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Best secret family tourtiere recipe

OK - no longer a secret, but I wanted to share this good recipe for tourtiere - a French Canadian meat pie. It's often served after Midnight Mass, or at New Years. Possibly with Moose Milk. There are certainly a lot of recipes to be found online, many of them the best and/or secret. Try this one, we've used it several times at different events. I've listed the general ingredients, plus the specific quantities we used last time we made it. Do feel free to adjust and experiment with the numbers. Some recipes use rolled oats to thicken - try it. Taste often while cooking - make sure the sous chef has many clean spoons at the ready. And some wine handy to cleanse the palate between tastings.

The recipe below makes four pies - regular, not deep dish.


  • 4 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb medium ground beef (not lean)
  • finely chopped onion and celery   (1/2 cup celery, one medium onion) 
  • ground savoury   (2-3 tsp)
  • ground thyme   (2-3 tsp)
  • dried or fresh parsley   (1/2 cup chopped fresh)
  • chicken stock (low salt)   (1/2 - 1 cup)
  • instant mashed potato flakes (90g pkg)
  • 2 tb butter
  • salt (1-2 tsp) and pepper to taste

Cook onion and celery in butter until translucent. Add meat, cook over medium heat, do not brown. Drain some of the fat off. Add herbs. Keep stirring and let boil down a bit. Add potato flakes to thicken. Add stock to flavour and to moisten, amount depends on how moist ground meat was. Mixture should be firm enough to form a ball if - hypothetically - you were to do so with your hands. Salt and pepper to taste.


Tenderflake frozen pie crust - regular, not deep dish. Honest, don't fuss with making from scratch, unless you're good at it. These are made with lard, no work for you, very tasty. A package of two shells makes one pie, using one shell for top.

Let frozen shells warm up a bit, so that you can work the tops.

And let the tourtiere mix cool a bit - sit the pot out on the back porch, or in a snowbank. 

Fill pie shells, moisten edge, add top crust and pinch edges together, cut slashes and/or decorative holes. Perhaps add a family monogram.

You can prebake at 375  for 30 minutes, then freeze, and finish baking when needed. Or freeze right away, and bake later on for 60 minutes or so, until hot and browned. Longer if right from freezer to oven. I've tried prebaking or not, and prefer the latter - simpler. In either case you may need to use loose foil if browning too fast. When it's done, let it sit for 10 minutes to firm up, then serve. Goes well with a a small salad on the plate, maybe some carrots for colour, and a tomato chow-chow relish. Kids may prefer to add the traditional layer of ketchup. 




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Almost identical to my 'secret' family recipe, except mine uses all pork and includes a pinch of dry mustard, pinch of nutmeg, and about 1/4 tsp of cloves (I was always told that cloves are essential for traditional flavour). You're certainly right about the frozen pastry, but if you want to make it from scratch, you can't beat the recipe on the Tenderflake lard box. If you paint the top crust with beaten egg before baking it turns a beautiful golden colour.
Bonne Annee!

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