La Tourtiere (Pork Pie)

You may use either the Pie Crust for Two (Two-Crust) Pies or the more unusual Bride’s Pie Crust, or your own favorite, for this traditional French-Canadian holiday dish. Emma’s father preferred his tourtiere without potatoes, so she always made two.


1 (4-pound) pork butt, boned and ground (save the bones)
1 quart salted water
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 medium potatoes
Pastry for 2 double crust pies (not too rich)
Cracker or dried bread crumbs as needed


Choose a pork butt that is as lean as possible. Boil the bones in 1 quart of boiling salted water for about 20 minutes; remove the bones and set the liquid aside. In a large heavy kettle, saute onions in butter until golden brown. Add ground pork and a cup or so of the bone broth. Then add salt and pepper, and simmer for 1-½ to 2 hours. Simmer as slowly as possible, continuing to add more of the bone “liquor” to prevent scorching. The pork should be well cooked and lose all its pink color. Meanwhile, boil and mash the potatoes, adding a little salt, pepper, and butter. Drain and cool the pork and onion mixture and combine it with the mashed potatoes. Divide the mixture evenly in 2 unbaked pie shells. Before putting on the top crusts, sprinkle on just a few very fine cracker or bread crumbs to help absorb some of the fat. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes; reduce heat and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes longer or until nicely browned. These pies can also be frozen unbaked, and then baked (unthawed) at 350 degrees F for an hour or until browned. Serve with Emma’s Harvard Beets and/or applesauce. Note: Some French Canadians prefer a spicier tourtiere, adding perhaps 1 teaspoon cinnamon and ½ teaspoon each of ground nutmeg and cloves for each 2-pie recipe.

Cooking & Recipes


Makes 2 pies; 12 generous servings.

Preparation Method

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