Christmas Tourtière

December 20, 2020

We’ve been hosting Christmas morning breakfast at our place for years. The menu has changed and evolved over time, you learn pretty quickly that made to order eggs are not fun on a holiday morning! We’ve made a delicious holiday hash with root vegetables, a variety of frittatas, brioche cinnamon bread, breakfast strata, the list goes on. One thing that has become a constant over the past few years is Tourtière. It’s savory, filling and most of the prep can be done in advance. A must for a holiday meal if you ask me!

Tourtière is a traditional French Canadian meat pie that’s perfect for Christmas morning. The origin of the dish dates back to the 17th Century when French settlers would attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve and then celebrate afterwards with a late night feast called a réveillon. Obviously it was filled with tons of tasty treats! One of these indulgences was tourtière, a pie traditionally served in a cast iron cauldron and stuffed with meats, including wild game like rabbit, pheasant, or moose meat. Our favorite recipe uses less gamey meats but I’m sure you could substitute them in if you have some moose meat on hand.

Here is our favorite recipe from the pbs website. Don’t you just love pbs? Not only do they have amazing shows they also provide you with recipes that will soon become holiday traditions.  We’ve made a couple of changes but here is the original.

Classic French Canadian Tourtière

* note- we chill the meat mixture overnight and then bake the following day. This really melds the flavors and gives you a nice warm, fresh pie Christmas morning. You can just chill for the 2 hours and bake if you chose!


  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 cup beef or vegetable broth (or just water)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium-large baked potatoes, mashed with skins removed (or about 1 cup of mashed potatoes)
  • 1/2 tsp each ground cinnamon, ground cloves and ground nutmeg(freshly grated nutmeg is best!)
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • For the Butter Pie Crust: (or to make it even easier store bought is ok)
  • 2 1/2 cup flour of your choice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup ice cold water
  • For the egg wash:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. water


  1. In a large skillet, combine the finely chopped onion with the olive oil and sauté until onions are soft and golden. With your hands, mix the ground pork and beef together in a bowl. Add the mixed ground meat to the onions and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring it to break up the meat so it doesn’t clump together. Add all the remaining ingredients (broth, spices, mashed potato, salt and pepper) and mix together. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  2.  Remove from heat. Taste the meat mixture and add a bit more salt, pepper, or spices. It’s your dish, let your tastebuds guide you.
  3. Let mixture come to room temperature and then cool in the fridge for about 2 hours, until completely chilled. (this is where we chill over night.
  4. To make the pastry, cut the butter into small cubes and chill them so they are very cold. Using a food processor or a pastry blender, chop up the butter into the flour and salt until it is small and crumbly, the size of very small peas. Pour in 1/2 cup of the ice cold water and mix into the flour. Add more water, 1 tablespoonful at a time, until the dough comes together into a ball. (Using your hands may be easier to form the ball) The dough should not feel dry or too sticky! Form two balls and flatten them into discs. Wrap and cover them in plastic, and let them rest in the fridge for 1 hour. (or overnight) Remove from the fridge and allow to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Roll out each disc on a floured surface to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness.
  5. Preheat your oven to 375F, Line a 9 inch pie plate with the first circle of dough. Fork the bottom a few times and spoon in all the meat filling, patting it down lightly to compress it a bit. Brush the pie rim with water and place the second circle of dough on top, pressing the edges together to seal. Trim and flute as desired.
  6. Time for the egg wash! This will give your tourtière a golden glow, so don’t skip this step, we forgot one year and it was still tasty but not as pretty. Beat the egg and water together and brush the mixture all over the top of the crust and around the edges.
  7. Cut some steam vents or use a cookie cutter to make a cute cutout on top of your pie.
  8. With the rack in the bottom third of the oven, bake for about 50 minutes or until the top of the crust is golden.
  9. Allow to sit on a wire rack for 20 minutes before serving

I hope you enjoy this Christmas Tourtière and maybe it will become a tradition in your home as well.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!

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