5 December 2012

Celebrating Family Traditions with Tourtière Appetizer


Once December 1st hits it is time to start planning, scheming, and dreaming of the holidays.   With dreams of sugar plums and tables laden with special treats dancing in our heads this brings us to another edition of the Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club where each month we create a menu from the pages of Cooking Light magazine. Thank you for joining us for our holiday edition. This month we are extolling the virtues of family and sharing our holiday traditions, a theme chosen by our very own Sandi of The Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

If you're like me you like to prepare as much as humanly possible long before the actual day and have the freezer laden with dishes ready for their moment to shine. We have talked about simplifying our holiday entertaining menus in past posts, but, we also want to have our guests feel that they are the centre of our "entertaining universe" with innovative ideas and presentations. You can have that WOW factor without a lot of work and fiddling with complicated recipes. One way is to present this twist on a Canadian classic.

Tourtière is a traditional French-Canadian spiced meat pie served by generations of French-Canadian families throughout Canada and the bordering areas of the United States. It is especially anticipated for Christmas Eve celebrations, but it's equally as tasty throughout the holidays or over the winter months. It also goes without saying, you don't need to be French or Canadian to have this dish become a holiday tradition. Every family has their own "original" recipe, passed down through the generations. Like the recipe, there is no one correct filling, as the pie meat depends on what is regionally available. It is a delicious, fragrant and savoury addition to the holiday table!!!

One year when L'il Burnt Toast was knee high to a grasshopper I decided to change things up Christmas Eve and offer a traditional tourtière, but, it did not go over well. Unbeknownst to me I had created a tradition of having both cheese fondue and chocolate fondue for the perfect family celebration. These days I still love to include this traditional Canadian dish so usually make a strudel version as a starter, but, this recipe from the pages of Cooking Light would work equally well.  The recipe bakes individual pies in ramekins with just a top crust which is a simple way to shave both fat and calories from each serving.

Of course I had to shake it up a bit. Mushrooms are unconventional, but tourtiere fans will be happy with the extra flavour. I also added a little thyme and savoury since my own recipe for this classic dish calls for it. What I absolutely LOVE about this dish is that it can be completely made-ahead, baked and then can be served at room temperature. Doesn't this make this perfect for a stress-free holiday table with a little bit of WOW.

Now let's see what the rest of our group has brought to celebrate. 

Giz of Equal Opportunity Kitchen starts us off with a very flavourful Cioppino, an Italian-style seafood stew perfect for a celebration.

Next I brought along these appetizing individual Tourtiere.

 Sandi of Whistlestop Cafe Cooking  brings the centre piece with a Honey Thyme Brined Turkey Breast.

Our newest member Susan of The Spice Garden brings along a comforting Green Bean Casserole. 

Before his upcoming trip to Italy  Jerry of Jerry's Thoughts, Musings and Rants ends our meal on a high note with Panettone.

If you would like to join us for one month throughout 2013 just send us a note and we will give you your choice of months to join in.


Cooking spray
1 pound ground pork
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried savoury
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
1 (1-pound) russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 cups sliced mushrooms
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (or your favourite pie dough)

Preheat oven to 400°. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and coat pan with cooking spray.

Add pork to pan. Sprinkle pork with 1/2 teaspoon salt, savoury and thyme; sauté for 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Using a slotted spoon, remove pork from pan. Add olive oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add 1 cup onion, carrot, celery, and potato; sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and mushrooms, and sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return pork to pan. Stir in flour, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat. 

Place 1 cup pork mixture into each of 6 (8-ounce) ramekins. Roll pie dough to an 11-inch circle. Cut 4 (5-inch) dough circles. Combine and re-roll dough scraps. Cut 2 (5-inch) circles. Place 1 dough circle on each ramekin, tucking edges inside. Cut an X in the top of each circle; coat lightly with cooking spray. Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

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 and or owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. Those small pies must taste wonderful! A great idea.



  2. I am doing mine with my daughter tomorrow..but the traditional way..albeit one in a strudel:-)
    Yours is very cute in a ramekin..

