Tourtière - Quebec Meat Pie Recipe
Tourtière - Quebec Meat Pie
Flavors of Quebec
Total time: 30 to 60 minutes

Resting time : 2 hours
Cooking time for filling : 1 hour
Cooking time for the meat pie : 30-40 minutes

Difficulty: Easy
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.
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

Making the pastry

  1. Pour the flour into a bowl or onto a work surface with a pinch of salt;
  2. cut the fat into the flour using two knives until the fat is in pea-sized pieces;
  3. gradually add in the water, mixing with a fork;
  4. press the mixture into two balls (it will have a grainy texture);
  5. roll each ball out on a lightly-floured surface using a rolling pin;
  6. line a pie plate or tart pan with the pastry, letting the pastry extend slightly over the edge of the plate - keeping in mind that the bottom crust should be larger than the top.

Filling and finishing

  1. Put the pork and onion into a large pot; season; cover with water and let simmer over medium heat for 60 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.

A light fruity red wine like Beaujolais if the meat pie is made with pork, beef or veal.

Or a stronger red wine if the meat pie is made with red meat and game.


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 Mauricie
You have to stop at the Guay Bakery to discover the tourtière of Pointe-du Lac made with big chunks of beef, pork, chicken and potatoes.

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.

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.

The choice is up to you… or create your own combination!

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 this 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.

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