A staple of Christmas and New Year’s tables throughout Quebec, tourtière deserves a wider audience—think of it as a kind of cousin to meat loaf, pot pie and empanadas. Serve with a huge salad of crisp chicories (such as Belgian endive, escarole, radicchio and frisée), which will help cut the richness of the tourtière.
This dish is a holiday standby for good reason: Most of the work is shifted to the day before (or as many as three days in advance), so day of, basically all that needs be done is the baking.
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Tourtière (Quebecois Meat Pie)
- 1 pound potatoes (preferably Yukon Gold)
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil (any type)
- 1 cup minced onion
- ½ cup minced shallot
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ pounds ground pork
- ½ pound lean ground beef
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 pie crusts, unbaked, for a 9-inch pan
Boil potatoes in well-salted water until they crush easily with a fork. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of potato water in a separate container. Transfer potatoes to a bowl and mash well. Set potatoes and potato water aside. In a small cup, beat egg well with 1 teaspoon water and a pinch of salt and refrigerate (this is the “egg wash” for later).
Add oil to a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, shallot, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until translucent and starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add meat, pepper, allspice, sage, thyme, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, breaking up meat as finely as possible until it is cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain any fat in the pan. Add potato water and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates.
Transfer meat to a bowl and stir in mashed potatoes until mixture is uniform. Taste and add additional salt or spices, if desired. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days before filling pies.
Heat oven to 375°F. Press bottom crust into a 9-inch pie pan, or an 8-inch springform pan going 2 inches up the sides. Fill with meat mixture, gently patting as you go so the filling is firm and there are no air pockets. Add top crust, seal edges, brush lightly but evenly with egg wash and cut vent slits decoratively into the top.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until deep golden brown (it might take longer, depending on baking dish). Let cool on a rack or trivet for at least 15 minutes and up to an hour before serving.
“Made from Cabernet Franc, Chinon reds have notes of ripe red fruits, flowers and cedar, often with a very animal-like finish,” says Roberto Porres, founder and owner at Montréal’s Groupe Barroco family of restaurants and bars. “It’s perfect for that holiday-spirit family gathering, and I especially like it with tourtière for its balanced elegance.”
Bottle to Try: Domaine Philippe Alliet Chinon
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Published: November 15, 2023