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Tourtières (French Canadian Meat Pie)

Tourtières (French Canadian Meat Pie)

Tourtières (French Canadian Meat Pie)

Makes 5 8-inch Tourtières

Tourtières are a very traditional to make, they were a poor man’s food really. And of course, they used to be made with passenger pigeon, which numbered in the millions, but are now extinct. :(  Look here to know more. But after you finish reading this!

In time, different meats replaced the filling for the meat pie, I am quite sure also, that in time, every county, village and then family, developed their own recipe, for example, some do use cloves, and would never consider a Tourtière a Tourtière unless there were cloves in the recipe, others will refuse to eat it if there are cloves.

All in all, from the time I was a child up to the day I made my own, I did not like Tourtières, they tended to have an unpleasant texture and quite dry. Thankfully, there was always ketchup to douse over it.

I have made it quite a few times now, they are fun to eat at any time and they freeze beautifully, I tend to play with the recipe, much to my dear husband’s dismay. All my recipes have been better than what I had eaten before, the biggest reason being, I use plenty of seasoning and instead of flour to thicken the meat pies, I use mashed potatoes.

I have had a few requests from non-French Canadians for my recipe and so here it is, in time for the Holidays too!

What pie dough do I use?

First and foremost, I do buy already made pie dough when I have to. I buy the refrigerated though, it does not taste great, but it is easy to work with. In the end, don’t let an inability to make pie dough keep you from trying out this recipe.

When I do make my pie dough, I will use Tenderflake, (not Crisco, it is not the same) or I use butter, using butter is expensive, but oh so awesome. Also, butter is great for a sweet pie. Also, when I do make the pie dough, I use the whole recipe, using the whole box of Tenderflake, which is about 5 pie shells. The dough keeps for quite a long time and so, I will use it, or I can always freeze it, it is just fun having the dough on hand. The recipe on the box of Tenderflake is the best, bar none.

I do get whimsical when making pie tops, but as long the top has a few slits/holes on top, you are good to go.

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2 lbs. ground beef

2 lbs. ground veal

2 lbs. ground pork

3 c. mashed potatoes

1 medium onion

4 cloves garlic

3 tbsp. coarse salt or 1 1/2 tbsp. table salt

1 tbsp. black pepper

1 tsp. ground sage or 1 tbsp. fresh

1 tsp. cloves

1 tsp. savory

1 tbsp. thyme

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. celery seeds

3 c. mashed potatoes, unseasoned and without butter, milk etc…

1 egg for brushing the top pf the meat pie


Place all ingredients except the potatoes and egg in a large pot or skillet, bring to a boil, simmer on medium heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour, longer if wished.

In the meantime, boil the potatoes till tender and mash well.

Once the meat mixture is ready, stir in the potatoes till homogeneous.

Let is cool before placing in the pie plates.  

Heat oven to 400°F.

Roll out the pastries in 5 8-inch pie plates, keeping enough pastry for the tops.

Fill the pie plates up to half an inch to the top. Place the top pastry, using a brush and water to seal them together, pinch or use fork to secure.

Make sure to have holes (or a nice design) in the TOP pastry for the steam to be allowed to come out. Beat egg in a small bowl and brush the egg over the top of the pie, this will give it a lovely golden color.

Place pies in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, after 10 minutes, lower the heat to 375° F and bake for another 25-30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve hot or warm.

Bon appétit!

If you freeze your meat pies, thaw completely before reheating in a 350° F oven for 25 minutes.

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