The Road of Quebec Meat Pies and Tourtières, descriptions and recipes

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Discover the different Meat pie and Tourtière recipes of Quebec


The Road of Quebec Meat Pies and Tourtières, descriptions and recipes

As in all countries of the world, there are as many variations as there are families to prepare the most popular dishes. In many regions of Quebec the tourtière is a dish prepared with cubes of raw meat and vegetables and the dish prepared with minced meat cooked beforehand is called meat pie or tourtière depending on the region.

Here is a description of the different preparations and names of the tourtière of the province of Québec.

Deep Dish Tourtière of northern regions

This version is popular in the Charlevoix, Saguenay Lac Saint-Jean, the North Shore and Haute Mauricie regions of the province of Quebec. The dish is prepared with small cubes of raw meat, onions and cubes of raw potatoes baked between 2 sheets of dough in a deep dish for several hours.

Meat pie of many regions

Named meat pie in many regions to differentiate the dish from the Tourtière  the deep dish one as above). It is Prepared with one or more kinds of minced raw meat, simmered in a saucepan with onions and spices before baking between two layers of dough in a pie plate.

Tourtière of many urban centers

It is mainly in the south and in the largest cities of Quebec that this dish is called tourtière. It is the same preparation and cooking method as the meat pie (pâté à la viande) of the regions picture below, that is to say the minced meat is cooked before baking it between two sheets of dough.

Pulled Meat pie

This Meat Pie is made with chunks of meat, onions and sometimes potatoes that are simmered before baking in a dough. The meat is then pulled (shredded) and mixed with the mashed vegetables before baking between two layers in a pie plate. This pâté is popular in the Magdalen Islands and is sometimes found in regions south of the St. Lawrence and in families in the Eastern Townships.

Pâtés croches of Charlevoix

These small half moon shape meat pies from Isle-aux-Coudres are also called  small meat pie socks all over Charlevoix. In Saint-Siméon, they are called Mother Christmas pie. Children were told that Santa’s wife made these pies that Santa Claus put in each of their Christmas stockings. There are two ways to prepare these half moon shape pies. Some use raw meat while others cook the meat a bit before baking it in the dough. They are sometimes stuffed with the same preparation as the tourtière prepared with raw meats and vegetables, if so it is best to eat them fresh from the oven as the tend to be dry when reheated. Pâtés Croches are very similar to the “Cornish Pasties” so popular in England. I ate an almost identical one made with the same type of dough and stuffed with small pieces of meat and vegetables on a trip to the Cornwall area in southern England in the 90s.

Origin of the name Tourtière

Contrary to popular belief, the name tourtière is not attributable to the fact that it was used to cook a dish  which sometimes contained passenger pigeon of which the name in french translate as “tourte”, a word very similar to the name tourtière. Instead, the name of the dish was named after the name of the container. There was a time when we used the word “tourtière piece” to refer to the dish.

To explore the history of Tourtière, you will certainly like to read L’incroyable odyssée de la tourtière by Jean-Pierre Lemasson published in french only. It is now available in PDF format as the paper edition is now out of print.

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