This French Canadian classic tourtière meat pie is perfect for a holiday meal for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Years!
I have been wanting to get this recipe posted on my website for ages, and am thrilled to be able to share this longtime family recipe with you. My mom has been making this meat pie every Christmas Eve for years. I never remember a Christmas Eve dinner without it. This tourtière meat pie is a recipe that she learned from my mémé, her mother. I remember being a little kid and just loving this pie on the evening of December 24th. Now, my kids love the pie when we all get together with family on Christmas Eve.
What is Tourtière Meat Pie
Tourtière is a traditional French-Canadian meat pie that originated in the province of Quebec. It is typically associated with holiday celebrations, especially Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The pie’s name is derived from the vessel in which it was originally cooked—a tourtière, which was a shallow, circular dish.
The filling of the meat pie is typically ground/minced pork and beef or veal. The seasoning in the filling is a blend of herbs and spices and every family usually has their own blend. Some have a little more herbs, while some have some spices like cinnamon and cloves.
Prepare the Pie Shell
I roll out the pie crust and place it in the dish before I make the filling in the skillet. Then, if desired, you can place the pie crust in the fridge to chill the fats in the dough which will help ensure a flaky crust. This recipe uses a 9 inch deep dish pie plate which allows for a nice hearty meat pie!
Storebought Crust? While this recipe uses a homemade crust, you can definitely purchase frozen pie shells at the supermarket. Make sure to buy deep dish shells and get enough so that you can add the upper crust to the pie.
Sauté The Onion
The first step in preparing the meat filling is to cook the diced onion in a skillet with the 2 tablespoons of oil. Sauté the onion over medium heat until the onions are translucent and starting to brown around the edges. Remove them from the skillet and set the aside till later.
Brown The Meat
Next it is time to cook the meat. I use a mixture of ground beef and ground pork with a larger ratio of beef. Some supermarkets sell a package with a blend of ground beef and pork, which I have purchased and it works great. Add the meat to the skillet and cook over medium to medium high heat until browned and fully cooked through. Break the meat apart with a spatula or wooden spoon to ensure they are in small bits and chunks.
Drain The Grease? It really depends on how much grease you find comes out of the meat as it browns. I have purchased extra lean ground beef and there is barely any grease, so I don’t bother draining it. Other times with regular/medium ground beef there is a little pool of grease at the bottom of the skillet, so I drain the grease before moving on to the next step.
Add Spices And Onion
Once the meat is fully cooked, add the blend of spices and the previously sautéed onion. Stir them in with the meat and cook for a few more minutes.
Grate The Potato
While the meat is browning in the skillet, you can grate the potatoes. I use Yukon Gold potatoes and like to leave the skin on. But, feel free to use a different kind of potato, and to peel them, if you prefer. Use a large hole grater and measure one cup of grated potato.
Stir In Potato And Broth
Next, dump the grated potato as well as the beef broth to the mixture. Lower the heat to medium low and let simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid has been pretty much completely absorbed by the potato.
Fill The Pie Shell
Once the filling has been made, it is important to let it cool down and come to room temperature before adding it to the pie shell. Once cooled, spoon the meat filling into the pie shell.
Gently pack the meat filling down and ensure that it is evenly spread across the pie.
The Upper Crust
Roll out the pie crust for the upper crust and gently lift it over the pie so that it is completely covered. Cut the edges off with a knife. I like to pinch the sides with my fingers to create a scalloped edge. Also cut a few slits in the centre to allow air and steam to escape. Finally, brush the top of the pie with cream. You could also use an egg wash.
How Long To Bake Meat Pie
Preheat the oven to 350F and bake the pies for about 60 minutes. I check on them after they have been in the oven for 50 minutes or so. You are looking for the pie crust to be nicely baked and for to develop a nice golden brown. Once baked, let them cool for a few minutes before serving.
What To Serve With Meat Pie?
This pie is a Christmas Eve family tradition. I have had it for the meal on December 24th for as long as I can remember. Here are a few dishes that we often have with this meat pie.
- Chili sauce – A family recipe going back generations, this is the perfect topping for the tourtière meat pie.
- Fried Catfish – This is so good because I love the crispy corn meal coating on the outside of this flavourful fish!
- Gumbo – We love this soup and it is perfect for Christmas Eve as some family arrive at different times.
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes – This goes very well with the meat pie and chili sauce.
- Candied Carrots – A classic holiday vegetable side dish.
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup shortening , or shortening
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 2-4 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1/2 onion , diced
- 1 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp ground sage
- 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 cup grated raw potatoes
- 1/3 cup beef broth
- 2 tbsp cream
Meat Filling Instructions
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft and starting to caramelise. Remove the onions from the skillet.
- Add the beef and pork to the skillet and brown until fully cooked. Break the meat up into small bits as it cooks. If there is a lot of grease, you can drain it before moving to the next step.
- Stir in the seasoning and the previously sautéed onion. Cook to a few more minutes.
- Add grated potatoes and broth. Lower the heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed in the potatoes. Turn off the heat and let the filling cool to room temperature.
Pie Crust Instructions
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour with the salt. Use a pastry blender to cut in the lard until it is a coarse meal consistency. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tbsp vinegar. Stir into the flour mixture. Add 2-4 tablespoons of water, one tablespoon at a time, to the pie dough. The dough should come together but not be too wet. Gather into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and place in a fridge to chill for at least half an hour.
- Roll out half of the pie pastry and lay out in pie plate. Make sure there is enough pastry to have it hang over the edge of the pie plate rim. Press down on all the edges and corners to make sure there are no air pockets. Use a knife to trim any off the pastry that is hanging over the rim of the plate.
Assembly and Baking Instructions
- Spoon the filling into the pie shell making sure it is evenly spread throughout. Gently pack the filling down.
- Roll out the top pie shell. Dip a finger in a little water and run it along the rim of the bottom pie shell. This helps the top crust stick and seal to the bottom.
- Lay the top shell on top of the pie. Use a knife to trim any overhanging pastry.
- Use two fingers to press on the rim pf the pie. Press down with the two fingers and push them together. this creates the scallop design on the rim of the pastry.
- Use a pastry brush to brush cream on the top of the pie.
- Cut 3 or 4 slits into the top of the pie.
- Bake in a 350F oven for 55-65 minutes. The pie should develop a beautiful golden brown crust.
- Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.