Many holiday main course recipes involve expensive ingredients, and/or time consuming, complicated techniques, not to mention the anxiety that comes along with worrying whether all that time and money will have been worth it. I’m looking at you, dry, overcooked beef wellington.

If you want to avoid all that, maybe consider making tourtière. This French-Canadian meat pie is hearty, satisfying, easy to make, usually impressive, relatively affordable, and since it’s best served at room temperature, doesn’t require any kind of precise timing.


  • For the crust
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 cup unsalted butter, (2 sticks) sliced, frozen
    • 7 tablespoons ice-cold water, (add a little more if dough isn’t pressing together)
    • 2 teaspoons white distilled vinegar
  • 1 large russet potato, cut into quarters and boiled in enough salted water to cover (reserve water)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup finely diced celery
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 cup potato water, plus more as needed
  • For the spice blend
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    • ½ teaspoon dried sage
    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
    • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
    • ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
    • teaspoon ground clove
    • 1 pinch cayenne
  • For the egg wash
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 tablespoon water


1. Put flour, salt, and sliced, frozen butter in a food processor, then pulse until butter is reduced to the size of peas (about half a minute). Drizzle in water and vinegar, then pulse until contents resemble coarse bread crumbs. Do not pulse until it coheres into a dough ball. Transfer onto a work surface and form into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2. Combine kosher salt, black pepper, sage, thyme, cinnamon, ground ginger, grated nutmeg, allspice, dry mustard, ground clove, and cayenne.
3. Melt butter over medium heat in a pan, then add onions and brown (not just soften). While they are cooking, boil potato. When done, remove potatoes and reserve boiling water. Mash potatoes and reserve.
4. Once onions are golden brown, add garlic, diced celery, and spice mix. Stir in and cook for about 1 minute. Add meat. Add a couple ladles of potato water (about 3/4 cup) and mash/stir with a spoon to break up all chunks and the mixture is paste-like. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes, until meat is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. At that point, cut heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
5. Divide dough into two portions, about 60/40. Roll out larger portion on a floured work surface, to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Roll onto rolling pin and snug into 9” pie pan. Roll out the smaller portion to the same thickness, and cut a vent in the center. Put the meat into the pie tin and smooth out the top. Brush the perimeter of the bottom crust with the egg wash, then lay the top crust over everything. Trim off excess dough (below the rim, so there’s lots of dough on the edge. Crimp the edge, then brush all exposed dough with the edge wash.
6. Bake in a preheated 375˚ oven for about an hour, or until beautifully browned. Cool to room temperature before eating.


Chef John


6 servings




North American : Canadian