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The true French-Canadian meat pie has a lard-based pastry and a dense filling, but I prefer both a lighter crust and a more savoury filling. I thicken it with the untraditional oatmeal rather than potatoes. Serve tourtière with pickled beets, ketchup, chutney or relish and a salad. If you want to make extra, they freeze beautifully cooked and uncooked.

Servings: 8 to 10


3 cups flour

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 cup butter

½ cup organic shortening (or increase the butter by half a cup)

1/3 cup ice water

2 tablespoons white vinegar


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 cups chopped onion

2 pounds lean ground pork

3 cloves garlic, chopped

½ teaspoon allspice

¼ teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons dried savoury

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup beef broth

2 tablespoons rolled oats

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1 egg, beaten



Sift flour with salt, thyme and mustard. Using your fingertips, cut in shortening and butter until mixture resembles coarse meal (or use the food processor). Combine water and vinegar and stir in enough to moisten mixture. (You may need more or less liquid depending on the humidity of the air.)

Form mixture into a ball, gently. Wrap dough in waxed paper and chill for 30 minutes.


Heat oil in a skillet or heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add ground pork and cook, stirring to break up clumps of meat until pinkness disappears, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, allspice, cayenne, thyme, bay leaf, savoury, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Stir together and sauté for 1 minute.

Add beef broth and oats. Simmer, covered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pork is cooked and mixture is thick. If it is not thick enough, add an extra tablespoon of oats and cook a few minutes longer. Stir in parsley and remove bay leaf. Taste for seasoning, adding salt, pepper or spices as needed. Cool.

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Divide pastry in half. Roll out half to fit a 9-inch deep pie plate or loose bottom flan pan. Add filling. Cover with remaining pastry, sealing edges and cutting away any excess.

Make 3 or 4 incisions on top of pastry to allow steam to escape and decorate with a few pastry leaves. Brush with egg yolk.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 F. and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Serve hot or cold.

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