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Tourtiere French Canadian Meat and Potato Pie

Introduction & method

Tourtière originated in the French-speaking Canadian region of Québec. It is usually eaten at Christmas and New Year. A tourtière is a big pie containing mixed minced meats and potatoes. Historically, more or less any meat would be used, including squirrel, rabbit and even moose. Nowadays tourtieres are made with pork, beef and veal.

Tourtiere French Canadian Meat and Potato Pie Recipe

Make the Pastry

If you are using store-bought pastry, skip this step.
In a large bowl, mix together the salt and the flour. About the fats: you can use all lard or all butter, or substitute the lard with any fat that's solid at room temperature - dripping, shortening etc. Cut the lard and butter into small cubes. Rub them into the flour with your fingertips. You want to end up with a mixture that's the texture of coarse sand. Fold in water, a bit at a time. You only need to use enough to make the dough hold together as a ball. Wrap in plastic film and put it in the fridge to rest for half an hour.

Prep the veggies

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1cm (half an inch) dice. Place in salted water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until tender. Scoop the potato out of the water and set aside. Keep the water for later. Top and tail, peel and slice/dice the onion. Crush/mince the garlic.

Cook the filling

Melt the lard in a large frying pan on medium-low heat. Gently cook the onions for about 5 minutes - try not to brown them. Add the garlic, seasoning and spices. Cook for a minute or two then add the meat. Keep breaking it up and turning it with a spatula until there is no pinkness left. Now add the potato and crush the cubes with a fork or a potato masher. Add a little of the water the potatoes were cooked in. Stir well and gently cook for another ten minutes. Give it a taste and add more salt if required. Transfer the filling to a cold bowl and cool it down to room temperature.

Assemble the pie

You'll need quite a large pie dish to make your tourtière in. It is meant to be quite a deep pie. I actually used the base of a tagine: it's 25cm (10 inches) diameter, 5½cm (2¼ inches) tall. I've also seen people use shallow cast-iron casserole dishes and flan tins. Whatever you choose, you might want to butter the inside of it to help release the baked pie.
Preheat your oven to 160°C (320°F) for a fan/convection oven, 180°C (356°F) conventional, gas 4. Sprinkle some flour on your worktop. Take half of the dough and roll it out into a disc that's a bit bigger than your 'pie dish'. Invert the dish on the pastry and cut around the rim. This will be the lid of the pie. Cut a hole in it to let steam escape - you might want to make it a bit festive, maybe cut a star shape. Roll out the remaining pastry. Place it in the pie dish and press it down. Trim any excess pastry from the edge. Fill the base with filling and smooth the top with a palette knife. Moisten the rim with water and put the lid on. Fold the top edge down over the edge of the base. Crimp the edge if you like - watch the video to see how I did mine. As we're beong festive, you might want to score some lines radiating out from the steam hole. Cut leaves or stars out of pastry and stick those on. Make up some eggwash by beating together one egg and a splash of milk. Paint this all over the top and crimping of the pie. Place it in the oven to bake for one hour until golden brown. You may need to turn the pie round halfway through to get it evenly coloured.
Leave the pie to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting it open. You can eat tourtière hot or cold.

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Ingredients & Info

 450 grams plain white (all purpose) flour
 125 grams lard
 125 grams butter
 1 tsp salt
 about 125 ml water
 450 grams minced pork
 450 grams minced beef
 450 grams potatoes
 1 large onion
  seasoning mix, see note below
 25 grams lard


Seasoning: 1 tsp salt, half a tsp ground black pepper, quarter tsp each ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg. Eggwash: 1 egg, splash of milk.

US Customary/Imperial

Serves 8 
Prep time: 20 minutes.
Resting time: 1 hour.
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes.
Total time: 2 hours 35 minutes.