9 December 2007

Going Traditional French Canadian with Tourtiere...

It is a blissfully quiet Sunday afternoon. The sun is shining and all is well with the world... I am indoors making some holidays treats and putting up the tree. The Christmas tunes are blaring and I am getting into the holiday mood!

My tree is an eclectic mixture of old and new. I still add all the decorations my daughter has made over the years at elementary school, along with my collection of angels I started when I was 15, and all the amber coloured decorations I can find. I had a mishap twice this morning with my tree toppling, so, finally decided to tie it up. It seems to be fine now and is in its place of honour in the living room.

For my tree trimming party I have prepared a traditional French Canadian Tourtiere, with Cheese Scalloped Potatoes and a Tossed Salad. Tourtiere is more traditionally served on Christmas Eve, but, in the past the troops bolted when they didn't get their usual Cheese Fondue and Chocolate Fondue. This is my version of a Tourtiere but, there are as many recipes and individual secrets for Tourtiere as there are regions and cooks in the province of Quebec....try these variations . Should potatoes be added, and how much? Should it be made from beef, pork, veal, game or what is the best combination? Should the meat be ground or cubed? And the spices...should you add cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, even sage or thyme? It is up to the individual and what is traditional in your family!!
In Quebec, meat pie is called "tourtière". What is a Tourtière? Originally it referred to a cooking utensil used to make a pie or "tourte." By 1611, the word tourtière had come to refer to the pastry containing meat or fish that was cooked in this medium-deep, round or rectangular dish. My camera is not cooperating as far as taking photos in the dark, but I did enjoy the composition of this photo!!!


1 teaspoon butter
1 –1/2 cups chopped carrots (about 3)
1-1/4 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 lb lean ground pork
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon ground savory
¼ teaspoon cloves (opt)
1 bay leaf
1 large potato, cubed, boiled and mashed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Pastry for 9- inch double crust pie
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk

In large heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; cook carrots and ¼ teaspoon each salt and
pepper for 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water and cook 2 minutes or until tender-crisp. Remove from pan and set aside.

Increase heat to medium-high; brown pork in batches and stirring often, for about 4 minutes or until no longer pink. Add ½ cup water, onion, garlic, savoury, cloves, bay leaf and remaining salt and pepper; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and simmer for 5 minutes longer or until still moist yet most of the liquid is absorbed. Discard bay leaf. Stir in potato and parsley. Let cool to lukewarm.

On lightly floured surface, roll out half of the pastry to fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Spoon in half of the filling; layer carrots over top. Cover with remaining filling, spreading evenly. Roll out remaining pastry. Moisten edge of bottom crust; cover with pastry top. Combine egg yolk with milk; brush over pastry.

Bake in 425 F oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 6 – 8 servings


2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup very cold butter
1/2 cup very cold margarine
2 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar
1 egg
ice cold water

Put flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to mix well.

With the motor OFF, cut in the cold butter and margarine.

Pulse until the fats are in about 1/4 inch pieces.

Put the lemon juice OR vinegar and the egg, beaten into a measuring cup and add enough ice water to make 1/2 cup.

Start your processor and feed water in a slow stream through the tube.

Watch what your doing as you may not need all the liquid, because as soon as the dough begins to gather together stop the machine.

The dough does not have to form a ball but it should be soft and silken.

Turn dough out onto waxed paper, form into two balls, wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Joyeux Noel!!!!

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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  1. Tortieres are a wonderful Quebec food contribution. I also like the clove addition.

  2. Mmmm tourtière! I like the mashed potato idea, I've gotten used to the potato cubes, but the mashed will help bind everything together...good idea!

  3. A meat and potato pie sounds like a great idea.

  4. I love tree trimming night. Some of my most favourite decorations are angels I bought on a trip to Montreal over 10 years ago.

  5. Hi! Never heard about tortieres but it looks as a wonderful festive dish!
    Yesterday afternoon, we also settled our tree in the dinning room with some Xmas music in the backround... I love it!!!
    Happy Holidays! :-)

  6. Thanks very much for all your comkments guys!!!
    Barbara...Some of my favourite decorations are from a lady in Montreal. I started collecting them when she was at the huge craft fair in Toronto.
    Enjoy the holiday season Nuria!!!

  7. that sounds delicious!

  8. It's beautiful. I never made it with carrots but with mashed potatoes. Depends in which mood I'm in.

  9. Interesting! Haven't seen carrot in tourtiere before, but I bet it's a darn good idea.

  10. I'm really enjoying your posts and have a dish picked out for our New Year breakfast.

    A scientist in the kitchen


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