Tourtiere recipes – regular and gluten-free

This French Canadian meat pie has become a Christmas Eve tradition in the Penner family.

December 4, 2019 | People | Volume 23 Issue 22
Leona Dueck Penner |
(Photo by Barb Draper)

This French Canadian meat pie has become a Christmas Eve tradition in Leona Dueck Penner's family.


Tourtiere – regular



5 lbs. (approx. 2 kg) lean minced pork

3 large onions, finely chopped

5 clove garlic, minced

4 med. potatoes, finely grated

2 ½ cups water

3 bay leaves

1 ¼  tsp. ground cloves

1 ¼ tsp. black pepper

1 ½ tsp. thyme 

1 ½ tsp. sage

2 tsp. summer savoury

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 cup fine bread crumbs


Pastry for one 10-inch and two 9-inch deep-dish double crust pies (or four 9-inch regular).

Combine all ingredients except bread crumbs in large pot. Bring to a boil, breaking up meat into fine pieces. Simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes. Remove bay leaves and skim off fat as mixture cools for an hour or so. Add bread crumbs to bind together. 

When mixture is cool, put into unbaked pie shells. Cover with top pastry. Seal and flute edges. Slit or prick top.

Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake 25-30 minutes longer until browned.

Serve with Cheese Sauce. Tourtiere goes well with sides of wild rice pilaf, broccoli slaw and other salads.

Note: I usually make these pies ahead of time and freeze them until the day I want to use them. Then, I thaw them partially at room temperature, brush with milk to glaze and bake until done.



Cheese sauce recipe:

Melt in a small pot:

1/4 cup butter or margarine

Stir in with fork:

2 Tbsp flour

Gradually add:

1 ¾ cups milk

Heat until mixture thickens, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and add:

1 cup of grated cheddar cheese.

Stir until melted and serve.




Tourtiere – Gluten-free recipe

Over the years Leona Dueck Penner has developed this gluten-free version of her family’s traditional Christmas Eve meal.

By Leona Dueck Penner



2 cups almond flour (or other gluten-free flour)

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 cup butter

1 egg or egg white only

cold water as needed


Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Mash butter with a fork, then add to dry ingredients, using fork or pastry cutter to combine into coarse crumbs. Add egg or egg white and a bit of water as needed, mixing to form a dough. Divide pastry into two balls and chill 10 minutes. Roll out with rolling pin between two sheets of waxed paper.


Pork filling:

2 lbs. lean ground pork

1/3 cup raw onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup water

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

¾ tsp summer savoury

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground sage

1 tsp thyme

2 cups cooked cauliflower, mashed with 2 Tbsp butter

½ cup gluten-free crumbs (to bind if needed)


In a heavy bottomed saucepan combine meat, salt, minced onion, spices and water. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until fully cooked and most of the water has evaporated, breaking up meat into small pieces and stirring occasionally.

Lightly mash the cooked cauliflower with butter—yields about 1 cup. Add to cooled meat mixture along with gluten-free crumbs (if using) and mix thoroughly. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

When mixture is cool, put into unbaked pie shell. Cover with top pastry. Seal and flute edges. Bake at 350 for about 30-40 minutes until browned. If you freeze the pie before use, bake for about 1 hour.

Serve warm with salads, green olives and other sides of your choice.

More recipes:
Frogmore stew – Amish-Mennonite version
Easy Beans recipe
Wacky cake recipe
Ashisha's spinach lentil soup
Oma's Peppernuts

(Photo by Barb Draper)

The pie crust in this photo was made with spelt flour. (Photo by Leona Dueck Penner)

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