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Tourtière du Lac-St-Jean traditional recipe

Tourtière du Lac-Saint-Jean is one of the traditional dishes of Quebec cuisine that fits in well with the holiday spirit; it is generous, convivial and above all, tasty!

And of course, each family has its own recipe, so it would be difficult to say which recipe is the “real” one when it comes to tourtière.

The recipe I’m giving you here is one that my godmother shared with me, which she has been making for several years.

And she has kindly accepted that I share it with you.

Tourtière du Lac-Saint-Jean

The history of the tourtière goes back a long way in the culinary heritage of humanity.

This meat pie would be one of the oldest recipes in the history of man.

And it is certainly one of the oldest recipes in Quebec cuisine.

Although it is a traditional Quebec dish, the recipe for tourtière can be varied to suit your taste, both in terms of the seasonings and the meats chosen.

In terms of ingredients, the list is quite simple.

Some herbs, broth, cubed potatoes and a mixture of different meats mixed with chopped onions and celery.

Which meats to choose to make a tourtière du Lac?

Meat cubes for tourtière

To make a tourtière du Lac, you can choose from several varieties of meat.

The key is to use cubed meat, or a mixture of ground and cubed meat as is the case here.

For the more “classic” meats, I use beef or veal, chicken and pork.

You can also choose game or wild meat, with or without offal: deer, roe deer, hare, partridge, etc. This type of meat will bring a lot of flavour to the tourtière.

If you don’t have any, it’s no problem, you can also use shredded duck confit.

What spices to put in the tourtière?

Savory, salt and pepper
Savory, salt and pepper

I chose to keep it simple, adding only salt, pepper and savory.

This leaves more room for the flavors of the meat.

But you could also add oregano or even salty herbs, adjusting the quantities of spices according to your taste and the meats you choose.

I’ve also seen recipes with cinnamon or cloves…when I said there are so many variations!

A few tips to make a successful tourtière

Here are a few tips to help you make your tourtière a success, which also served me well.

First of all, it is important to know that the result of the tourtière can vary from one year to another, depending on the meat used or the seasonings.

One year it may be wetter, another drier or saltier.

There is no “perfect tourtière”.

Nevertheless, I would put this dish in the category of almost impossible-to-miss recipes.

This is encouraging!

Baking the tourtière

A tourtière from Lac Saint-Jean

I tried to be as precise as possible in the instructions for making the tourtière.

But you will probably have to readjust the cooking times depending on your oven, the thickness of the baking dish and the size of your pie.

The chimney: don’t forget to make a chimney on the top of the pie to let the steam escape during cooking.

The tourtière is cooked in stages :

  1. The pie is first seared on high, then lowered to 350F and baked uncovered until the crust begins to brown.
  2. Then, cover the pie dish with aluminum foil (or a lid, depending on the dish chosen) and lower the heat to 250F to continue cooking for 3 hours at low temperature.
  3. Complete cooking with another hour at 200F.
  4. Then, let the pie rest in the oven at 125F for at least 1 hour.

This allows the flavors to be well distributed.

Towards the end of the cooking time, you can check through the chimney on top if the pie still looks too wet.

If so, remove the lid to help evaporate the liquid.

If it is too dry, you can add more broth.

What to serve the tourtière du Lac-Saint-Jean with?

Pickled beets

Tourtière du Lac is accompanied by marinades such as pickles or pickled beets and fruit ketchup.

A small green salad on the side doesn’t hurt either.

And for the starter, you can choose to serve a soup, a ceviche or some oysters.

And what to do with the leftovers?

If you have any leftover tourtière, which you probably do, you can simply freeze it. It makes a perfect meal for the cottage or on cold winter nights.

Otherwise, it can be reheated the next day in a pan with a little water, taking care not to stir it too much.

Lac St-Jean Tourtière (meat pie)
Tourtière du Lac-Saint-Jean

Lac-Saint-Jean tourtière (meat pie)

Yield: 10-12 portions
Temps de préparation: 1 hour
Temps de cuisson: 6 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours 15 minutes

The classic Lac-Saint-Jean tourtière recipe, ideal for a big dinner party!


5 pounds of your choice of meat, for example:

  • 1 ¼ lb. veal cut into approximately 6 to 12 mm (¼" - ½") cubes
  • 1 ¼ lb. chicken cut into approximately 6 to 12 mm (¼" - ½") cubes
  • 1 ½ lb. ground pork, medium-lean
  • 1 hare or 2 duck legs confit

Other ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. savory (or more to taste)
  • 2 large white onions, chopped
  • 1 to 2 stalks of chopped celery
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 lbs of potatoes
  • Chicken broth
  • 2 large pieces of pie crust (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1 egg for the glazing


The day before cooking

  1. Cut the veal and chicken into approximately 6 to 12 mm (¼" - ½") cubes.
  2. In a bowl, combine veal, chicken and ground pork. Add the chopped onions and celery and savory. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Mix well, cover the bowl and let sit in the refrigerator for about 8 hours or overnight.

The day of cooking

  1. The next day, preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Shred the duck confit meat and mix with the rest of the meat.
  3. Peel and cut potatoes into 6 mm (1/4 inch) cubes.
  4. Line the bottom and sides of a pot or roasting pan with pie dough. Allow pastry to hang over the sides of the pan a little to cover the edges.
  5. Fill the roasting pan by alternating layers of meat and potatoes. Season each row with salt and pepper.
  6. Pour chicken broth to lightly cover meat and potatoes.
  7. Cover the top of the pie dish with a thicker layer than the bottom and
    and make a chimney on top. Seal the edges of the pie dish and remove the excess dough.
  8. Brush the top of the pastry with a little beaten egg for gilding.
  9. Place the pie dish in the oven without the lid and bake for 15 minutes to seal in the dough.
  10. Turn the oven down to 350F and continue baking for 1 hour (or until you start to smell the pastry and the crust starts to brown).
  11. Lower the oven to 250F, cover the pie shell with aluminum foil and continue baking for 3 hours.
  12. Lower the oven to 200F and continue baking for 1 hour. At this point, if the pie dish is too wet, you can leave it uncovered so that the broth continues to evaporate.
  13. Let the tourtière rest in the oven at 125F for at least 1 hour before serving.


* The cooking times are given as an indication and may vary according to your oven or the size of the tourtière.


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