Recipe for French Canadian Meat Pie
Regional variations abound, but here's one version of this holiday tradition.
This pie was made at home by Cuisine editor Susan Laughlin. See more photos from the process below.
Photo by Susan Laughlin
Seems like there are many versions of the classic French Canadian tourtière, or meat pie, typically served during the holidays. Regional variations range from savory with herbs to a spice-laden take, accented with a touch of allspice, cinnamon, clove and pepper. Executive Chef Bobby Marcotte at The Tuckaway Tavern & Butchery offered his family recipe that uses fresh herbs, luscious mashed potatoes, a blend of pork and beef and an easy pie crust. Chef Marcotte says you can use your favorite pie crust or a store-bought one, but if so, he recommends using a croissant-style crust for the top. His crust uses leavening and less butter for a light, but tender version.
Pie Crust, two 9-inch pies
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/4 lb. lard (or one stick of butter)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups milk
Mix dry ingredients well. Cut in butter and lard until pieces are the size of a pea. Add milk and mix until it just comes together. Roll on well-floured board or Silpat. Set aside.
- 2 lb. ground 80/20 beef (It’s ground fresh almost hourly at Tuckaway.)
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 4 tablespoons fresh chopped sage
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme
- 1/2 white onion (small diced)
- 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning or to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
( Ed. note: Some families might add a 1/2 teaspoon allspice or clove and/or a teaspoon of cinnamon, but I wouldn’t want to start a family squabble.)
- 6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1/4 lb. butter
- 2 cups whole milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
Boil potatoes in pot while preparing meat. When finished, peel and make traditional style mashed with a creamy consistency. Add the butter first, then the milk.
Start chicken stock on medium heat and bring to slow simmer. Stir in both beef and ground pork meat and slow simmer until fully cooked and tender, about 15 minutes. Pour cooked meat into strainer and sauté diced onion in same pan used for meat with dash of oil. Once onions are cooked halfway through, add meat back into pan and season with salt, pepper and fresh herbs. Sprinkle poultry seasoning to taste. When fully cooked and seasoned, pour into mixing bowl with finished mashed potatoes. Mix well with rubber spatula.
Line the bottom of the pie pan with pie crust and brush with milk. Pour meat/potato filling into pie. Top with remaining crust and brush with milk. Slit holes in top and bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes until crust is golden brown.
Enjoy with scratch gravy or my favorite, ketchup! (Ed. note: Some people prefer mustard.)
Our Cuisine editor, Susan Laughlin, put the recipe to the test. Here are a few photos she took while making her own meat pie at home.
From top left: Chopped sage and thyme, the meat sautés, straining the cooked meat, the filling is ready to go, loading up the pie and the final product.