Tourtiere (Meat Pie)

I thought I’d try a new take on pies as I’ve only really dealt with pies and pastries in dessert form. I stumbled across tourtiere, a traditional French-Canadian meal, and it seemed like a perfect match. This is a pie filled with pork and is commonly served around this time of year, so it seemed like great new thing to try.

Slice of tourtiere

I can’t say whether or not the outcome here is as it was supposed to be as I’ve never had a tourtiere before, but I was pretty good about incorporating the core of what I encountered in other versions of this dish, but without any local French-Canadians to give their seal of approval, we’ll have to go on faith on this one.

I was excited when this came out of the oven–I mean its pie and its dinner! I carefully cut out a slice and took a big bite. Texture, moisture, heartiness, and all of those sorts of components were great, but the flavor…it was kind of…bland! My food? Bland? WTF, I don’t do bland. I was irked and disappointed. However, on the second slice, I’d warmed up to it a bit, not really regarding it as bland any more, and by the third slice, I was genuinely craving it. My expectations were what got in the way of enjoying the first slice of this and the important thing that took getting used to for me is that this is, without a doubt, winter food. Its hearty but not screaming in your face zesty and exploding with flavor, and once I accepted that, I really came to enjoy this dish in a big way (and thankfully, I still have one slice left in the fridge which has my name on it!). I found that a small amount of a honey dijon mustard complimented it quite well, and so I might consider adding a dab of mustard to the filling next time. And also, the use of sage in this dish (which I’d use a pinch more of next time 😉 ) is my reason for this being my entry in this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Vanessa of What Geeks Eat.

  • Pie crust
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and diced small
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • some flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 egg

Before anything, prepare your pie crust. Set it up in your pie pan and save some of the dough for the top of the pie so that you can cover it over. Keep all of this in the fridge until you need it as you don’t want all of your hard work with the butter to have been in vain.

Chop and mince the vegetables

Now, prepare your vegetables. Finely mince the shallots and garlic cloves. Chop the celery and peel and dice the carrot into small squares. Peel your potato and chop it into small chunks as well.

Fry the vegetables Cook the pork and simmer

In a large saucepan, heat up some oil and melt down a good sized knob of butter. Once that’s ready, cook the shallots and celery for about five or so minutes. Add the carrots and then the garlic and stir everything around. Once everybody looks a little softer, add in the chopped potato and stir some more.

After another five to ten minutes, add the ground pork and try to mix everything well. Once the color changes on all of the pork, add in the stock and all of the remaining seasonings. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Take this opportunity to also preheat your oven to 400?F.

Set out the pie crust

Once the filling is done simmering, let it cool off for a few minutes and get out your pie crust and roll the extra dough flat so you have a top. Also whisk an egg in a small bowl (for an egg wash on the pie).

Fill the pie crust

Fill the pie crust with the pork mixture and spread it out evenly. Then, seal the pie shut with the top layer of dough, doing your best to crimp the edges shut (Hopefully, your presentation skills are better than mine–I was a bit hungry and ready to eat by now). Brush the surface with the beaten egg and slit an ‘X’ on top so the steam has somewhere to go when this is baking.

Fresh out of the oven

Finally, bake this in the oven for 45 minutes. The egg wash should give your pie a really attractive color with an added flakiness to your crust.

Slice out of the pie

Let this cool off for a few minutes and then grab a slice and enjoy!

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14 Responses to “Tourtiere (Meat Pie)”

  1. AeroSquid Says:

    cool recipe but what is up with the terrible depth of field on your camera?

  2. mike Says:

    Thanks. Sadly, I’m still not quite the best photographer, but I’m trying to improve. *shrugs* Some times, the photos are somewhat rushed because I’m starving 😮

  3. Pam Says:

    Mike, I have been thinking about making a meat pie lately. This one looks pretty good. The combination of spices sounds intriguing.

  4. mike Says:

    Pam — thanks! Yea, it got started with a craving for chicken pot pie, but I wanted to try something a little different. It was definitely a nice change from the usual.

  5. What geeks eat… » Blog Archive » Weekend herb blog No. 109 - recap Says:

    […] Tourtiere (Meat Pie) from Mike at Mike’s Table […]

  6. Jerry Says:

    Mike – my family has had tortiere every Christmas eve for the last 40 years. It has become a tradition! While there are as many recipes as there are French Canadians your is quite different than what I have seen.

    I like mine served cold the next day – TUM

  7. Kalyn Says:

    I’ve never heard of this dish, but anyone who makes pie has my utmost respect. (I’m not a baker at all! Can’t follow recipes.) I like the sound of pork baked in a pie, maybe more garlic and more sage if it needs a bit more kick to it!

  8. Laurie Constantino Says:

    I love foods that grow on you (we had one tonight — and i was the same as you, initially wtf and then i kept eating and ending up getting seconds). It requires you to change your perspective and that is always a good thing. Your pie looks really good, and what an interesting place to find tamarind — very unexpected, but I can see how it would add to this dish. Thanks for an interesting post!

  9. mike Says:

    Jerry — Welcome! I could definitely see this being an annual favorite and I’m glad I did my part in contributing to the endless variants on what seems like what should be a simple recipe! I tried it cold, but I’m a sucker for warm flaky pastry.

    Kalyn — I agree on the garlic and sage. Lesson learned for next time. You should give it a try–I’m not a big measure-things-precisely kind of person, but for baking, I’ll suck it up and make an exception.

    Laurie — Welcome and thanks! Its funny you mentioned the tamarind because now I realize I forgot to include a blurb explaining why I put it there (woops!). But yea, its funny how eating this and having to think about it is what sort of put me in “winter food” mode, if that makes any sense. Now I’ve got cravings for chilis, stews, and just all around heavier, heartier dishes. Haha, the mind is a powerful thing, I guess.

  10. the caked crusader Says:

    Nice pie – I love that sort of food!

  11. Phyllo Tomato Goat Cheese Tart from Mike's Table Says:

    […] in Savory Pies, an event being hosted by Ivy at Kopiaste. Being very much a lover of pies sweet and savory, I can’t wait to see what delicious creations will be inspired by this […]

  12. richard sauve Says:

    Looks like a good pie, you seem to be missing two things, one is cloves, there’s some in allspice not enough, try grinding 2 or 3 cloves and adding it, two you should eat it with home made tomato ketchup, or Heinz, home made is better, green or red. It’s also much better if eaten a day or so after cooking., and I like pork pie cold with ketchup. Good pie but meat onions garlic and spices is all thats necessary, Rick

  13. Choosy Beggar Tina Says:

    I’m just finishing up leftover Tortiere as I write this. Why a half-Scandinavian and half-Lebanese family has a ‘traditional’ tortiere every Christmas beats me, but we do. Yours looks dead-on, particularly with the spices, but ours usually has more mashed potato and the carrots have been grated so that there aren’t any big veggie chunks.

  14. James Desroches Says:

    Hi.

    I agree with Richard

    My French Canadian family has been eating this for 100 years.

    You need: Cloves, Cinnamon, poulty seasoning,salt, pepper ,grated onions, pork and or beef, mashed potatoes, or cubed but the mashed will keep the meat together better.

    It does get a little dry as is, but ketchup or gravy is good on it. (I might try a little gravy inside next time)

    I’m having friends over in 2 weeks for an all american appetizer party (they are from India, Kenya, Bosnia, Budai (sp?). Anyhow I’m going to try making one pie with GOAT! Wish me luck!

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