French-Canadian Meat Pie - Tourtière Skip to content
French-Canadian Meat Pie

French-Canadian Meat Pie

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat large pot on stovetop over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until fat renders, about 5 minutes. Add the ground pork stirring frequently to break up the pork as it cooks. Stir in the onion and garlic then sprinkle with spices and salt. Add the potatoes then, stir everything together. Place the bouquet in the centre of the pan, pushing it down into the mixture. Pour the water over top and bury the bouquet garni under the cooking mixture. Place the lid on the pan and cook for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove the lid and cook for a final 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. When cool, lift out bouquet garni, squeeze any liquid into the pan, then discard. Drain any excess fat, if necessary.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disc of dough to a 12-inch round, about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate, letting excess dough hang over the edge. Trim excess dough away from the edge of the pie plate. Repeat with the second disc of dough. 
  4. Divide the meat filling between the two pie shells, smoothing out the top. Set aside.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll remaining two discs of dough to 12-inch rounds, about 1/4-inch thick. Place dough over the filling. Trim the top disc of dough a little larger than the bottom then, fold top edge underneath and crimp. Cut a few slits into the top to vent steam. Roll out leftover dough and cut out shapes using cookie cutters. Brush the tops of the pies with egg wash. Brush the tops and bottoms of the cookie-cut dough then place in the centre of each crust. 
  6. Transfer pies to oven and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is hot. Rotate pies halfway through. 
  7. Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack. Cool for 30 minutes before serving.
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French-Canadian Meat Pie

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A fragrant sauté of spiced pork and bacon baked in a gloriously flaky crust…

  • clock icon
    100 MIN
  • 6-8 SERVINGS
French-Canadian Meat Pie - Tourtière

Don’t wait for a special occasion, this FRENCH-CANADIAN MEAT PIE is perfect any day!

A traditional recipe for FRENCH-CANADIAN MEAT PIE, or tourtière, is a perennial, crowd-pleasing favourite. Although often served as a festive main on Christmas Eve, we’ve learned family and friends love it any time we serve it. What’s not to love about a fragrantly spiced meat pie made with a rich, flaky crust? Actually, this homemade savoury pie is leagues ahead of the store-bought varieties available nowadays. This recipe has so much going for it, we can barely contain our excitement. 

Here’s what to expect when preparing this recipe:

  • This yields two pies, so you’ll be able to serve 6 – 8 guests, and maybe if you’re lucky, have a wedge or two left over.
  • The pies are made with an easy-to-replicate butter-shortening crust.
  • A combination of ground pork and bacon is used giving the filling a pleasing richness. 
  • Our FRENCH-CANADIAN MEAT PIE recipe is seasoned with cinnamon, cloves and dried savoury, plus the added boost of a bouquet garni to enhance the taste of the meat filling.

This recipe is such a keeper, we’re suggesting you do just that. BOOKMARK this page for future reference and PIN this recipe to a favourite Pinterest board. We’d also love you to SHARE this post with your friends and family. Thanks!

Right now though, here are some tips on making FRENCH-CANADIAN MEAT PIE:

Doesn’t take much to make this festive holiday main course.

INGREDIENTS

We were pleasantly surprised when we assembled the various ingredients needed to make this savoury meat pie from scratch. Ground pork and bacon, a few veggies, some seasoning and pie dough, all seemed too good to be true. We were like “you better check it again”. So we did, only to realize that it really doesn’t take a lot to make these highly delicious pies. One suggestion; track down the best quality ingredients, selecting organic options whenever available. You will taste a difference.

Ground Pork and sliced bacon.
Try to use a double-smoked bacon for added flavour.

MEATS

Tourtière can be made with a number of meats, from pork, beef and veal to chicken, game birds and venison. Originating in the Canadian province of Quebec, the pies can also have subtle differences depending on the region from which the recipe originates. Head HERE to learn more about the different types of tourtière. Our recipe is similar to a Montreal-style FRENCH-CANADIAN MEAT PIE made with finely ground pork. We then added a hint of smoky flavouring by using bacon instead of ground beef or veal. In retrospect, how could it not be better? It’s bacon!

Finely diced onion, garlic and potato.
Finely dice the onion, garlic and potato before you begin the recipe.

VEGETABLES

The vegetables used in this savoury pie recipe provide the perfect flavour balance without overpowering the dish. The onion and garlic pair well to enhance the flavour of the pork, while the finely diced potato adds both flavour and structure to the filling. The potatoes soften as the filling cooks, giving the dish that classic hearty “meat-and-potatoes” feel. Although some folks like to make this dish using mashed potatoes, we think a finely diced potato is the way to go. The little chunks give the filling an appealing texture.

You'll need 4 discs of savoury pie dough for the recipe.
Four discs of dough mean we’re making 2 meat pies, hurray!

PIE DOUGH

Whenever we post a story about making a fruit or sweet pie – think LEMON MERINGUE, CHERRY, CHOCOLATE-WALNUT or RHUBARB – I always suggest using an ALL-BUTTER PIE CRUST. The butteriness of the dough amplifies the sweet flavour. For savoury pies such as this one, I’ve found a dough made using butter and lard or vegetable shortening works better. This dough is slightly flakier and bakes off to a rich golden colour that compliments the filling well. One little reminder regarding the pie dough for this recipe: double it. After all, you will be making two pies.

The pie filling is prepared in a deep skillet.
Preparing this filling will fill your kitchen with pleasant, appetizing aromas.

