Gluten-Free and Classic French Canadian Tasty Tourtières (Meat pies) by Bill Wilkat 2018/12/13

Classic French Canadian Tourtière in pie plate
Gluten-Free Classic French Canadian Tourtière (Meat pie)

Makes 2 Pies

Among the things that I associate with Christmas is a savoury Tourtière.  It’s a classic meat pie in French Canadian cuisine and for my money they make the best!  Over the years I’ve eaten them in numerous places like pubs, taverns, and brasseries.  They’ve all been good, but nothing beats homemade.  My wife makes a terrific version and seeing that Christmas is around the corner, we’re sharing it with you now.  I like it along side of my turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

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What’s so special about Tourtières?

Traditionally, Tourtières were made using 3 types of ground meat; pork, beef and veal.  You’ll also find variations made like a stew but they don’t have a bottom crust.  This version is often referred to as a “Lac St. Jean Tourtière” originally from the Saguenay region of Quebec.  That variation has chunks of pork and potato in it.  For me, the classic recipes offered in Quebec brasseries are made with a top and bottom crust, served with a flavourful gravy, fries and vegetables.  A complete and satisfying meal.

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Historically, you can find many different types of meat pies around the globe.  Some historians believe the Quebec Tourtière first featured fowl, and that the name was derived from a bird, (known as the tourterelle), that is now extinct in the province of Quebec.  Listen to an interesting debate at this link for more information.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil
  • 454 kg (1 lb) ground pork
  • 454 kg (1 lb) ground venison
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 250 ml (1/3 cup) chicken broth
  • 180 ml(1/4 cup) breadcrumbs
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) ground nutmeg
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) ground cinnamon
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) dried savoury
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) dried sage
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) dried thyme
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) dried celery seed
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) dried allspice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 rolled-out pastry pie dough for crusts, or the Gluten-Free pastry dough for crusts, homemade or store-bought.

NOTE: For homemade pie dough, we use America’s Test Kitchen recipes: see recipes here:  Gluten-Free or Regular

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Using a large skillet, fry the onions and garlic in oil until softened. 
  • Add the meat and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, breaking down the meat and stirring to cook evenly.
  • Season with salt and pepper. 

  • Add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring and turning often, for about 45 minutes.
  • Allow to cool; adjust the seasoning & remove bay leaf.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours until completely chilled.
  • With the rack in the lowest position, pre-heat the oven to 375 °F (190 °C).
  • Line two 9” (230 mm) pie plates with the pastry. 
  • Fill each pie with half the cooled meat mixture.

  • Top each pie with a pastry dough crust.
  • Cut incisions in top crust to release steam/moisture. 
  • Press and seal edge all around with a fork or your fingers.
  • Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown.

TIPS:

Each pie uses 454 g (1 lb) ground meat.  That’s the minimum we recommend. You can safely add up to an additional 115 kg (1/4 lb).  So if you prefer, you can use only pork, veal, beef, or a combination of all three.  It’s easy to remember and allows you to make the desired amount of pies. Taste the cooked meat mixture to adjust the seasoning, if needed. We often add a little more since packages of ground meat are not always exactly 454 grams.

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Gluten-Free and Classic French Canadian Tasty Tourtières (Meat pies) by Bill Wilkat 2018/12/13

Gluten-Free and Classic French Canadian Tasty Tourtière (meat pie).  This traditional savoury and delicious pie is an ideal dinner that’s popular during the Christmas holidays but now served year round as well!

  • Author: Bill Wilkat

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil
  • 454 kg (1 lb) ground pork
  • 454 kg (1 lb) ground venison
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 250 ml (1/3 cup) chicken broth
  • 180 ml(1/4 cup) breadcrumbs
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) ground nutmeg
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) ground cinnamon
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) dried savoury
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) dried sage
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) dried thyme
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) dried celery seed
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) dried allspice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 rolled-out pastry pie dough for crusts, or the Gluten-Free pastry dough for crusts, homemade or store-bought.

NOTE: For homemade pie dough, we use America’s Test Kitchen recipes: see recipes here:  Gluten-Free or Regular

Instructions

  • Using a large skillet, fry the onions and garlic in oil until softened.
  • Add the meat and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, breaking down the meat and stirring to cook evenly.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring and turning often, for about 45 minutes.
  • Allow to cool; adjust the seasoning & remove bay leaf.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours until completely chilled.
  • With the rack in the lowest position, pre-heat the oven to 375 °F (190 °C).
  • Line two 9” (230 mm) pie plates with the pastry.
  • Fill each pie with half the cooled meat mixture.
  • Top each pie with a pastry dough crust.
  • Cut incisions in top crust to release steam/moisture.
  • Press and seal edge all around with a fork or your fingers.
  • Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown.

Notes

Each pie uses 454 g (1 lb) ground meat.  That’s the minimum we recommend. You can safely add up to an additional 115 kg (1/4 lb).  So if you prefer, you can use only pork, veal, beef, or a combination of all three.  It’s easy to remember and allows you to make the desired amount of pies. Taste the cooked meat mixture to adjust the seasoning, if needed. We often add a little more since packages of ground meat are not always exactly 454 grams.

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Author: Bill Wilkat

Retired Luthier, and now a blogger writing about food including recipes, restaurant and product reviews, and guitar related information which includes "how-to" info. and more.