One of my favourite parts of Christmas is tourtière. Growing up, my mom always made it for Christmas, and after I left home I wanted to carry on that tradition. I’ve tried various recipes, but my go-to recipe is the one that was provided to me by MJ, one of my favourite fellow French-Canadians. Of course, I have tweaked it a bit to make it my own, as should you. Even if you don’t have French-Canadian roots, I would highly recommend you add tourtière to your Christmas baking list, everyone will love it.
450g lean ground pork & 900g extra lean ground beef (you can swap out some of the beef for ground veal if you want)
2 medium onions finely chopped
3 garlic cloves crushed
Ground savoury to taste (this is the herb that gives tourtière its classic taste)
Thyme to taste (I like using fresh thyme)
Cloves (I don’t use cloves, but some people like them)
2 carrots shredded
2 potatoes shredded
1 cup water
1 cup plain bread crumbs to get to the right texture (at end)
Salt, pepper and celery salt to taste
Start by browning the meat on medium-high heat in large metal pan. After the meat is cooked add the following onions, garlic and herbs, salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.
Next add the carrots, potatoes and water and let cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Add in the breadcrumbs, test for seasoning and remove from the heat to let cool.
While the filling is cooling, prepare the pie crusts. You can buy uncooked pastry shells from the grocery store but, personally, I like to make my own. I typically buy a box of Tenderflake® lard and use the recipe on the box.
5½ cups of all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1 lb (464 g) Tenderflake® lard
1 tbsp vinegar
1 egg, lightly beaten
Blend the flour and salt in a large bowl.
Cut the lard into the flour. You can use 2 knives or a pastry cutter until the flour and lard look coarse.
Put the egg and vinegar into a measuring cup. Add cold water until it reaches the 1 cup mark. It is important that the water is very cold. Gradually add the liquid to the flour until it can be gathered into a ball. Do not knead the dough. Separate into 6 even pieces, these are for the tops and bottoms of your tourtière.
Put the dough in the fridge for 30 mins to cool.
Flour your counter and rolling pin and roll out 3 of the balls and place into your pie plates. I often roll the pastry onto my rolling pin to make it easier to get into the pie plate.
Make sure the base is big enough to go over the edge of the pie plate so you have room to crimp it.
Divide the tourtière filling evenly amongst the 3 prepared bottoms.
Now roll out the last 3 balls of dough. I tend to keep the tops quite simple. I just cut a small hole to let out the steam. If you want, you can use any of the extra pastry that is left over to decorate the top. Just “glue” it on with an egg wash. Place a top on each pie, trim any excess pastry and crimp the edge … you can use your fingers or a fork to do this.
I like to bake one tourtière immediately (about 50 minutes at 400ºF) and I freeze the other two to be baked later.
Now all you have to do is grab a bottle of ketchup (my favourite topping) and tuck in! Bet you they won’t last until Christmas!!