  3. I think there's a French Canadian in me screaming to get out - I adore tortieres and yours look perfect to me.

  4. I love how festive these are!

  5. That is perfect for the holidays... and I am all about getting things done ahead!

  6. Bonjour Val. Thank you for stopping by chez Moi today and for joining the Followers of French Girl in Seattle. I just arrived on this beautiful blog, and think I will be back often. I am not a great cook, and don't follow many "foodie" blogs, so, pourquoi pas? I can only learn along the way... I am your newest "Follower." A bientôt. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  7. Oh my! Your version of the classic has a nice addition with that mirepoix and the mushrooms! I grew up on the St lawrence River border of Ontario and New York State so tortiere was very common among my friends' families and yet, I never got a recipe until I moved away and had my own family. One of my daughter's friends was French- Canadian with her roots inWoonsocket, RI ... it was there that I learned how to make this best of meat pies! What a great addition to our December dinner! Salut!

  8. Don't take this the wrong way... but what killed your doll? GREG

  9. Ha Ha, this ornament comes out every year Greg. Perhaps she is just sleeping or drank too much eggnog:D

  10. I love meat pies SO much, Val, and these look wonderful. :-) I love the herbs and spices you have tucked inside. It must smell so good. :-)

  11. Val what lovely look these little pies and look really yum!:)

  12. Val, I must admit that I've not appreciated this dish in the past. Now that I have your recipe I'll give it another try. Yours sounds far more savory than the ones I've tried before. I hope all is well. Blessings...Mary

  13. I've never tasted a Tourtière, Val. Your version looks delicious...I like the herb additions. Individual servings make such a pretty presentation.
    (Sometimes our families fight against breaking tradition.)

  14. This is new to me, but all the ingredients are familiar. Your twists on a classic are what I love about cooking! I must try this. (This

  15. Yes, please. I don't have to have pasta every day of the week. Plus it's so warming for December.

  16. I need to be Canadian. I'd much rather eat this on Christmas Eve than eat the traditional Italian fish Christmas Eve. Growing up that was my least favorite holiday. I should have screamed, "Take me to Canada and give me a meat pie!"

    What's with the doll though? I'm not sure if she passed out from eating too much, or if she's dead.

  17. Ha. Ha. Once again the Christmas ornament has not woken up for the Christmas season yet.

  18. I love this. I love meat pies. I could be Canadian.... We have no traditional dishes - although foie gras is becoming one ;-))

  19. I don't put thyme, savory and mushrooms in mine :) I make my mother-in-law old-fashioned recipe or my mom. Nice pie Val.

  20. I've never had nor made Tourtiere but looking through the list of ingredients I'm certain they must be delicious! I love your appetizer-sized version.

    I had to laugh at the ornament comments :) Wake up!

  21. Your dish sounds delicious. The individual servings will be nice when entertaining.

  22. With Channukah starting in 2 days I've definitely been thinking of the holidays!

  23. pork pie! this is a new dish to me and i think it sounds fabulous!

  24. I don't believe I've tasted a tourtière, but it sounds delicious from the ingredients. And I really like the individual servings. Beautiful presentation Val.

  25. Those traditional dishes that are always on the table on special occasions are the most anticipated treat of holiday meals. This looks delicious, Val, and I know we have room on our Christmas Eve buffet for something new.

  26. man I love brie
    chutney and brie
    hello! lol

  27. I just realized I commented on the wrong post.
    Sorry about that.
    I blame the droolworthy photo of the brie!!!!

  28. Sounds delicious...come visit and make one for me...LOL...lovely picture Val...

  29. Love tortierre and this recipe looks delicious - but I am going to be consistently disappointed in every title I see until I see one that tells me about your trip.XOXO
    I love to live vicariously.

  30. Beautiful little pies! I do love that you can make them ahead. Holiday celebrations should be just as stress free as they are delicious! :)

  31. I didn't know a tourtière was a Canadian custom. I love learning things like that! And, I love the idea of making things in advance and storing them in the freezer.

  32. Meat pies are awesome and yours have to be the best! Your doll looks right at home.

  33. What a wonderful tradition -- I've not heard of tortierres before, but would love to try them. We have a gathering coming up and your addition of mushrooms sounds perfect for us. I'm horrible at making things ahead, but swear this year to try harder. Thanks for adding that these can be made ahead.

  34. Beautiful and delicious too!

  35. OF course we have the tourtières every year. It is part of our french Canadian tradition. Great idea to make them in smaller portions. Saving that idea; merci.


Welcome to my home. Thank you for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your support, comments, suggestions, and daily encouragement.


This blog uses comment moderation therefore SPAMMERS, SELF-PROMOTERS and ADVERTISERS will be deleted.