christmas morning.

                                                                1. re: TMarkham

                                                                  I've always sautéed my meat for tourtière. I guess the idea of simmering meat in water is just utterly unappealing...

                                                                  1. re: lagatta

                                                                    I saute mine as well. Ground meats are generally simmered in water to produce a finer texture; I achieve this by grinding the COOKED meat in my food processor. It makes the texture of the finished pie filling more moist and tender.

                                                              2. was gonna make this tonight until today I could not find rhurbarb for the rhubarb ketchup recipe I wanted to make. I can still make it but the ketchup idea fascinated me and all 3 markets I went to day had none, no fresh, no frozen and is there even canned? I'm so sad, dabnabit

                                                                11 Replies
                                                                1. re: iL Divo

                                                                  We tend to buy it fresh in season, and freeze or preserve dishes, ketchups and other concoctions (chutneys etc) made from it. Perhaps it is a food eaten more in cold climates...

                                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                                    Do you have a store specializing in British foods in your area? You may find chutneys or picalillis(type of relish) at a British store.

                                                                    1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                      In Montréal, one of the best sources for such foods is actually a very quirky hardware store in Westmount (an upscale, traditionally "English" area), Hogg: 4855 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Westmount, QC H3Z 1G9 (514) 934-4644 They have a whole aisle of British foods.

                                                                      1. re: lagatta

                                                                        Man Montreal is far..... :)))))))

                                                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                                                          Yeah, but you might meet Fifi


                                                                          (go to 5:00 mark, she's a blast)

                                                                          1. re: porker

                                                                            pork, did you really mean to put a cartoon up there?
                                                                            am I missing something?

                                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                                              lagatta mentions Hogg hardware (which I loved before they moved) in Montreal then you posted "Man Montreal is far..... :)))))))"
                                                                              I posted the Bugs Bunny cartoon (a fav of mine) where Bugs has to deal with Black Jacques Shellaque (apparently French Canadian). At one point (5 minute mark of the vid) Bugs says the telephone is for Jacques - "Its Fifi from Montreal". The phone blows up and Jacques says something like "that Fifi is a blast".
                                                                              Just my 2c segway to Montreal......

                                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                                Ha! Segue or Segway?

                                                                                I'm really looking forward to eating the tourtières. Friends returning soon. CdCarter, I've certainly reheated single points of leftover tourtière, but never thought of topping them with an egg. Any egg involved would be eaten on the side, with other bits and bites.

                                                                        2. re: lagatta

                                                                          Oh no, now I have to go on a field trip!

                                                                        3. re: Ruthie789

                                                                          I do Ruthie. and thanks for the info on British food stores, good thought.
                                                                          But my quest was to make (from the recipe) the rhubarb ketchup.
                                                                          I really want to make that as I've lost interest for the time being in making the tourtière if I can't get the fresh rhubarb. So guess I'll wait until I can find it wherever.

                                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                                            Would frozen rhubarb be an option? Don't give up, or grow that rhubarb patch next summer.

                                                                      2. Fresh hot tourtiere on Christmas Eve, but even better is that single slice reheated in the oven on Christmas morning (to get crispy edges) with a fried egg on top!

                                                                        1. Not to be overly pedantic, but it is not a Quebec specialty, rather a French-Canadian one.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: GourmandGirl

                                                                            Gourmand Girl, there is considerable overlap. People who are not of old French stock make them in Québec, and francophones outside Québec (even in New England) do too. And that's without getting into the politics! Some pure descendants of the first French settlers here (I'm a mix of stuff, that and other things) find "French-Canadian" an old-fashioned term to say the least. Some people I know would consider it rather offensive. (This is in Québec, not elsewhere in Canada, or in New England).

                                                                            1. re: lagatta

                                                                              Even if it is a Quebec thing, its a great dish to have especially in winter time.

                                                                              1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                Yes, and I've had vegetarian tourtières, and stringently pork-free kosher and halal tourtières. (Hint: lamb has similar rich flesh). I usually make a duck one, and make a vegetarian one if there are vegetarian guests. I've also had caribou tourtière, as a nod to the far North.

                                                                          2. I just wanted to say that this thread inspired me to order 2 of Mme Benoit's cookbooks yesterday.

                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                            1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                              Good for you! I wish you have fun with it! :)

                                                                              L'encyclopédie de la cuisine canadienne is probably one of the classic french canadian cookbook (that and the recipes from the cercle des fermières [farmer's circle]).

                                                                              I don't know if they adapted her recipes but most of the stay at home moms of the baby boomer generation in Quebec learned from that book. If you want one you either have to find it in a used bookstore or buy it new because there is no way you'll get it from your mom.

                                                                              She's basically the french canadian Julia Child (she also received the order of canada for her contribution!).

                                                                              1. re: CaptCrunch

                                                                                I wasn't able to find "L'encyclopédie" (at least not in my price range), but Abe Books had both "Madame Benoit Cooks at Home" and "Enjoying the Art of Canadian Cooking" for just a few bucks apiece (I assume they're translations?). I grew up in small town BC, and so was rather removed from that part of Canadian culture (in spite of the fact that I was a French Immersion student all through high school and many of my teachers were Québecois), so I'm really excited to learn a bit more about French Canadian cooking.

