Friday, December 8, 2017

Tourtière – A Meaty Holiday Main Course That’s Easy as Pie

Many holiday main course recipes involve expensive ingredients, and/or time consuming, complicated techniques, not to mention the anxiety that comes along with worrying whether all that time and money will have been worth it. I’m looking at you, dry, overcooked beef wellington.

If you want to avoid all that, maybe consider making tourtière. This French-Canadian meat pie is hearty, satisfying, easy to make, visually impressive, relatively affordable, and since it’s best served at room temperature, doesn’t require any kind of precise timing.

You can also easily tailor this to your own tastes, since other than the ground meat and mashed potato, pretty much anything goes. Or, make it just like this. I’ve only had tourtière a handful of times, so I’m certainly no expert, but I thought this came out extremely well, and I wouldn’t change anything when I make it again.

Although, I may try it with some beef gravy, as a few of my Canadian friends have suggested. Some even suggest ketchup, which I did try on a cold slice, and not surprisingly it was delicious. But, no matter how you serve this tourtière, I really do hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for one 9-inch Tourtière:

For the crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, sliced, frozen
7 tablespoons ice cold *water
2 teaspoons white distilled vinegar
*add a little more if dough isn’t pressing together

1 large russet potato, boiled in enough salted water to cover (reserve water)

1 tablespoon butter
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 cup potato water, plus more as needed

For the spice blend:
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 ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
pinch cayenne

For the egg wash:
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water

Please note: Once your filling has cooled, taste for salt, and adjust before filling the crust.

- Bake at 375 F. for 1 hour, or until browned


nightsmusic said...

This looks delicious! And easy. And you've baked it in a lovely, deep, deep pie dish. Who makes that dish you used? I can't ever seem to find any that are more than the regulation depth...

Cantwell said...

Thank you Chef John! A wonderful recipe that hits close to home. I grew up in a border town and spent my youth pursuing similar goals as you described in your video. I reckon we are alumni of the same school. My wife insists that I try your rendition of this classic. Yum!

SassyKat said...

Chef John - would this freeze well? I am looking for items to make ahead. Also debating on it as a breakfast item.

Sandra from Montreal said...

Ok, so first things first: I'm guessing you while you were in town you were drinking our excellent Canadian beer and checking out Chez Parée :)
This recipe looks amazing. My Grandmother and Mom always made this at Christmas, but I've never attempted it - this recipe has , as usual, made me believe I might actually be able to pull this off!
Thanks so much for all the amazing work you do. My family actually thinks I can cook now :)
Happy holidays, Chef John, to you and your family!

(PS...very nice pronunciation of "toutière").

Sandra from Montreal said...

I've never heard of gravy with tourtière (but how bad could that be!?), but ketchup is always served with it. :)

KBO said...

G'day Chef John,
To an Aussie the concept of a cool or cold meat pie is terrifying. Hot meat pies with Tomato Sauce (Ketsup?) is a deeply rooted tradition.
However, this recipe looks so interesting I will give it a go. Might even add a bit of ground left over duck with some veal and have this on Boxing Day (look it up).

Could you please answer a vital question that has, I think, slightly marred some of your recipes when I do them. This Kosher Salt you always use; I can't buy it downunder and when I use the same amount of sea salt my dishes are always way over salted, even for my salt loving taste. So what's the skinny with the difference between Kosher and Sea salt? Do I quarter, halve or change the type of salt completely?

Other than that, your recipes have been inspirational and have rekindled the passion for cooking in this ol' retired cook. Thank you!

All the best for Christmas and the New Year!
Bill Halliwell Hobart Tasmania

Unknown said...

I making this for christmas.. normally have a big family gathering, so this will be perfect.

Snow said...

Good morning Chief, I'd like to know how many serving can I make with this recipe.

Greetings from Ecuador

Adam and Jinny said...

Thank you for the recipe, Chef John! If I wanted to make the crust dough in advance, how "in advance" is TOO "in advance"? Thank you for your advance. I mean, advice. ;-)

Unknown said...

