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Tourtière: A French-Canadian Meat Pie

by Olivia
a French-Canadian meat pie

Discover the rich history and flavors of Tourtière, a French-Canadian meat pie, with creative variations, serving tips, and make-ahead secrets!

What’s great about this recipe is that you can make the meat pies ahead of time, freeze them unbaked, and just pop them in the oven when you’re ready. I’ve also tried making these in individual-sized pie pans, and they’re just perfect!

Trust me, this is a recipe you’ll want to try – and once you do, you’ll be making it again and again. Enjoy!

Dive into the world of Tourtière, the French-Canadian meat pie that has captured hearts and taste buds for centuries. Learn about its history, ingredients, and variations, while picking up helpful tips on how to prepare and serve this beloved dish.

a French-Canadian meat pie

a French-Canadian meat pie

The Origins and History of Tourtière:

Tourtière is a traditional French-Canadian meat pie that dates back to the 17th century. Originally from Quebec, this dish has become a beloved part of Canada’s culinary heritage. It is especially popular during the holiday season, particularly on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. The name “Tourtière” is thought to have originated from the vessel in which the pie was baked, called a “tourtière” or “tourtier” in French. Over time, the different regions in Quebec and across Canada have developed their own variations of the dish, incorporating local ingredients and traditions.

While the classic Tourtière features a mixture of ground pork and beef, some regional adaptations include game meats like venison or even seafood, reflecting the diverse culinary influences across the country. Despite these variations, the essence of the dish remains the same – a rich, savory meat filling enclosed in a flaky, buttery crust, enjoyed in the company of family and friends.

Tourtière Ingredients and Flavor Profile:

The distinct flavor profile of Tourtière sets it apart from other meat pies. The combination of ground pork and beef provides a hearty base, while a medley of spices like allspice, nutmeg, and cloves adds warmth and depth. Aromatics such as onions and celery contribute to the savory filling, and breadcrumbs are often included to help bind the mixture together.

In addition to the spices, some recipes incorporate herbs like thyme, sage, or savory to enhance the flavor further. The filling is typically cooked in a broth or stock, giving it a rich, moist texture that contrasts beautifully with the crisp, flaky crust. The result is a comforting, flavorful meat pie that captures the essence of French-Canadian cuisine.

Homemade Pie Crust vs. Store-Bought:

When it comes to the pie crust for your Tourtière, you have two main options: making it from scratch or using a store-bought version. A homemade pie crust can offer a superior taste and texture, as you can control the quality of the ingredients and the level of flakiness. Homemade crusts often contain butter, which lends a rich flavor and delicate texture that complements the savory filling.

On the other hand, store-bought pie crusts can save time and effort, especially if you’re short on time or not confident in your pastry-making skills. Many store-bought options are of high quality, and some even come in a variety of flavors, such as buttery or whole wheat. When choosing a store-bought crust, look for one that is free of artificial ingredients and preservatives for the best taste.

Creative Variations and Serving Suggestions:

While the traditional Tourtière recipe is delicious in its own right, you can also experiment with creative variations to make the dish your own. Consider swapping the ground pork and beef for other meats like turkey, chicken, or even lamb. Alternatively, you could try incorporating vegetables like mushrooms or leeks for added texture and flavor.

When it comes to serving Tourtière, it pairs well with a variety of side dishes and accompaniments. Simple options like a green salad, roasted vegetables, or steamed green beans provide a fresh, light contrast to the rich, savory pie. For a more indulgent meal, consider serving it alongside creamy mashed potatoes or a rich gravy. And don’t forget the condiments – some people enjoy their Tourtière with a dollop of ketchup, chutney, or cranberry sauce for a touch of sweetness.



a French-Canadian meat pie

a French-Canadian meat pie


What to Serve with Meat Pie :

When serving a delicious meat pie, consider pairing it with complementary side dishes that enhance the overall dining experience. Here are some suggestions for what to serve with your meat pie:

  1. Green Salad: A fresh, crisp green salad with a tangy vinaigrette adds a light and refreshing contrast to the rich flavors of the meat pie.
  2. Roasted Vegetables: Colorful roasted vegetables like carrots, Brussels sprouts, or parsnips provide a healthy and flavorful accompaniment that complements the savory pie.
  3. Mashed Potatoes: Creamy, buttery mashed potatoes are a classic pairing with meat pies, as they add a satisfying, comforting element to the meal.
  4. Steamed Green Beans: Simply steamed green beans with a drizzle of melted butter or a sprinkle of lemon zest offer a light and nutritious side option.
  5. Peas: Whether buttered, minted, or creamed, peas are a traditional and delicious accompaniment to meat pies.
  6. Coleslaw: A tangy, crunchy coleslaw adds a bright contrast to the rich flavors of the meat pie, providing a delightful balance.
  7. Gravy or Sauce: A rich, flavorful gravy or sauce can elevate the meat pie experience, adding an extra layer of moisture and taste.
  8. Bread or Dinner Rolls: Freshly baked bread or soft dinner rolls are perfect for soaking up any leftover gravy or sauce, ensuring none of the delicious flavors go to waste.
  9. Chutney or Relish: A fruity chutney or tangy relish can add a touch of sweetness and acidity to the meal, complementing the savory flavors of the meat pie.
  10. Wine: A well-selected wine can enhance the flavors of your meat pie. Choose a wine that complements the spices and ingredients in your pie, such as a red wine for beef pies or a white wine for chicken or seafood pies.

