A simple Christmas eve meal idea, these tourtiere hand pies feature a savoury pork and beef filling with a flaky crust. Celebrate Christmas this year with a traditional French Canadian meat pie, Quebecois Tourtiere!
It is always interesting when you look into the history of traditions, how those traditions have evolved over the years and centuries. As many of you already know, many of our traditions aren’t that are particularly old. Many of the traditions that families follow, like lighting a Christmas tree, giving gifts and even Christmas wreaths have only been traditions since the early 19th centuries.
There is one tradition our family has always followed through, on Christmas eve we always have tourtiere. It is a tradition older than Christmas wreaths, dating back the 1600s in colonial Quebec. Essentially, it is the dish that you would have after Christmas eve mass before going to bed. Although growing up we usually had it as part of our dinner spread!
‘WHAT IS TOURTIERE?’
At its core, tourtiere is a meat pie. Traditionally it was made with diced meat, mixed with some spices and herbs, and placed in a pie crust. Unlike a British meat pie, the filling doesn’t have gravy. Instead, it uses potato to keep the filling moist. Yet, it’s rather uncomplicated and delicious.
What meat goes into tourtiere hand pies?
Considering that 1600’s Quebec would have been an exceptionally cold place in the winter months (it is now too), a lot of the food you would have had access to would have been food that could last in a cellar. However, meat would have comparatively been in abundance to say nearly any vegetables. Historically, tourtiere would have been made with nearly any type of fresh meat, such as moose, pork, pigeon etc. It would be finely diced, before being mixed with the herbs and seasoning.
Today, the most common meats are ground beef and ground pork. In our family we used to just use ground beef, however, I find that a 50/50 mix of ground beef and pork lead to a moister and tastier meat pie.
Why type of pastry do you use to make tourtiere hand pies?
If you were making a traditional tourtiere, I’d suggest using a pre-made pie crust and a fresh pastry top. Even for these tourtiere hand pies, there is nothing wrong with making them with store-bought shortcrust pastry. I do! If you have a bit of a treat, you could also make them with my go-to recipe of rough puff pastry. A cross between shortcrust and puff pastry, it does taste delicious. However, it is important to make sure that the pie filling is completely cooled BEFORE letting it come into contact with the pastry. Otherwise, the pastry will melt!
What do you serve with tourtière?
Ok, so tourtière is going to be a drier pie than most other meat pies even with the juicer meat and the addition of potatoes. The upshot is, you are going to need a sauce. In our house ketchup is king, but some like BBQ or brown sauce.
If you want to step up your game, go for a cranberry ketchup or cranberry sauce. It goes really well!
Also, it is a rich dish so try a fresh salad on the side to make it stand out!
How long will tourtière last?
The best but about tourtière is that you can make them in advance and freeze them. Then your shelf life should be about 3-6 months. Once cooked, it should probably be eaten within 3 days, but you probably won’t have to worry about that!
What goes well with tourtière hand pies?
A Moscow Mule is great, and then so will the upcoming Cranberry Rye and Ginger.
Christmas eve needs Christmas music! Check out the Christmas Feast playlist.
Other dishes that go with tourtiereNew ButcherBox members receive 2 lbs of ground beef + 2 packs of bacon for FREE in their first box!
Tourtiere hand pies
- 500 g Ready to roll shortcrust pastry block
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cups Water
- 1 cups Peeled potato cut into 1/4in pieces
- 1/2 lb Ground beef
- 1/2 lb Ground pork
- 3/4 cup Chopped onion
- 1 clove Garlic finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp Cloves
- 1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp Fresh sage finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp Black pepper
- 1 egg
- Bring water to the boil and add the potato. Boil hard for 5min, then remove potato and save the water. Mash half the potato, and place the other half in a bowl to cool.
- Brown the pork and beef in a frying pan and drain the fat. Add the water and all other ingridents except for potato to frying pan and boil for 20min. Stop early if the water evaporates. Mix in the mashed potato, and then carefully add the diced potato so they don't break down much. Let cool completely.
- Roll out the pastry dough until it is about 1/8in thick. Find a round stencil to use (like a bowl) that will give you a circle of about 5in diameter, and cut out as many circles as you can. Pre-heat the oven to 350F
- Spoon enough of the filling onto the centre of the pastry, so that the pastry can be folded over and sealed. Use a fork to gently press togther. Crack and whisk the egg, and use a pastry brush to give each hand pie a brush with the egg wash. Bake in the oven for 15min, or until crush is golden. Cool and enjoy.