Fantastic work, looks very delicious and satisfying, but Today I'm making your Parmesan chicken bake.

Unknown said...

You're going to do poutine!?!?! Ohhhhhh! Yesss!
You know, a promise made is a debt unpaid!
Wow! Your video not only just made my day but also my whole holiday season!
Ohhhh! Yeah! You've done it again!
Lov u 4 ever!

Thank you soooo much!

Unknown said...

Oh! I forgot, your video of tourtiere is amazing!
And you hit all the marks with it.
Can't wait to try it out.
And now I need to buy a food processor to make the dough, asking Santa Claus first though ;-)
Best wishes to you, CJ!

GottaTasteEmAll said...

Wow, I certainly wasn't expecting a Quebecois dish. Does this mean there's a chance of a poutine video in the future? It's crazy how such a simple thing as poutine can be done so wrong, I'd love too see Chef John's take on it.

Ted said...

Grandma's meat pie was mandatory come Christmas time. This one looks as good, if not better. Can't wait to try it.

Anonymous said...

This is one of my family traditions. Every December I make three or four, freeze one or two, and make sure there is some in the fridge for the offspring to dip into as needed. There are many definite dos and don'ts with regards to the recipe, ie. no potato!, or no onion!, or all the vegetables! I use potato, onion, celery, carrot, maybe greens even, (no brassicas, though) anything to get in more vegetables.

Keggin said...

Beer and strippers, eh?

Chris K. said...

So basically you just made a sloppy joe pastie?

tenshi chan said...

If we have a "Food Wish", how do we submit it for consideration? Thanks!

Jay B. said...

Looks good....pretty authentic ...except up here in Canada we use beef stock instead of potato water....also homemade chili sauce is the condiment of choice....thanks for the Canadian nod!

Jmdfromqc said...

Merci Chef! My father used to eat is with maple syrup. No surprise there! And we enjoy it with fruit ketchup (something like chutney). Your crust is amazing! Happy to see this family classic on your blogl

Je la ferai c'est certain!
Jeanne de Blainville, Québec

Jmdfromqc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Hi Chef John! Is it possible to make the dough with a blender. Since i don't have a food processor that big, i'd like to know if it's possible to make the dough using other tools.

Awesome video, as usual.

Greetings from Brazil!

Unknown said...

Chef John, I've been eating Tourtière every Christmas and New Years since I was a boy. Even after moving to China I still make it, to truly experience the holidays while living in a nontraditional Christmas environment. I haven't even watched the video yet, but I scanned the ingredients for some key items; cloves, dry mustard and sage. Merveilleux.

Carl said...

Beautiful !

Jafo said...

Hey Chef John, can you recommend some dimensions on the pie pan? Thanks.

Unknown said...

Hi Chef Jon,
Thanks so much for doing a French Meat pie video! Before she passed my mother made sure that I knew her recipe. At the time I didn’t really care for meat pie, but now I love it. I like to have it with horseradish and ketchup. Not traditional, but very delicious. Another delicious dish in our family was pork roast with brown potatoes, which Is probably more of a technique.
I love your pie plate! Can you tell me where you got it?
Thanks for representin’ us French Canadians! We all love your videos and humor in our house! And we learn alot , too!

Unknown said...

Chef if I want to serve the dish warm how long do I must wait to cut the pie when it is out of the oven 😊

Matt O said...

Would love to know if it's Diamond Crstal or Morton's, particularly in the crust. Significant amount difference.

Estoy_Listo said...

You can eat this at room temperature?

In our house the pie was baking as we opened our presents Christmas morning. My memories of which include heartburn and a burnt tongue. Great times.

Mom used breadcrumbs and pork and allspice. That was it. Thanks for the recipe, Chef John. Looking forward to making this for Christmas and eating it at room temp.

NanKo said...

Looks great. Can’t wait to try it. Not sure where to ask this but can you do a video for tamales?

NanKo said...

Looks great. Can’t wait to attempt this. Did it know where to ask this question but can you make a tamales video?

Way said...

