Tourtière, also known as pork pie or meat pie, is a traditional French-Canadian pie enjoyed throughout Canada and New England. It is made from a combination of ground meat, onions, savory seasonings, and baked in a traditional piecrust.
Growing up in a Northern New England paper town provided an eclectic upbringing of various nationalities and traditions. Like most mill towns, employment opportunities summoned immigrants from all over the world including Russia, Scandinavia, and Ireland. However, the largest immigrant group by far was French-speaking Canadians.
Employment opportunities at the many saw mills and logging camps drew numerous French Canadians south in several waves during the 19th century. Eventually, many French Canadians seeking work and preservation of their customs, language, and way of life relocated to New England towns.
They settled, established Franco-American communities, and maintained their culture, language, and religion. My family is mostly of French-Canadian descent, and I grew up in a bilingual French and English speaking small town.
Among the customs passed down from generation to generation is the tradition of serving tourtière for special occasions such as Christmas Eve. This celebration meal was an adaptation of réveillon de Noël of rural Québec.
1 lb ground beef
8 ounces ground pork
1⁄2cup onion, finely chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled, cut into quarters
1⁄4teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄8 teaspoon pepper
1 double crust pie crust
Combine beef, pork, onion and water in a medium saucepan and mix well.
Cook, covered, over low heat until the ground beef and pork are cooked through, stirring occasionally.
Boil the potatoesin water to cover in a small saucepan until tender; drain.
Add to the meat mixture.
Add the salt, allspice, cloves and pepper and mix well; remove from heat.
Mash the mixture with a potato masher.
Roll the pastry into two 11-inch circles on a lightly floured surface.
Fit 1 pastry into a 9-inch pie plate.
Fill with the meat mixture.
Cover with the remaining pastry, fluting the edge and cutting several vents.
Bake at 450′ for 20 minutes or the crust is golden brown.