Tourtière with Flaky Pastry


Nothing showcases a French-Canadian celebration like the traditional rich meat pie called tourtière. Recipes vary from region to region throughout the province, from traditional wild game fillings of venison and grouse, pork and beef inland to seafood such as salmon and shellfish in areas close to the Quebec Maritimes. Every family has its own “original” recipe, passed down through generations, some with potato, some with none. This is an adapted recipe from my dear friend Margarite Lamothe, who has been making her family recipe for decades. Makes one 9-inch pie of 8 servings.


1 large russet potato

1 pound ground pork

1/2 pound ground veal

1/2 pound ground beef

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4  tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp ground sage

1/2 tsp celery salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1/2  cup water

2 recipes Flaky Pastry (see following)

1 egg yolk


Boil potato in its jacket until cooked. Peel and mash; set aside.


In a large saucepan, add the meat, garlic, onions, spices and water. Cook over medium high heat until bubbling, stirring to break up meat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until almost no liquid remains. Mix in potatoes and add additional seasoning to taste.


Let cool, stirring occasionally (mixture will thicken as it cools). Roll out and line plate with pastry. Fill with meat mixture. Roll out remaining pastry. Brush pie rim with water; cover with top pastry and press edge together to seal. Trim and flute.


Mix egg yolk with 2 tsp water; brush top pastry. Cut steam vents. Bake in bottom third of a 400ºF oven until hot and golden brown, about 50 minutes.


Flaky Pastry

Makes 1 double-crust 9-inch pie.


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup each cold butter and lard, cubes

1 egg

2 tsp vinegar

Ice water


In a bowl, mix flour with salt. Using pastry cutter or two knives, cut in butter and lard until coarse crumbs with larger pieces.


In liquid measure, beat egg with vinegar, add enough ice water to make 2/3 cup. Drizzle over flour mixture, tossing with fork until ragged dough forms. Divide and press into two discs. Wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. (This can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

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