MEAT FILLING

Cooking up the meat filling for our FRENCH-CANADIAN MEAT PIE is a breeze. One suggestion is to stir or mash the meat frequently to break it up while it cooks in a large skillet. This will give the mixture a soft crumble texture, helping to keep the meat tender while evenly distributing the flavours of the onion, garlic, potatoes and spices. Don’t forget to taste the filling before assembling the pies; season it to your liking by adding a pinch more of cinnamon, clove, savoury, pepper or kosher salt. One last tip on the meat filling is that not all ground pork and bacon are the same. Feel free to drain off any excess fat from the cooked meat mixture if need be. 

Savoury, ground cloves, whole cloves, black peppercorn and cinnamon
Feel free to add more or less of our suggested spices, to taste.

SPICES

During the testing of this meat pie recipe, we discovered a few things about subtly spicing a dish. Unlike our BEST BEEF CHILI or OVEN-BAKED NACHOS where big, bold spice flavours reign supreme, this meat pie calls for a “less is more” approach. So, with just the right amount of savoury, cinnamon, cloves and black peppercorns, the flavours can be memorable but not overpowering. Some people also add a pinch of nutmeg, thyme or sage to their meat pies. Feel free to do so if you’d like, but don’t get overzealous; subtle is the word of the day on this one.

A bouquet garni comprised of whole cloves and whole black peppercorns,
We’re loving this spicy trick with the bouquet garni. Who knew?

BOUQUET GARNI

Speaking of spices, we went one step further and added a deeper layer of flavouring thanks to the addition of a bouquet garni. Traditionally it’s a small gathering of fresh herbs that gets tied together and tossed into a stock, broth or sauce, but the bouquet garni for this recipe is more basic. We tied up whole cloves and peppercorns in a square of cheesecloth and added it to the meat filling while it cooked. It gives the meat mixture that extra something. Love it.

The pie shells filled with the cooled meat filling.
Smooth the filling out to an even layer within the shells.

FILL THE PIE

Rolling out the discs of pie dough and filling two 9-inch pie plates is only tricky if you’re new to pie making. If that’s the case, here’s the deal; we’ve all been there and practice makes perfect. Just go slowly and maybe watch this VIDEO before you begin just to see how we did it. It’s really not that hard. One suggestion when you go to fill the shells is to divide the filling evenly between the two sheets, then distribute the filling within the pie crust. Don’t push down on it, just get a nice level fill.

The pies assembled and ready for final festive details
Use the leftover dough to cut little toppers for each pie.

ASSEMBLE

Similar to the above comment for first-time pie makers, the same goes for when you add the top crust – go slowly to seal the edge, then crimp the dough all around. The nice thing about this recipe is that it welcomes a bit of rustic charm. In a way, a less-than-perfect look showcases the whole handmade, homemade vibe, and that’s good!

The Tourtière ready for the oven.
Finish each meat pie with a brush of egg wash and they’re ready for the oven.

Don’t be surprised by the amount of dough left over after trimming the excess away from the edge. You can wrap it up and freeze it to make one or two smaller individual pies down the road, or do as we did and cut out little shapes to decorate these meat pies. If making this in or around the holidays, pull out your seasonal cookie cutters; they’ll be excellent for this enhancement.

French-Canadian Meat Pie fresh out of the oven - Tourtière
Love the flaky crust and the fragrant filling.

BAKE

There’s nothing out of the ordinary with the baking of these pies, although I always rotate them – and in fact, all my baked goods – halfway through. My vintage oven doesn’t always bake evenly, especially during the cold weather months. Beyond that, bake away until the crusts of the pies turn a rich golden brown and the egg wash gets glossy. Don’t forget to allow at least 30 minutes for the pies to cool before serving. 

Tourtière served with a fresh salad and a dollop of tangy cranberry sauce.
You’ll need little more than a delicious salad and a tangy cranberry sauce to serve.

SERVE

Although we’re pitching this main course idea as a chill, relaxed meal with family or friends, feel free to include it on a grand holiday buffet too. It truly needs little more than a great side like our KALE-PARMESAN SALAD and maybe a dollop of our tangy CRANBERRY SAUCE. I also think this is one of those recipes that welcomes our ORANGE GLAZED BEETS and our famous BREAD & BUTTER PICKLES. The flavour of the pie itself always gets the biggest praise. It’s quite fab!

Famous for good reason, these FRENCH CANADIAN MEAT PIES are your next must-make meal idea. Enjoy!

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French-Canadian Meat Pie

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French-Canadian Meat Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 6 rashers of bacon, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried savoury
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 medium potato, finely diced
  • cup water
  • 4 discs savoury pie dough
  • For the bouquet garni:
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • Egg wash:
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon water

Directions

  1. Heat large pot on stovetop over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until fat renders, about 5 minutes. Add the ground pork stirring frequently to break up the pork as it cooks. Stir in the onion and garlic then sprinkle with spices and salt. Add the potatoes then, stir everything together. Place the bouquet in the centre of the pan, pushing it down into the mixture. Pour the water over top and bury the bouquet garni under the cooking mixture. Place the lid on the pan and cook for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove the lid and cook for a final 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. When cool, lift out bouquet garni, squeeze any liquid into the pan, then discard. Drain any excess fat, if necessary.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disc of dough to a 12-inch round, about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate, letting excess dough hang over the edge. Trim excess dough away from the edge of the pie plate. Repeat with the second disc of dough. 
  4. Divide the meat filling between the two pie shells, smoothing out the top. Set aside.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll remaining two discs of dough to 12-inch rounds, about 1/4-inch thick. Place dough over the filling. Trim the top disc of dough a little larger than the bottom then, fold top edge underneath and crimp. Cut a few slits into the top to vent steam. Roll out leftover dough and cut out shapes using cookie cutters. Brush the tops of the pies with egg wash. Brush the tops and bottoms of the cookie-cut dough then place in the centre of each crust. 
  6. Transfer pies to oven and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is hot. Rotate pies halfway through. 
  7. Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack. Cool for 30 minutes before serving.

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