A tourtière is a meat pie originating from Quebec, usually made with minced pork, sometimes veal and beef or a combination. It is a traditional part of the Christmas and or Christmas Eve celebration. It has been served by generations of French-Canadians throughout Canada. Tourtière remains a wonderful treat at my family’s Christmas table.
This recipe hails from my mother and her French-Canadian roots. My mother is a 10th generation French-Canadian and many of the traditions I have enjoyed in my childhood are a direct result of her heritage.
Every family seems to have it own version or “original recipe” passed down through the generations. My mother’s family arrived in Canada in mid 17th century; this recipe has been passed through each one of those generations. At Christmas time, my mother makes her tourtière, a tradition she completes each year, without question, committed to memory, taught to her not from a written recipe, but by standing alongside her mother and grandmothers. Only recently, I asked her to write it down for fear it would be lost to future generations. I suspect some of the ingredients have been altered over time based on the convenience of today’s readymade spices. I’m sharing it with you today. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.
(This recipe makes 8-10 pies, my mother makes them in advance and freezes them for Christmas day and for use throughout the holiday season. She sends us each home with our own pie on Christmas Day.
7 lbs of medium ground pork
3lbs of medium ground beef
4 bay leaves
2 large cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons of ground clove
3 tablespoons of poultry seasoning
2 teaspoons of ground sage
2 teaspoons of oregano
2 medium onions, chopped
1-2 sleeves of crackers
Place meat in large pot, cover with water, add bay leaves, chopped onions, bring to a boil, stir occasionally until half the moisture is boiled away, reduce heat, and add 1 or 2 sleeves of crushed crackers to thicken and then the remaining spices. Fill pie shells with meat mixture, cover with top crust and bake for 1hour at 350F until crust is golden brown. Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting and serving, or chill and freeze for future use.
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