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Growing up in Montréal, the winters were long and cold. We spent so many months of the year bundled up that I never owned a pair of flip flops until I was an adult. It just felt weird to have my feet exposed, so I wore sneakers even in the summer. Fortunately, my hometown is known for it’s fabulous food, one of them being the traditional French Canadian tourtière.

Basically, it’s a meat pie but the flavors will knock your socks off. Plus, it’s just the ultimate comfort food. While most of the recipes on this site are low carb, this dish definitely is not. I did, however, find a low carb, gluten free version. It looks great, but this dish means too much to me. I’ll have to save it for special occasions, but I have to eat it as it was originally intended.

If you’ve ever wanted to make a French Canadian tourtière, the best time is the middle of winter. Even though we live in the States now, we celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with a meat pie. We make another one on Christmas Eve. While I normally throw together my own, the one I’m sharing is an adaptation of the fantastic one I found on AllRecipes.com!

Making Your First Tourtière

For sides, we rotate between salads, mashed potatoes, and if we’re feeling particularly indulgent, poutine. Back home, you might see French Canadian tourtière served with maple baked beans (I’m not a fan). Honestly, I can just park in front of the television with a slice (or two!) of this and watch a whole hockey game. That’s how Canadian it makes me feel!

Tourtiere

One of the most important things to master, though, is the texture of the meat. You can’t cook it up like you would for tacos or pasta. You almost boil it, smooshing it up along the way. Then, of course, you’ve got to work in a mashed potato too. The result is a glorious, velvety filling that is like no other!

Of course, using a fattier meat (some use a mixture of ground beef, ground pork, and ground veal) will make this even smoother. I’m pretty partial to my ground turkey or chicken, so I’ve learned ways around it. It’s not quite the same, but it’s close!

Tourtiere

Making French Canadian tourtière takes practice, so don’t feel bad if it takes a few tries! Even experienced veterans will have one that turns out better than another. Keep trying! It will be totally worth it in the end. Unless you really hate meat pie, in which case, I’m not sure you should have clicked on this recipe at all! 

Camps are divided on this, but I love a little ketchup on the side. Josh likes to drizzle (more like POUR) some gravy over top. To each their own, we say.  And, for once, my Canadian heart doesn’t feel like it needs to apologize. Instead, I’m hoping you’ll invite us over for a taste. Bon appétit!

French Canadian Meat Pie Recipe

Ready to try it for yourself? To get the truest taste, you’ll need to use ground beef and ground veal, but I only use ground turkey. It’s still very good and very close to the real thing. I’m craving this so much right now! Okay, before I get too hungry and distracted, here’s the recipe!

Ingredients
  • Crust:
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    2 sticks unsalted butter sliced, frozen
    7 tablespoons ice cold water
    2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • Seasoning:
    2 teaspoons kosher salt
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/2 teaspoon dried sage
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • Filling:
    1 large russet potato peeled, quartered
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 tablespoon butter
    1 large onion finely chopped
    1 pinch salt
    4 cloves garlic crushed
    1/2 cup finely diced celery
    1 pound ground pork
    1 pound ground meat
    2 pounds ground turkey (as an alternative to beef and pork)
    1 cup potato cooking water plus more as needed
  • Egg Wash:
    1 large egg
    1 tablespoon water
Instructions

There are a LOT of steps to making a French Canadian tourtiere meat pie. Sorry! I can say, though, that it will be entirely worth the effort when you have that first bite!

Crust:
  • Place flour, salt, and frozen butter slices into a food processor. Pulse until butter is about the size of peas (about 30 seconds).
  • Stir vinegar into cold water, drizzle into the flour mixture. Pulse until mixture is crumbly and holds together when you pinch off a piece (about 10 seconds). If dough isn’t sticking together, add another teaspoon of water.
  • Transfer mixture to a flat surface. Press until it becomes a lump of dough. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled (at least 1 hour).
Meat Mixture
  • Mix salt, pepper, thyme, sage, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, mustard, clove, and cayenne together in a small bowl.
  • Place potato quarters in a saucepan; cover with cold water. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat. Simmer until cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Scoop out potatoes and transfer to a bowl; save cooking liquid. Mash potatoes with a potato masher.
  • Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion and a pinch of salt. Cook and stir until onions turn golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Stir garlic, celery, and spice blend into the skillet with onions. Stir until onion mixture is evenly coated with the spices, about 30 seconds. Add ground beef and ground pork. Ladle about 3/4 cup of the potato cooking liquid into the skillet.
  • Cook and stir until meat is browned and has a very fine, almost pastelike texture. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 45 minutes. Stir in mashed potatoes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Assembling the Meat Pie
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  • Divide chilled dough into 2 pieces, one just slightly larger than the other. Roll the larger piece out into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured work surface. Place in a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Roll top crust out into a circle about 11 inches in diameter. Cut small slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape.
  • Fill bottom crust with the meat mixture; smooth out the surface. Whisk egg and water together to make egg wash. Brush edges of the bottom crust with egg wash. Place top crust on the pie and press lightly around the edges to seal. Trim excess dough from the crust. Crimp the edges of the crust. Brush entire surface of the pie with egg wash.
  • Place in preheated oven. Bake until well browned, about 1 hour. Let cool to almost room temperature before serving.