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Tourtieres; French-Canadian Meat Pies [split from New England board]

Shooley Dec 19, 2008 04:38 AM

They are so easy to make...I'll be making several, too, this year, as we do each Christmas. Many recipes can be found online, but the most authentic ones are those using piecrust made with lard, and the meat filling should include some sweet spices (cloves and cinnamon), along with the savory (savory and thyme,dry mustard), as I have seen several that didn't include the sweet.

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  1. b
    brucekc RE: Shooley Dec 19, 2008 05:24 AM

    I put Cinnamon, Sage and Savery, I share the recipe also with anyone that ask
    for it but I really enjoy making them, At parties They expect me to bring them!

    7 Replies
    1. re: brucekc
      trufflehound RE: brucekc Dec 20, 2008 03:19 AM

      Then share, please.
      I am no expert. Do you use potato or bread crumbs? Pork, or mixed meats?

      1. re: trufflehound
        Alica RE: trufflehound Dec 20, 2008 03:54 AM

        Is French meat pie also called "touterre" or something like that? I am sure they sell them somewhere in Woonsocket. There is a fair in the fall called Autumnfest, they always have a french meat pie booth, delicious!!

        1. re: Alica
          Shooley RE: Alica Dec 20, 2008 04:16 AM

          It's tourtiere, with an "accent grave" over the first "e" which I'm not able to do here.

          1. re: Shooley
            jefpen2 RE: Shooley Dec 20, 2008 10:18 AM

            There used to be a brew pub in Keene, NH that had a contest for the best pie. Not sure if it's still there

            1. re: jefpen2
              seventhone RE: jefpen2 Nov 12, 2009 06:25 AM

              too funny! I know this post was from a year ago, but my sister owns the brew pub in Keene. The tradition started from my Great Grandfather who used to eat them in logging camps. My sister stopped the contest because the same person used to win year after year! I have 6 siblings and we all make them for our families. We use a combination of pork and ground beef. I add ginger to mine....I am the only one though.

        2. re: trufflehound
          brucekc RE: trufflehound Dec 22, 2008 05:06 AM

          1/2 Ground Beef or Veal
          1/2 Ground pork
          1 Med. Size potato or Instant (2 servings)
          1/3 Cup of Chopped onions
          1 tsp. salt
          1/4 tsp. pepper
          1/4 tsp. sage
          1/4 tsp. cinnamon
          1/4 tsp. savery
          1/4 cup of water
          Piecrust... I use store bought (1 box)
          Cook meat until meat has lost it's pink color.
          Combine all ingredients together.
          Pour mixture in piecrust
          cover with second piece of pie crust
          Bake in Oven at (425 degree) 20- 30 minutes or until it's browned.
          Good Luck! Your Family and Friends will love them!

          1. re: brucekc
            chilihead RE: brucekc Dec 22, 2008 02:46 PM

            Thanks for the recipe, I've been looking for an excuse to break out the meat grinder lately.

      2. s
        Shooley RE: Shooley Dec 20, 2008 04:15 AM

        I use pork and veal and potatoes.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Shooley
          Alica RE: Shooley Dec 22, 2008 06:58 PM

          I have a confession, I always put catsup on it!

          1. re: Alica
            brucekc RE: Alica Dec 23, 2008 04:10 AM

            That's Awsome!

            1. re: Alica
              chilihead RE: Alica Dec 23, 2008 05:25 AM

              What's catsup in Québécois?

              1. re: chilihead
                porker RE: chilihead Dec 23, 2008 08:36 AM

                That would be 'ketchup' with optional 'aux tomates'.

                We make it with ground pork and boiled, mashed potatoes, salt & pepper, actually the wife has the last 3 of 10 in the oven now. True Quebecois is more beef and veal than pork and perhaps little or no potato.
                As I mentioned before, its a small town thing as to who's family makes the best (its invariably your mother's).
                Its also a slight to mention how someone else's has 'more potato than meat' (meaning they have less money - HA, the wife just cut one and says to her mother, 'it looks too potato-ee').
                Delicious both hot or cold, ketchup optional, breadkfast, lunch, or dinner.

                1. re: porker
                  Shooley RE: porker Dec 27, 2008 06:05 AM

                  Well, my relatives live in St. Georges de Beauce, Thetford Mines, and Quebec City for the most part, and pork (and sometimes a little veal or beef) was in our tourtiere, as well as our cretons. I don't think you can say, with absolute certainty, "true Quebecois" do a certain thing with their tourtiere, any more than you can say true New Englanders do a certain thing with their chowder. I've found it varies.

                  1. re: Shooley
                    porker RE: Shooley Dec 27, 2008 01:13 PM

                    Point well made.
                    For the most part, I've seen other people's tortiere as seasoned beef or veal and sans potato. I guess I should have said 'perhaps more typical' or maybe that our pork pies are perhaps less typical.

                2. re: chilihead
                  porker RE: chilihead Dec 23, 2008 08:45 AM

                  Piping outta the oven, the filling tends to run. It holds better after cooling, also nice and firm after re-heating

            2. The Chowhound Team RE: Shooley Dec 23, 2008 04:16 AM

              Sorry to interrupt. We've split off a digression about how to make tourtieres at home to the Home Cooking board, here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/582285 . Let's keep this discussion focused on brucekc's question, where to buy 'em in the New England area.

