My friend’s mom, Amanda, who is French Canadian, sent me her tourtière recipe. Tourtière is a French Canadian classic, originating in Quebec and traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve. Every family and province have their own variation on the classic tourtière. Some use different types of seasonings, like allspice, poultry seasoning or cinnamon as well as cloves. Others use different thickening ingredients like diced potatoes, flour or breadcrumbs. Others add finely diced vegetables like carrots and celery. There’s also a variety of meats used, either pork, veal or beef – you can use a combination of what you like! Either way you slice it, this pie is a French Canadian classic, originating in Quebec and traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve.
This pie freezes really well, you can either freeze the unbaked pie or freeze the baked pie and reheat from frozen. You can also make the pie in two parts, making the pastry one day and the filling the next.
The shortening crust is quite a forgiving dough that's pliable. It creates a very flaky pastry. If you're not into shortening, feel free to use an all-butter pie dough as a substitute.
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ lb ground pork (or a combination of pork, beef or veal)
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp celery salt
½ tsp ground cloves
1 cup beef or vegetable stock
½ cup breadcrumbs or 1 potato, grated
2 ½ cups (325g) all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup (205g) shortening
1 tbsp vinegar (white, apple cider, white wine or lemon juice)
½ cup (118mL) hot water
2 eggs, divided (1 for egg wash)
1. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, 1 minute. Add the meat, salt, celery salt, ground cloves and cook, breaking up meat with your spoon, until meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add grated potato (if using) and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until most of the liquid has reduced, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle in breadcrumbs (if you’re not using potato) and stir to combine. Place filling in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap. Place in fridge to chill completely.
2. For the pastry, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut in ½ cup shortening into flour mixture. Work the shortening into the flour with your fingertips until the size of peas.
3. Place hot water (from freshly boiled kettle) in a large measuring jug. Add remaining 1/2 cup shortening. Stir until completely dissolved. Mix in vinegar and 1 egg. Tip hot water mixture into flour mixture and beat with a wooden spoon until combined. Tip onto the surface and knead until it all comes together to form a smooth dough. Divide dough into two rounds. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes or overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 400F (200C). On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc of the pie dough to about ¼-inch thick. Line a 9-inch pie plate with dough. Fill with cooled meat filling. Roll out the remaining disc of dough to the same thickness. Brush beaten egg around edges of dough. Top with pastry. Trim edges and then pinch the edges of the crust together or press with tines of a fork. Use excess pastry to decorate top of pie. Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter and use egg wash to adhere. Cut an X in the top of the pie for steam to escape. Brush top of pie with egg wash. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.
5. Serve with maple syrup, HP sauce, Ketchup or green tomato relish. The tourtière can be made up to 2 days in advance and reheated in a 325F (160C) oven. Pies can also be frozen whole and baked at 400F (325C) from frozen for 50 minutes.