The Good Tourtière/La Bonne Tourtière by Ms C

Courtesy of Jorghnassen's father & mother | Courtoisie du papa et de la maman du Jorghnassen

Translated into English by Ms C | Translated (back) into French by Jorghnassen | Traduite en anglais par Mme C | Retraduite par Jorghnassen

100% Authentic Tourtière from the land of the blueberries :) | 100% purement bleuet, mon gars!

Please do not steal this recipe nor any of the images on this website. All content on this page is original work by Jorghnassen's parents, Ms C, and Jorghnassen.


[Introduction] | [Ingredients] | [Closer look at Ingredients] | [Dough] | [Preparation] | [Cooking Instructions]


An Authentic Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean Tourtière Recipe

The Tourtière! Courtesy of Jorghnassen's papa.

Figure i: The Tourtière! Courtesy of Jorghnassen's papa.

Tourtière is a regional dish – but each family within the region has its own version of this time-honoured favourite. Thus, it is impossible to truthfully say this is the definitive version, since there are as many different flavours of tourtière as there are practicing tourtière chefs! To complete the confusion, depending on the season, the same recipe will produce different tastes due to the variance of the ingredients...

A tourtière’s taste comes from the slow cooking at low heat. To enhance the flavours, add woodland meats, such as hare, partridge, moose, caribou, deer, etc. (usually hare). Some may even add pieces of chicken. Improvise, if you wish!

This recipe is ideal for feeding 15 to 20 people, and it is a favourite especially for the holidays. (Hence, make sure you get a lot of your friends and family together to finish one!)  Start preparations in the morning if you want to have it ready for the same evening. You might even want to consider preparing it a day in advance to cook the tourtière even slower, and at a lower heat, for the night.  It makes great leftovers, and freezes wonderfully, although the taste will become somewhat different.

The tourtière can be served with a salad with vinaigrette, mayonnaise, cream dressing, or cole slaw. Some prefer to smatter it with ketchup (ordinary or green, homemade of course), and some like to have it with beets (Ms C’s least favourite).


  • 5 lbs potatoes, diced in 1 cm3 (1/2 inch2)
  • 5 lbs meats, diced in 1 cm3 (1/2 inch2), as noted below:
  1. 4 lbs half pork, half beef (or 5 lbs if no game meats available)
  2. 1 lb game meat (moose, caribou, deer, roe-deer, partridge, if available)
  • 1 hare, de-boned and roughly cut (with/without partridge)
  • 3 large onions
  • one batch of crust dough
  • 2 L hare or chicken stock (Bovril)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Closer look at the ingredients

  • 5 lbs of potatoes, cubed

Preferably old potatoes, since new ones contain more water, thus have a tendency of breaking up while cooking.

  • 5 lbs of meats

All the butchers in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, know how to prepare tourtière meats. They use chops of beef from the rump 1 cm thick, sliced into strips then into cubes – and then do the same for the pork rump, to get the half-half proportion of beef-pork. Some may say that veal can also be added. If you have any game meats, take a pound of this and 4 lbs of the butcher meats. Hare is sold in a certain period of the year, thus take advantage of this time to make provisions. You may find caribou and range deer from some sources, but moose, partridge and wild deer will have to come from hunting friends. Any part of the large game can be used, since the emphasis is on the flavour. The game meats are cut up in the same manner as the pork and beef, and these meats are mixed together.

  • 3 large chopped onions

The meat can be salted, peppered, and mixed with the onions. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in fridge overnight. On the other hand, the meats can simply be prepared the next day.

  • 1 hare

In the evening, put the hare in a large pot with water, along with one quartered onion, carrot, celery, some parsley, salt, and pepper. Cover and boil, cooking the hare until the meat comes off the bone easily. Filter the broth and put aside. De-bone the hare. Leave both hare and broth aside for the next day. Sometimes, the old-fashioned method of putting the entire hare in the tourtière, without de-boning it, is done (although this is, literally, old-fashioned). If partridge is available, prepare it at the same time as the hare.

Dough for Crust 

Here is Jorghnassen’s father’s recipe for the dough. It is very simple, and even with several rollings, the crust will stay tender.

  • 1 lb of fat
  • 5 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt

Mix these ingredients with a pastry cutter until grainy consistency.

  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar (less can be added)

In a bowl, mix well the beaten egg, milk, water, and brown sugar. Put the wet mix into the dry ingredients. Combine with a wooden spoon until dough consistency. The dough will be easier to roll if refrigerated for 12 to 24 hours.


1:1! Remember that!

Figure 1: The proportion between the meat mixture and the potatoes should be 1:1. Courtesy of Jorghnassen's papa.

Meat and potatoes... mmm...

Figure 2: A close-up of the cubes of meat and potatoes. Each should be approximately 1 cm cubed. Courtesy of Jorghnassen's papa.

Hare and hare broth!

Figure 3: The ingredients, ready for preparation into a tasty tourtière! Left: the meat-potatoes mixture. Centre: cooked hare. Right: hare broth. Courtesy of Jorghnassen's papa.

Preparation of the tourtière

Mix the potatoes, cubed meats, and the hare in large pieces (with or without partridge). This might take two large mixing bowls!
A large capacity rotisserie (the kind for turkeys or large chickens) will be used to cook the tourtière.

Take 2/3 of the dough and roll it large enough to cover the bottom and sides of the rotisserie. Line the rotisserie with the dough. If it is torn, patch it up with some pieces of dough (the important thing is to prevent any leakage!).

Fill the rotisserie with the potato-meat mix, while trying to distribute the mix of meats and potatoes evenly.

Pour the pre-warmed hare broth into the mix. Add one to two cups of hot water with 1 to 2 tablespoons of chicken broth concentrate (like the Bovril brand), just enough to cover the potato-meat mix. Otherwise, if the hare broth is sufficient, don’t add any water. Salt and pepper generously.

With the rest of the dough, prepare a top crust and place it over the tourtiere. Seal the crust, and make two holes in the middle about 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. Cover with a lid or an aluminium foil.

Cooking instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place tourtiere in the oven, and cook for about an hour at this temperature.

Lower the temperature to 300 F, and cook for 8 to 10 hours (watch it!).

2 to 3 hours before the end of cooking, taste the tourtiere to check the potatoes. The temperature of the oven can be then adjusted accordingly; if the potatoes seem to be cooking too fast, lower to 275 F or 250 F, while if they seem too firm, then raise to 325 F. (Usually, the oven is lowered to 275 F.)

One hour before the end of cooking, remove the lid or foil to allow the top crust to become golden brown. The tourtiere is ready when the potatoes are done.

Serve and eat!

Open faced tourtiere...

Figure 4: Meat-potato mixture in the rotisserie, with crust lining. Courtesy of Jorghnassen's papa.

Pour it in, baby!

Figure 5: Pouring broth into the mix. Courtesy of Jorghnassen's papa.

Up to the top, but not above the other!

Figure 6: The amount of liquid in the rotisserie should be level with the mixture. Courtesy of Jorghnassen's papa.

Closed and ready to bake. Get ready to read "War and Peace."

Figure 7: A nicely sealed tourtière, with escape for steam. Courtesy of Jorghnassen's papa.


(version longue)


(version courte)


(long version)


(short version)

  Original Version (*.rtf)

(Jorgh's papa's version)






If you have any comments, problems or questions, you can write to me, Ms C, at mmec[AT] or Jorghnassen, at jorghnassen[AT]

Si vous avez des commentaires, des problèmes, ou des questions, vous pouvez écrire à moi Mme C, mmec[AT] ou à Jorghnassen, jorghnassen[AT]

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