              1. b
                bacchus_is_watching RE: Shooley Dec 23, 2008 07:10 AM

                I'm from Quebec and my mothers version always includes the cloves, cinnamon and a bit of nutmeg - in my opinion they just don't taste right without it!

                I am also guilty of eating them with ketchup! This is the regular New Years dinner in my house!

                5 Replies
                1. re: bacchus_is_watching
                  DockPotato RE: bacchus_is_watching Dec 23, 2008 12:45 PM

                  There is no sense in making just one is there?They freeze so well.

                  We use the recipe of a friend from Sudbury - it calls for pork, grated potato, grated carrot and the spices you list.

                  Our first meal off a pie is hot and the rest are at room temp. Hot pepper jelly or chutney on the side for mine, please.

                  Does the pie vary from region to region in French Canada?

                  1. re: DockPotato
                    brucekc RE: DockPotato Dec 26, 2008 06:23 AM

                    Taken from La cuisine traditionnelle en Acadie 1975 Cook book from New Brunswick. As stated in this board many make them on Christmas but are also served on New Years day!
                    Turtiere is made many ways we have only talked about ground pork and meat but chunks of the same and Chicken and Rabbit are also used.
                    So the answer is every region of Quebec and the Maritimes does not make it the same way: it varies as much in the ingredient as it does in it the way the crust is prepared. A distinct difference exists between northern New Brunswick meat pies, on the one hand, and those from Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island on the other hand. In the long run it makes trying
                    different pies more exciting. As hinted by Bacchus in some French Canadian Families my life would be in Jeopardy for Sharing the Family
                    recipe with anyone, But being proud of my Acadien Culture and hoping
                    to share it... food recipes is a way I do it.
                    To be honest in 35 year of passing out the recipe, No one has made it
                    for me to try it.

                    1. re: brucekc
                      DockPotato RE: brucekc Dec 27, 2008 03:13 PM

                      I've read it argued that Antoine Plamondon's iconic painting "Chasse aux tourtes" shows young men hunting pigeons for tourtiere, which in Quebec's early time was was the meat in the pie.


                      Hence the name of the pie. Is there any reference in your book to that?

                    2. re: DockPotato
                      Steady Habits RE: DockPotato Dec 29, 2008 04:38 AM

                      Dock, I seldom freeze prepared food, but would like to start doing it sometimes, for convenience. I'm completely stupid about it, so could you offer some instructions? Do I freeze the tourtieres before or after baking...then bake them frozen, or what? Thanks.

                      1. re: Steady Habits
                        DockPotato RE: Steady Habits Jan 1, 2009 09:34 AM

                        Pies seem to fare very well in the freezer - probably the crust - other foods less so.

                        The filling in these and similar pies are cooked on entry. We bake our pies first. We try to "under-do" surplus pies by about 10 minutes or so. We take them from the freezer and bring them back at about 375* for about 10+ minutes. Don't worry, the pies are robust and all you need to watch is that the crust is not overdone.

                        Wrap the pie in its dish in a sealed plastic bag. Freezer burn is not usually an issue as the pies do not sit long.

                  2. l
                    lexpatti RE: Shooley Dec 23, 2008 08:47 AM

                    We have an employee that makes fantastic ones with an interesting pot pourie flavors. I love mine with mayo but hubby puts bbq sauce on his.

                    1. r
                      rainey RE: Shooley Dec 23, 2008 11:05 AM

                      Oh! Tourtière!

                      I used to have a fabulous recipe that used ground pork, potatoes and spinach. It was soooo good it's probably a good thing I've lost it or I'm sure I'd have had a couple coronary events by now. ;> I remember the meat and potatoes cooking with fennel seed and nutmeg. Not sure what else was in it but the crust was thick and had a wonderful golden color. And the aroma... Bliss!!!

                      All that pork fat and lard may have helped hardworking farmers cope with the Eastern Canadian cold but I don't think it's the right thing for sedentary office workers in Los Angeles. =o

                      1. c
                        chilihead RE: Shooley Dec 28, 2008 05:51 PM

                        Thanks for opening up this thread. I initially made a few of these just for easy, no fuss eating during the holiday frenzy. Then I ate them all. A slice with a few fried eggs in the morning, a slice with a chunk of chedder, a few pickled onions for lunch, and ...well dinner was something else entirely.
                        I loved them so much that I've been playing with the variations and putting up in the freezer (for later lazy days.) Leftover duck from christmas dinner made it's way in, a batch with pork and yucca (a south american starchy potato-ish tuber) and others that I'll be enjoying for months...thanks again.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: chilihead
                          brucekc RE: chilihead Dec 29, 2008 03:58 AM

                          If you like any of the new variations don't forget to report back here so we can try them!

                        2. Candy RE: Shooley Jan 1, 2009 09:51 AM

                          I always make it on Christmas Eve. Usually with pork. We like a nice brown gravy on it. Usually I make frites and green peas. It was the way a restaurant in Montreal used to serve it and has remained a favorite.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Candy
                            thesandwichlife RE: Candy Jan 3, 2010 02:38 PM

                            I never have had it with ketchup or gravy.... Ours if half beef, half pork with clove and cinnamon and it tastes exactly like the holidays to me. We have it on Christmas Eve as well as the night before Thanksgiving. I like the idea of having it on New Year's too though. My grandmother made it with pickled beets and kidney beans. Somehow that's evolved into sides of pickled beets, cranberry sauce and coleslaw. I love it for breakfast with a dollop of cranberry sauce.....

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