Experiment with these side dishes and find the perfect combination that suits your taste and enhances your meat pie experience.

How to Freeze Unbaked Meat Pies:

Freezing unbaked meat pies is a great way to save time and enjoy a delicious, homemade meal whenever you’re ready. Here’s how to properly freeze and store unbaked meat pies:

  1. Assemble the pie: Prepare the meat pie according to your recipe, including the filling and pie crust. However, do not bake the pie.
  2. Protect the edges: If your pie has a top crust, crimp the edges together to seal in the filling. This will help prevent any leakage during the freezing and baking process.
  3. Wrap the pie: Place the unbaked pie on a flat surface, such as a baking sheet or cutting board. Wrap the entire pie, including the pan or dish, tightly with plastic wrap. For an extra layer of protection, you can also wrap the pie in aluminum foil or place it in a large resealable plastic bag.
  4. Label and date: Clearly label the wrapped pie with the type of pie, the date, and any baking instructions (temperature and time) for future reference.
  5. Freeze: Place the wrapped pie in the freezer, ensuring it remains level to prevent any filling from spilling out. Allow the pie to freeze completely, which may take several hours or overnight.

To bake a frozen, unbaked meat pie:

  1. Preheat the oven: Preheat your oven according to the recipe instructions, typically at a temperature between 350°F and 425°F.
  2. Unwrap the pie: Remove the frozen pie from the freezer and carefully unwrap it, discarding the plastic wrap and aluminum foil, if used.
  3. Place on a baking sheet: Place the frozen pie on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. This will help catch any drips during the baking process.
  4. Bake: Bake the frozen pie according to the recipe instructions, adding an additional 10-20 minutes to the baking time to account for the frozen state. Keep an eye on the pie and cover the edges with foil if they begin to brown too quickly.
  5. Check for doneness: Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the pie. It should reach at least 165°F (74°C) to ensure the meat is fully cooked. Additionally, the crust should be golden brown and the filling should be bubbling.
  6. Cool and serve: Allow the baked pie to cool for a few minutes before serving. This will help the filling set and make it easier to slice and serve.

By following these steps, you can enjoy a delicious, homemade meat pie whenever the craving strikes.

Check out the printable recipe below and let me know what you think about Tourtière: A French-Canadian Meat Pie (comments below).
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a French-Canadian meat pie

Tourtière: A French-Canadian Meat Pie

Dive into the world of Tourtière, the French-Canadian meat pie that has captured hearts and taste buds for centuries. Learn about its history, ingredients, and variations, while picking up helpful tips on how to prepare and serve this beloved dish.

  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 Servings 1x



2 lbs. ground pork
2 lbs. ground beef (round)
¾ cup finely diced celery
1 yellow onion, finely diced
5 cups hot water
2 tsp. Better Than Bouillon chicken base
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
½ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
salt and black pepper, to taste
2 Homemade or store-bought pie crusts (for 9-inch pies)
1 large egg, beaten (for egg wash)


Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Dissolve the Better Than Bouillon chicken base in the hot water and set aside.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven (I prefer using cast iron) over medium heat. Cook the onion and celery for about 5 minutes, until slightly softened, stirring with a wooden spoon.

Add the chicken stock mixture, ground pork, ground beef, and poultry seasoning. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until the meat is fully cooked.

Stir in the breadcrumbs, allspice, ground cloves, and black pepper. Cook for another 10 minutes, then remove from heat.

Season with salt to taste, if needed. Remember, the bouillon and breadcrumbs already have salt, so you may only need a pinch.

Allow the mixture to cool completely before assembling the pies.

Fill the unbaked pie shells with the cooled meat mixture and top with the second pie crust. Roll the edges under and pinch them together around the entire pie. Use a sharp knife to make a small slit in the top of each pie.

Brush the pies with the egg wash.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30-45 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned.

Let the pies rest for 15 minutes before serving.

  • Author: Olivia
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: French-Canadian


  • Serving Size: 8 servings
  • Calories: 520kcal

Keywords: Tourtière: A French-Canadian Meat Pie



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