Take me down memory lane! (Tourtiere Recipe)

Before Christmas on Twitter everyone was sharing about holiday traditions.  Tourtiere is a French-Canadian Christmas tradition, enjoyed at large parties.  The recipe makes enough for a big party that’s for sure, so plan a party, or freeze some.  The recipe I found was a two day process, cook the Tourtiere, and let it sit overnight.

You may remember, I am a big fan of venison.  So instead of beef in the recipe, I used ground venison.  The venison is so much leaner then beef. I did ask my French Canadian friends on Twitter if it was okay to substitute venison, they said “why not?’

The recipe I found was on Foodbuzz.  Thank you to Brendan from the Nights Around the Table blog.  There is actually a lot of different variations to the recipe on the internet.  From what I have since learned from my friend Josie, the recipe I used is pretty much a traditional Tourtiere recipe.

The different spices I used were so unique for me, I have never used them together before. When it was done cooking, I felt like I was back on Mackinac Island, Michigan ordering a Pasty with beef gravy.   Seriously, this recipe brought back a lot of fun memories.  When my family would travel to Mackinac Island, we always got excited about getting Pasties.  They are a individual meat pie, topped with delicious gravy.  Aaaahhhhh…memories, and fun memories too!  The trip also included getting amazing caramel corn, and homemade taffy…….YUM…..I better stop, I am getting hungry! 🙂

Thank you to my Sissy!  Here is a couple pictures she took this summer while she was in Mackinac…..aaaannnnndddd getting a Pasty….was sooooo jealous:)

Here is the “Take me down memory lane”  recipe:

Makes 3 pies or several individual pies:


1 lb ground pork

1 lb venison

2 cups potato diced

1 cup fine to coarse unseasoned breadcrumbs

4 cups beef stock

1 onion finely diced

3 bay leaves

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic minced

¼ tsp paprika

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp sage

Pinch of cloves

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat large pot or dutch oven with olive oil on Medium heat. Soften onions until translucent, and then add garlic, bay leaves and spices.

Heat for no more that 20 seconds before adding stock so that garlic doesn’t burn. Add potatoes and bring to a boil, then remove bay leaves and add uncooked meat to stock.

Simmer for 20 minutes (or until meat is no longer pink) skimming fat as it cooks.

(This device is used to help break up the ground meat easier, love this!)

Stir in breadcrumbs and turn off the heat. Cool and let sit in fridge overnight before using.

I was sooooo excited to have dinner, and it was so worth the wait, Oh My YUM!

But WAIT…you have to put the meat mixture in a pie crust.  Now I have made homemade pie crusts, here is the recipe I used when I made Tart Aux Pommes.  For the holidays though, I bought a bunch of already prepared pie crusts on sale.  So instead of letting them go bad, I decided to use them for the Tourtiere.  I also decided to change things up, and instead of a whole pie, I made individual pies like the Pasties I so love.

You want to be careful, and not add too much meat mixture in the mini pies.

I did brush them with an egg wash before baking them.  I baked them at 425 for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

It was a wonderful dish, and I will definitely be making it again.  It is really easy, and fun to make:)

Have you ever made Tourtiere? Have you ever had a Pasty?

Until next time, Come on in, Have a seat,

Hugs, Terra

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  • Haven't had either pasties or Tourtiere *but* there's some common ground between them, I think, and the Dutch/Germanic Bierocks (aka Runza in Nebraska, where my boyfriend is from). Meat and cabbage hand-held pies but in a yeast dough instead of a short dough. 2 New Years' ago I made a big batch for our traditional cabbage quotient and Todd said mine were better than he remembered. I had to agree when we did get a chance to go back to Nebraska and I got the infamous Runza from the regional chain of the same name. And nutmeg is fantastic with dark meats (beef, lamb, game, etc.) and a very old spice-tradition, as I discovered when I was doing a lot of Medieval cooking a few years back.
    • How interesting! I loved learning about Tourtiere. Especially because of the different variations that have evolved in America from this dish. I would love the recipe for Runza, that sounds really wonderful. It is so fun to continue learning about different food, and ingredients that go with dishes. I love nutmeg, but had no idea it was a good spice with red meat. I will definitely be using it even more now. Do you have some of the recipes on your blog of the Medieval dishes? I will have to search for them if you do. It would be another wonderful type of food to learn about. Thank you for sharing, and stopping by!
      • You know, I don't think I've done any of my Medieval recipes on the blog and that's a shame! Will have to keep that in mind next time I'm stuck for a topic :)
  • Love your little hand-held tourtieres! Great idea. And the thing about tourtiere is you can really put whatever meat into it that you want, so venison works perfectly!
    • Thank you so much! I was hoping I was not changing the recipe too much by trying venison. I wanted to get the full experience of what the tourtiere should taste like:) I was definitely a happy girl during this meal:)
  • I have had a pasty and I love them! I need to start making my own because they are hard to find here in the States. These look just lovely! Thank you for sharing this with me. Thank you also for taking the time to visit my blog. I hope this weekend swells with love and joy!
  • That really look lovely, I never had that but looks delicious .
    • Thank you so much for stopping by! You really will enjoy them, and so easy to make.
  • Those are just beautiful. I have never thought of making a meat pie look so pretty. I really need to work on my presentation. I spent time on Mackinaw Island when I was a teenager. I still think of that trip with fond memories.
    • Thank you so much for stopping by! I really appreciate the positive feed back, means a lot! Mackinac Island was amazing, how fun that you were able to remember the special memories after reading this blog:)