French Meat Pie, also called Tourtiere, is a classic French-Canadian dish that combines potatoes, onions, and spices, all enveloped in a buttery pie crust. Tourtiere is often served at the holidays.
Tourtiere is often served at the holidays and in some families even graces the table at Canadian Thanksgiving where it is served in smaller slices alongside the Turkey and trimmings.
This recipe was passed down from my father’s mémère (grandmother) to my grandmother who passed it onto my mother after my mother and father were married.
For decades, my mother followed in the tradition of my grandmother making the meat pie for my father and his siblings. After my mom passed away, my aunt Jane began making the meat pies for my father and our family.
My Aunt Jane has passed the torch down to me and sent me a photocopy of my Mémère’s recipe. I tried the recipe out on my family at Christmas when we all gathered together. My Dad said it’s spot on to what he remembers.
We actually ended up making this twice over the Christmas holidays because the family enjoyed it so much. One change I made was to add a rich, scratch-made beef gravy to be added at the table. My family really enjoyed this addition.
Like most family recipes, the recipe for French meat pie, Tourtiere, varies from family to family. While my family loves the addition of the potatoes to the pie, not all families added potatoes.
This was a way to stretch the meat (budget) and feed the whole family. We find that they keep this rather dense pie from being dry and helps hold the filling together.
French Meat Pie (Tourtiere)
- Pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)
- 1 egg , beaten (for pie crust) [See Note 1]
For the Filling:
- 1-1/4 pounds ground pork
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 cup lumpy mashed potatoes
- 1/2 cup grated onion
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1/8 (pinch) teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water , divided
- 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
- 1 egg , beaten
- In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground pork and ground beef along with the onion and garlic until the meat is no longer pink; drain excess fat. Stir in the mashed potatoes, seasonings, and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer; cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Remove from the heat; cool to room temperature. Stir in bread crumbs. Combine egg and remaining water; stir into meat mixture.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 9-in. pie plate with bottom pastry; trim even with edge. Fill with meat mixture. Place second pie dough over the filling. Trim crust and crimp to seal then flute the edges. Cut slits in top pastry. With egg wash (or milk) brush the top pastry (promotes browning). Cover edges loosely with foil.
- Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees F then remove the foil around the edge and reduce the heat to 375 degrees F.
- Bake 30-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Slice and serve warm. Serve with a side of brown gravy (optional).
- Brush uncooked top pie pastry with eggwash (or milk) to promote browning. May omit without substitution.