                                                                                1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                  From what I understand Mme.Benoit made a lot of cookbooks. There was one big one everyone had and a lot of other ones she made later on as she had a pretty long career.

                                                                                  I know the "Encyclopédie" because everyone of my mom's generation had it and I inherited a vintage copy from my aunt (a deluxe version with cardboard cover no less!).

                                                                                  I know they reedited the french version (I still see them sold in stores sometimes) but I don't know if they did the same for the english version.

                                                                                  For me its part history and part cooking. The recipes might not be perfect but the best recipe books had anotations in the margins, subtle changes made to the recipes, hand written variations received from relatives during the holidays... The pages were scarred, bent, yellowed, the corners were torn... I think my mom's version has a stove coil tattoo on the back cover from what must have been an early mistake.

                                                                                  Tell us what you think and, should you want to modify a piece of the recipe, you are only keeping with the tradition!

                                                                                  1. re: CaptCrunch

                                                                                    "The recipes might not be perfect but the best recipe books had anotations in the margins, subtle changes made to the recipes, hand written variations received from relatives during the holidays... The pages were scarred, bent, yellowed, the corners were torn... I think my mom's version has a stove coil tattoo on the back cover from what must have been an early mistake. "

                                                                                    This is what I'm hoping for! Both books were used, and at least one was described as being in questionable condition, with writing and lots of food stains. To me, lots of food stains means lots of good recipes. And you can always tell the best recipes by which pages are the most stained.

                                                                              2. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                You are getting a great cookbook. The Encyclopedie has an English equivalent, called Madame Benoit, The New and Complete Encyclopedia of Cooking. I picked mine up second hand at a yard sale. You might also like two other Canadian vintage cookbooks, Kate Aitken's Canadian cookbook and The Laura Secord Canadian cookbook. Mme. Benoit had cooking shows in both English and French, she was very skilled in the kitchen.

                                                                                1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                  I'd love to find the original -- It's been a lot of years, but I think my French is passable enough that I could follow along with the help of a good French-English dictionary, and it seems like something always gets lost in translation if you don't get the original. I'll take a look for those other cookbooks as well. I wonder if Mme Benoit's cooking shows have made it onto YouTube? I would also love to find a cookbook of Canadian Doukhobor cooking, since that's what so many of my friends' families cooked when I was growing up.

                                                                                  1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                    How about Edna Staebler, she did a whole cookbook on Mennonite cooking? I have both English and French versions and the encyclos, are very much the same. Sadly there are not editions of the show on youtube, I did try to find them. The Laura Secord Canadian Cookbook features regional cooking and does have a recipe for tourtieres. As well the Madame Benoit books have newer editions. I loved her spirit, she loved to entertain,and to educate in all levels of cooking including how to properly serve it for presentation. I watched many of her shows on the CBC. I will keep an eye out for her old books for you.

                                                                                    1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                      Here's a bunch of originals for sale and they are not too expensive (I don't know why but Kijiji is well implemented in french quebec).


                                                                                      The one I received from my aunt, and the same version my mother had, was the yellow cover:


                                                                                2. Wow, that is very different recipe from the one I use. I grew up with French Canadian grandparents and we eat pork pie every Christmas Eve. My Nana's recipe was very simple,but always combined beef with pork, not all pork. And I think she used next to no spices, just salt & pepper. And it was bound with potato, not bread crumbs, stock or eggs.

                                                                                  I have since found a recipe from a Quebecois restaurant or hotel, I believe, I no longer have the original magazine article, ire typed the recipe to store in my computer files. It calls for pork & beef also. But I really love the spices that add a really nice flavor to it : dry mustard, cloves, thyme & sage. I find it very interesting to read all the different variations that people use.

                                                                                  1. I'm making my first tourtiere for dinner tonight, using Mme. Benoit's recipe as a starting place, and this wonderful thread to fill in all the blanks. I'm using a pork-turkey mix (mostly pork) and cubed potatoes instead of bread crumbs, since I'm currently working my way through a huge bag of potatoes. Allspice and sage for the seasonings. Fresh celery instead of the "poivre de celeri" (celery pepper -- I looked this up and all I could find was a question on another forum, apparently from someone also making tourtiere) I'm thinking I'll saute everything to get some browning, then simmer for a while to break it down a bit (best of both worlds?) Ketchup from a bottle and meyer lemon-marinated asparagus for my acidic side.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                      For celery pepper, I looked on my side and even some french quebecquers seem to be having some problems with it.

                                                                                      Its a mix of celery seeds and pepper. One recommendation I saw was replacing it with a mix of 2/3 celery salt and 1/3 pepper per volume if you can't find it.

                                                                                    2. World-wide cousins: tourtiere, Cornish pasties, empanadas, samosas, meat pie, knishes. All good with ketchup.