Thanks again for the great recipes and videos! Feeling a bit sorry that no one had commented on this post. I made this a couple of days ago and it turned out great, despite having a food processor that was too small. Instead of your filling, I experimented and made it like a chinese pastry I love that is usually something like a flaky turnover but filled with a curry beef mixture. Why not a pie version? So I used your combo of beef and pork with the onions, celery, garlic and potato combined with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of curry powder. I liked the way you used the potato water to hep break up the meat. I used a potato masher instead of the wooden spoon and that seemed to help. Hate seeing the cooked ground meat looking like little noodles! Anyway the result was a very delicious curry beef/pork pie that even my wife enjoyed!

Roberto said...

I made this the other night but I cheated by using a store bought crust. It was yummy.

Dave .... said...

Greetings, Chef. I made this today and had a great time doing it. The steps dovetail into one another nicely and I got the dough and the filling done at about the same time - about an hour all-in. Then chilled the dough and let the filling cool. Rolled out the dough and assembled the pie in a 10" cast iron skillet. it took about 10 minutes, mostly due to timidity - next time I will be "the Rambo of my dough". Baking took a full hour and I did not achieve the beautiful brownness you got in your video - need to check my oven temp, I think. As I write, it is cooling on a rack and smelling delicious. We will have it for supper tonight, without gravy. perhaps tomorrow. Thanks for a great recipe. I have tasted all the parts, so I know this is going to be fantastic. So unless there is some problem, no news is good news.

Beatrice Lawson said...

Chef, thank you!!! Since moving away from Montreal I have missed a proper tourtière. Quick question (as the meat is simmering on the stove). At what point in the process can we freeze it? I am making the dough right now and wondering whether I should freeze the meat and dough separately and assemble for Christmas, or can I put it all together up to the edge crimping phase and then freeze? That probably adds some baking time at the end but that's fine. I just don't want the pie bottom to get soggy while it freezes?

Tracy said...

I have only one question-why vinegar in the crust? I have been meaning to ask this for a while.

Unknown said...

Just finished putting this together, another 1/2 hour to go in the oven.

ghack said...


I am wondering if there is a lineage. Seems the consensus is a derivation of and empanada, certainly in the form, but perhaps a blending os something familiar mixed with something new?

Anyway, added juice of half a lemon to the meat...and I am in Louisiana, so a lot more Cayenne, 50% more spice.

Lou Quillio said...

I, too, was struck by John's pie plate. Appears to be this one:

Just ordered it.


Unknown said...

My family has adopted a leaner version of Tourtière. The idea is to brown the veal and the pork in the pan where the onions where cooked but not add water. Once they are browned, we reserve the fat and juices in the pan in a heatproof jar and let it cool, then put it in the fridge so that the fat separates from the juices.

We also use chicken thighs cut extremely fine (a bit bigger than if it was grinded) and brown it too in the same pan. Trasfer in the same bowl where your other meats are waiting.

Add to the meats sautéed mushrooms.

Season this mixture with only clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper.

Deglaze the pan with white wine and chicken stock. Take the grease out of the refrigerated jar (it should be thick and easy to remove) and add to the pan the remaining veal and pork juices. With the starch of your choice (i prefere tapioca or potato starch for it does not leave a bitter aftertaste as corn starch does), thicken this sauce and add it to the meat mixture. add salt to taste. It shoul not be runny, the sauce should be thick. I usually drain the juices that have accumulated in the cooked meats bowl back to the sauce to thicken them too.

No mashed potatoes are needed.

Fill in your crust and bake untill golden.

Miam, miam, miam. Not greasy, not mushy, pure bliss!

i make several tourtières at a time and freeze them. So easy to take one out of the freezer when unexpected guests come to wish you Merry Christmass.

Hope you try it. If you do, let me know.

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Cara Mia said...

I just made this pie and HOLY SMOKES! It was the BEST tourtiere I've ever eaten! Better than the one I had in Montreal!

As to the ketchup issue, I can only ask, "Why?"

Mary said...

In going to be making this as I've been looking for a good French meat pie recipe. Here in Massachusetts we serve it with Heinz chili sauce, not ketchup.