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Tourtiere du Quebec

Tourtiere has been a Quebec tradition since the 1600's. A Christmas Eve Classic!

This recipe uses only pork. I get my butcher to grind local pork shoulder because of the higher fat content for flavour. This is not a lean cuisine! I include my recipe for buttery shortcrust pastry which you will love to make. It rolls out beautifully. Serve this tourtiere with your favourite dijon mustard or tomato chutney. And you don't need to wait until Christmas Eve to make it! Great winter supper with a big green salad.


2 Pounds of ground pork shoulder

1 1/2 Cups finely chopped onions

1 Teaspoon of ground ginger

1 Teaspoon of sea salt

1/2 Teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper

1/4 Teaspoons of ground allspice

1/4 Teaspoons of ground cinnamon

1/4 Teaspoons of ground nutmeg

1/4 Teaspooons of ground cloves

1/2 Cup water

1 Cup very fine dry breadcrumbs

1 Egg, slightly beaten with 1 Teaspoon of water


In a large heavy skillet, combine the ground pork, onions, spices, salt and pepper

Cook this over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the pork,

until the meat loses its raw colour

Add the water and bring to a boil

Bring this to a simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring constantly

Stir in the fine breadcrumbs

Remove the skillet from heat and allow to cool

Pre-heat oven to 425 F

On a floured surface, divide your shortcrust pastry in two

Roll out each half to an 11" circle or large enough to fit the pie dish with a little bit over

Then roll up the pastry onto the rolling pin and unroll it on top of the pie dish

Fill the pastry with the cooled meat mixture

Dampen the edges of the pastry with water

Then lay the second pastry sheet on top, pressing the edges together well

Cut a few slashes for steam to escape

Decorate the top if you like with leftover pastry

Brush the top with the beaten egg

Bake the tourtiere in a pre-heated oven at 425 F for 15 minutes

Then reduce the heat to 350 F and bake for another 40 minutes until pastry is golden brown

Cool for 25 minutes before slicing.

Serve with dijon mustard or tomato chutney. Bon appetit!

*You can keep the tourtiere in the fridge up to two days before baking

Shortcrust Pastry

3 1/3 Cup unbleached flour

1/2 Teaspoon sea salt

1 Cup + 1 Tablespoon of Unsalted butter - cold, just 20 minutes out of the fridge

2 Egg Yolks

6 - 8 Tablespoons of ice cold water, put a few ice cubes in a cup of water

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and sea salt

Cut the cold butter into small cubes and arrange them over the flour mixture

With your hands or a large fork work the butter into the flour until the mixture feels like coarse meal

Add the egg yolks and 6 tablespoons of the cold water until the dough begins to come together

Turn the pastry out onto a work surface and knead it gently until it comes together into a ball

If you need to add more water, add the other 1-2 tablespoons of water

Wrap this kneaded dough in plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes before using

*This will keep up to four days in the fridge. You may freeze it for up to 3 months

Thaw overnight before use

The Story behind the Tourtiere

In Quebec, Christmas Eve is called Reveillon. Traditionally, a reveillon is a long dinner held following Midnight Mass in the Catholic Church on Christmas Eve. Reveillon comes from the word reveil, meaning to wake up, because the dinner lasted until Christmas morning.

The Tourtiere can be traced back to the 1600's in Quebec, after settlers arrived from France. The feast table would be filled with meat dishes, wine and luxurious sweet dishes and eaten late on Christmas Eve. The Tourtiere was always served and in 17th-century Quebec the meat pie was traditionally served in a cast-iron cauldron and stuffed with cubed meats, often wild game such as pheasant or rabbit or even moose. The Tourtiere always includes a mixture of ground meat, onions and spices such as cloves, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. I add ginger to mine. Then baked in a golden brown flaky double crust.

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