Tourtière traditions


I may have grown up in England but I am originally from Montreal and my Mother never forgot her roots. Every year for Christmas eve supper we had tourtière, naturally it was home-made, and the recipe included pork, onions, salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, sage, cloves and a bay leaf.

Of course on this side of the pond fragrant, savoury tourtière is a holiday staple, rich in tradition. The name tourtière is thought to come from the cooking utensil that was used to make it, and by 1611 was generally used to describe a meat pie as it does today.


As to the filling of the pie, there are many traditions, with many regional varieties and even more family recipes and secret ingredients.

According the to ….

On the Île d’Orléans they use ground pork, beef and veal, adding a little pork fat, a clove of garlic and some spices. The texture should be less grainy and is bound together with an egg.

In Charlevoix they take the recipe from the Île d’Orléans but replace the pork with hare, and all the meat and potatoes are cut into cubes, except for the chopped pork fat.

In Val-Jalbert they take the recipe from the Île d’Orléans, but replace the veal with a chicken breast and the water with chicken stock.

In the Outaouais region tourtière is made solely from duck, cut into cubes and simmered in chicken stock.

In Rigaud they use pork and beef to which potatoes and a pinch of dry mustard are added.

Our first batch of tourtière this year contained pork, beef, grated carrots, grated potato, bay leaves, nutmeg, cloves, onion, salt & pepper and turkey stock. But we want to try out as many variations as we can in the hopes of finding the perfect recipe.

What do you think should be in a tourtière? Will you share your recipe with us or let us in on your secret ingredient?

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One Response to Tourtière traditions

  1. Cheryl says:

    Tried my recipe this time, ground beef, pork, onion and spices — no potatoes or carrots!

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