Tourtière, which is a traditional Québécois meat pie, is a holiday classic.

The classic French Canadian meat pie, tourtière, is a staple on many family’s dinner tables this time of year. Although it’s a popular dish at home, you’ll rarely see it on a restaurant menu or a supermarket shelf. Comprised mainly of meat, along with some root vegetables and spices, the tourtière can be expensive and time consuming to make. Make the holidays a little easier by picking up a tourtière from Fresh City, made from scratch by Mabel’s Bakery. Choose from a classic pork tourtière, made with sustainable and ethically raised meat from The Healthy Butcher, or try our vegan tofu tourtière.

The tourtière has a long history in Quebecois culture, originally dating back to the 1600’s when settlers arrived back in Quebec. The tourtière would be served at a celebration feast, known as Réveillon. Réveillon feasts traditionally started after midnight mass on Christmas Eve, and continued on through the night into Christmas. Tourtière would be one dish among many that would be served. Large platters of fish, other meat dishes, luxurious sweets and plenty of wine would be found at a traditional Réveillon feast. It’s a Christmas tradition that is celebrated in other French speaking parts of the world, including France, Belgium, Brazil and New Orleans.

Like any traditional dishes, there are many different recipes and varieties of tourtière depending on who you ask. But the basic recipe always contains meat spiced with cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg, vegetables, and a buttery crust. Our recipe is from Mabel’s Chef and Assistant General Manager, Jenny Zollerano. The recipe was passed down to Jenny and her husband from his French grandmother. We make the meat version with organic pork raised without the use of antibiotics and hormones. The flavourful filling is made by adding organic potatoes, carrots, onions and celery to the meat and slow cooking it in our homemade bone broth for extra richness. The lentil tourtière is made with spiced lentils and is hearty and filling. The pastry dough is made fresh with shortening, butter and eggs, resulting in a flaky crust just like your Grandma used to make. 

Our tourtière serves 3-4 people and makes for a great main dish. To serve it, we recommend to reheat it in the oven at 350F for approximately 30 minutes. We like to serve our tourtière with cranberry chutney and pickled beets, but many people also like serving it with chili sauce. Tourtière is filling, and can be served on it’s own with, or without supporting side dishes. But if you’re looking for ideas on what to serve it with, we would recommend roasted carrots, mashed turnips or a spicy fresh salad with arugula. You can pick up a tourtière in our stores starting this weekend, or place an online order for home delivery here. 

What foods are part of your family’s end of year traditions? Let us know if you’ll be serving tourtière for the first time, the fiftieth time or making something completely different!