Neat Tourtiere Information!
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Tourtière - Quebec Meat Pie Recipe

Flavors of Quebec

Chef's Note
Traditional, yes! But there are as many recipes and individual secrets for meat pie as there are regions and cooks in Quebec.

In Quebec, meat pie is called "tourtière". What is a tourtière?
Originally it referred to a cooking utensil used to make a pie or "tourte." By 1611, the word tourtière had come to refer to the pastry containing meat or fish that was cooked in a medium-deep, round or rectangular dish.

While every region claims to be the birthplace of "real" meat pie, which is traditionally served with a tomato ketchup, the English regime also played a part in its history. Tourtière would come to be known as "Pâté à l'angloise," the red devil's delight, served with a sweet and sour condiment of vegetables and fruit.

Should potatoes be added, and if so, in what proportion? Should they be raw or cooked?

Should it made from beef, pork, veal, game or what is the best combination? Should the meat be ground or cubed?

And the spices… apart from salt and pepper, should you add cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, even sage or thyme?

Is minced onion obligatory?

First of all, let's settle the question of the pastry. Use a basic pie crust, or pâte brisée.

The difficult question is the filling
First of all, there are two basic schools. The cooked filling involves putting all the ingredients into a pot, covering them with water or stock and letting them simmer for a couple hours over low heat. Then the meat just needs to be broken up with a fork, drained if necessary, and placed into the pie crust. The actual cooking time of the tourtière itself is reduced to 20 or 30 minutes.

On the other hand, if the meat is raw, allowances have to made in the cooking time (tripling it), except in the case of "Six-pâtes" from the Lac St-Jean region, which requires 3 hours and is made from game. Fillings made with uncooked ground meat will have a denser texture when cooked in the oven, as is the case with tourtière from Rigaud.


Pie pastry
- 100 g (3 1/2 oz.) vegetable shortening
- 150 g (about 1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) cold water

Basic tourtière recipe from the St. Jovite region
- 500 g (18 oz.) fresh ground Pork butt
- 1 large onion, minced
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) breadcrumbs
- Salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg

1. Put the pork and onion into a large pot; season; cover with water and let simmer over medium heat for 90 minutes or until the water has completely, or almost completely, evaporated;
2. break up the meat with a fork; correct the seasoning;
3. lay the bottom pie crust in a lightly buttered pie plate, letting the dough hang over the edges slightly; prick all over with a fork; place the filling into the crust, spreading it evenly with a spatula;
4. cover with the top crust; lightly moisten the edges to seal the top and bottom crusts together and pinch them with your fingers;
5. roll a small piece of aluminum foil around your finger and stick it two-thirds of the way into the middle of the pie to form a little steam vent;
6. brush with an egg beaten with a little milk; bake at 200° C (400° F) for 10 minutes;
7. reduce the temperature to 180° C (350° F) and continue baking for about 20 minutes until the crust is golden.

Regional Variations
On the Île d'Orléans… they use ground pork, beef and veal, adding a little pork fat, a clove of garlic and some spices. The texture should be less grainy and is bound together with an egg.

In Charlevoix… they take the recipe from the Île d'Orléans but replace the pork with hare, and all the meat and potatoes are cut into cubes, except for the chopped pork fat.

In Val-Jalbert… they take the recipe from the Île d'Orléans, but replace the veal with a chicken breast and the water with chicken stock.

In the Outaouais region… tourtière is made solely from duck, cut into cubes and simmered in chicken stock.

In Rigaud, they use pork and beef to which potatoes and a pinch of dry mustard are added.

The choice is up to you… or create your own combination!
"Ponder well on this point: the pleasant hours of our life are all connected, by a more or less tangible link, with some memory of the table."-Charles Pierre Monselet, French author(1825-1888)
  Re: Neat Tourtiere Information! by firechef (Tourtière - Quebec M...)
Thanks, LJ, that is neat info. I use cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, and all pork, in mine. My (Portuguese) MIL made this for her French Canadian husband using both pork and beef and just calls it meat dressing.
Very good both ways, I should make it more often than just the holidays.

  Re: Re: Neat Tourtiere Information! by pjcooks (Thanks, LJ, that is ...)
"There you'll sample
Mrs. Lovett's meat pies
savory and sweet pies
as you'll see.
You, who eat pies,
Mrs. Lovett's meat pies
conjure up the treat pies
used to be."

If blueberry muffins have blueberries in them, what do vegan muffins have?

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