This is my dad’s big contribution to our family Christmas food traditions. Tourtière is a classic French Canadian dish usually served in the middle of the night on Christmas eve after everyone has gone to midnight mass. They all return home for a grand feast called a réveillon. In our home, dad would put the pie together in the early afternoon, while my sister and I shook the Christmas presents and snuck chocolates off the tree. Then we would listen to Christmas music and enjoy the pie and a fresh salad with just our immediate family. After dinner, completely stuffed with meat pie and ketchup, we would get to open one present before getting ready for bed and leaving cookies and eggnog for Santa (according to my parents, Santa liked eggnog much more than milk lol).
I have adapted the recipe a bit from it’s traditional form in that I pre-fry the meat and mix with gravy before layering it (usually, the spiced meat goes in raw with no sauce). This is because I always find Tourtière to be a bit dry… simply personal preference though. Also note that tourtière can be made with any combination of meat. Traditionally it is made with whatever is available, be it rabbit, venison, buffalo, veal, etc. and the meat mixture changes every year. Apparently, game meat is fantastic in this recipe, so be adventurous!
- 400 grams ground beef
- 400 grams ground pork
- 400 grams ground turkey
- 1 large leek green part only
- 1 bunch green onions green part only
- 4 large russet potatoes
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 pinch asafoetida
- salt and pepper to taste
- 40 grams potato flour (not starch)
- 60 grams salted butter
- 1.5 cups fatty chicken broth or meat drippings
- 1/2 cup lactose-free milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
- 1 pinch asafoetida
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
- 1/3 tsp salt
- 6 oz butter
- 1/4 cup ice cold water
The night before you want to make the pie:
Mince the green onion and leek, then sautée until soft and fragrant. Cool. Combine thoroughly with all the meat and spices. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in fridge overnight so the spices can really permeate the meat.
Peel the potatoes, slice about 1/4" thick. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil then drop the potatoes in. Bring back to a full boil, then quickly drain, cool then store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Make the pastry: cut the butter into pea-size(ish) pieces and freeze. Meanwhile, mix the flour and salt then tip out onto a large, clean surface. Working quickly to keep everything cold, use a pastry scraper or a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour. Once the mixture looks gravely (there should still be visible pieces of butter) scrape the flour mixture into a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Dump the mixture back onto the table, cut the water into the dough, adding it only dribbles at a time. By the time all the water has been added, it should make a loose dough. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until ready to use (at least 30 minutes).
The day of:
Fry the mince in batches, and set aside. Drain and keep any liquid.
Make the gravy: Melt the butter over medium high heat, then stir in the flour and spices. Stir until it becomes quite brown. Slowly mix in the liquid held back from cooking the mince, the broth, then the milk. It should be thick but still fluid enough to pour. Add more broth or milk if needed.
Mix the gravy thoroughly through the mince, then divide the sauced meat into three equal portions. Also divide the parboiled potatoes into three equal portions. If I'm making a layered dish, I always divide my ingredients before hand so the layers are even.
In a deep casserole dish or dutch oven, layer the meat and potatoes in six alternating layers, starting with the potatoes.
Roll out the pastry (again, work quickly to keep it cold). Cut to size so it covers the entire top of the pie and use the extra to decorate.
Bake at 400°F until the pastry is crispy and brown, about 50 minutes. Serve hot.