This delicious French-Canadian dish is near and dear to my heart. It’s the first thing Eli ever cooked for me. We met 10 years ago on November 1st, and sometime between then and Christmas that year, Eli made me a traditional tourtière.
I asked Eli if he remembered why he wanted a French-Canadian meat pie to be the first thing he cooked for me. He said that he thought it would be a challenge and that he wanted to impress me. Maybe it was also because it’s a traditional Christmas dish or that he remembered me telling him that I had lived in Montreal for a year. I’m not sure – neither of us really remember the details around it, but it was a memorable date.
I do remember that I wasn’t at his place long before the smoke alarm went off. When we wandered over to the kitchen to check on the tourtiere, there was smoke everywhere. Some of the homemade pastry had fallen onto the gas burner in the oven and it started to burn. It was pretty funny. He handled the mishap pretty gracefully. We were eventually able to eat the tourtière and it was really good. As an added bonus, I got to meet some of the neighbours who came over to rescue us, lol.
Here’s my recipe. It’s really yummy. I brought the leftovers into work and everybody loved it. It’s not hard to make, especially if you decide to buy the pastry and skip that step.
French-Canadian meat pie.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 kilo extra lean ground beef
- 1/2 kilo lean ground pork
- 1 tsp ground sage
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground clove
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
- 1/4 tsp ground white or black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 russet potato, grated
- 1/2 cup grated carrot (optional)
- 2 cups chicken or beef stock
In a large frying pan or sauce pan with a lid, cook the onions in the oil on low heat until translucent. Then add the garlic and stir.
Add the meat to the pan and stir until most of the meat is crumbled, about 10 minutes.
Remove most of the fatty liquid from the pan with a ladle or large spoon. (This step is optional, but I always do it).
Add all of the dry seasoning to the meat and stir.
Add the stock, the bay leaf and cinnamon stick to the pan and stir.
Add the grated potato and carrots and stir.
Cover the pan with the lid and simmer on low heat for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Remove the lid from the pan. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Taste for salt. Add more if necessary.
Stir the mixture for a few more minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed by the meat mixture.
Transfer the cooked meat to a bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Line the pie plate with the pastry. Dock the pastry with a fork.
Pre-bake the bottom layer of the pie for about 12 minutes or until it just starts to turn a golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow the pastry to cool for at least 15 minutes.
Add the cool meat mixture to the pie plate. Level the meat mixture so that it's smooth.
Cover the meat with pastry. Seal the edges with a fork or as you like. Make a couple of cuts in the centre of the pastry to allow steam to release while baking.
Bake the pie for 50 minutes or until golden brown.
It's advisable to cover the edges of the pie with aluminum foil for the first 30 minutes of baking so that the edges don't burn.
Shortening and butter pastry
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cubed
- 2-10 tbsp ice-cold water
Pour the flour into a large bowl. Add the salt and stir.
Add butter and shortening.
Work the mixture with your fingertips until crumbly.
Add ice water one tbsp at a time until the pastry can easily be formed into a ball.
Divide the dough in half. Form it into two discs. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before you roll out the dough.