Subtle seasonings enhance the flavours of this traditional savoury meat pie, prepared with venison, beef, veal and pork. Deserving of great praise, TOURTIÈRE is one of Quebec’s many gifts to the world, and I’m thankful each time I enjoy it.
I first tried TOURTIÈRE during a trip my grade nine French class took to Quebec City. Our teachers had organized a lunch at AUX ANCIENS CANADIENS, the famed restaurant operating in the oldest house in Quebec. I’ll never forget my very first bite of TOURTIÈRE that day – I instantly knew that I was eating something completely unique and unto itself.
Traditionally served on both Christmas and New Year’s Eve, TOURTIÈRE can also be served whenever the mood strikes. I especially like to prepare it for a late autumn or midwinter dinner. It is comfort food at its best. This recipe is a family favourite from Chef Robert Bourassa who ran the kitchens at the famous, but alas now closed, Café Henry Burger in Hull, Quebec.
Here are some tips about TOURTIÈRE to assist with preparation:
MEATS – Some insist that an authentic TOURTIÈRE is made only using pork. I’ve made them many different ways but have come to appreciate Bourassa’s call for the inclusion of pork, beef, veal and venison. This blend of tender, juicy and gamey meats yields a pie rich in flavour.
CHOP – The recipe calls for chopped onion, celery and garlic but please chop them finely. The fine chop makes them almost disappear within the cooked meats, but the important flavours will be ever-present and create a well-blended filling.
SUBTLE – The goal is to taste the subtlety of the spices without a particular one standing out, so do not add more spice than the amounts given in the recipe. I think this also helps create a lovely fragrant aroma distinctive to this dish. When the filling is prepared, you’ll need to add salt and pepper to taste – be careful not to over-salt.
CRUST – Please use this PIE DOUGH RECIPE for your crust, but make two changes – blend one tablespoon of sugar into the flour and salt mixture, and use white wine vinegar instead of plain white vinegar. These two tiny tweaks add even more flavour.
EGG WASH – Brush the interior of the pastry shell with an egg wash before adding the filling. This will create a protein shield and ensure that the pastry cooks but does not become soggy.
CONDIMENT PAIRING – We recently met the talented team behind CHARTIER, a fabulous resto in Beaumont, Alberta. Chef Steve Brochu and restaurateurs Sylvia and Darren Cheverie introduced us to the perfect condiment to go with TOURTIÈRE, their fabulous RHUBARB RELISH. Head HERE to watch our 1-minute City Slicker video on how to make it. We also invite you to head HERE to learn more about CHARTIER!
Once your TOURTIÈRE is baked, allow it to cool for 15 minutes before you serve. I like to present it with a SIMPLE SALAD or a flavourful vegetable side dish like SPICED LIME GINGER CARROTS. Click the video link or photos above to see this recipe prepared from start to finish.
The stuff of legends, this heavenly savoury meat pie hails from Canada’s Belle Province, Quebec. Assorted meats, a delicate dash of spices and a flaky crust, TOURTIÈRE is, without doubt, the meat pie lover’s dream come true!
egg wash - one egg whisked with 2 teaspoons of water
In a large frying pan, sauté meats on high heat until well browned. Add onion, celery and garlic: sauté until soft.
Add red wine to deglaze the pan and reduce until virtually no liquid remains.
Add spices, fresh thyme, bay leaf and stock and, simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in rolled oats and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
Remove thyme and bay leaf and add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Prepare pie dough. Prepare egg wash by whisking egg together with two teaspoons of water. Roll out pie dough and place into a 10-inch pie plate. Brush lightly with egg wash.
Fill with meat mixture and cover with pastry top. Brush top crust with egg wash. Crimp edges and cut air vents to allow steam to escape.
Bake in a pre-heated 350°F oven until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.
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Listening to great music is an important part of every Weekend at the Cottage! I listened to Songs and Dances of Quebec – Various Artists while preparing this traditional French Canadian meal. Visit iTunes to add this joyous album to your collection.
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