MSS-025-A Celebration in Food: the French-Canadian Tourtière

Maple Stars and Stripes fleur-de-lis logo‘Tis the season for family, friends, and food. The one food above all else associated with traditional Christmas festivities in any French-Canadian household is the tourtière. Join me and our guest Juliana L’Heureux for an in-depth look at this tasty treat!

Keeping with our festive theme, in Language Tip #25 we’ll go over words and phrases spoken by our ancestors at this joyous time of year. If you’ve lost the language, perhaps this trip down memory lane will evoke some nostalgic feelings.

Don’t forget to check out the show notes at for links to Juliana’s tourtière collection as well as to many other sites with tourtière recipes. Try a few. Which ones are your favorites?


12 comments on “MSS-025-A Celebration in Food: the French-Canadian Tourtière

  1. Annemarie Taylor

    When I was young, my mother would make meat stuffing for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Part would be used in the turkey and the rest would be made into tourtiere for consumption the next day. I still make meat stuffing and this year made tourtiere. Although I don’t have a French last name, I have a lot of French Canadian heritage on both sides of my family.

  2. tacomamike

    This will no doubt be one of my favorite episodes! I love Tourtiere and make it every year in honor of my mother and our family traditions. Here is her recipe:

    1. Sandra Goodwin

      I wonder how many of us make tourtière in honor of our mother or grandmother. I see you use cloves instead of Bell seasoning. I was afraid to use garlic thinking it would taste more Italian than French.

      1. tacomamike

        Not ever tried the Bell seasoning. But I certainly know what I’ll be doing this weekend!

  3. Annemarie Taylor

    You mentioned at the end of your pod cast that your family’s tourtiere has crackers and potatoes in it. My family recipe also has crackers and potatoes in it. However, we do not use saltine crackers (because of the salt, not due to the lard). We use common crackers. They are difficult to find, but you should try them in your stuffing. The Vermont Country Store does carry them and you can buy them on line.

    I really enjoyed your podcast. It brought back some very pleasant memories and was very informative also.

    1. Sandra Goodwin

      Annemarie- I looked up your common crackers on the Vermont Country Store website ( They look like large oyster crackers. I may have to try them some time. My recipe calls for salt, but I use as little salt as possible. My aunt said my stuffing was the way she remembered, except it could use more salt. So I guess I’m safe using the Saltines. 🙂

    1. Sandra Goodwin

      Which version do you make – the Bell seasoning, the cloves and cinnamon, or something else?

  4. Linda Schreiber

    This sounds so much like the old medieval reality of ‘mincemeat’ pies. Now of fruit mince, but used to be very well-cooked meat, lots of different spices, for preservation and flavor, Love the probable reality of the pigeon pies! Scrap meat, seasoned, spies. Good stuff.

  5. M. A. Beldin

    OMG, Sandy, I think you cleared up a mystery for me. I have always wondered where our turkey stuffing recipe came from. I had never had any other like it. My grandfather was born in Plattsburgh and, according to my mom, was a cook on a boat sailing the Hudson River (not proven as yet). I would guess our stuffing recipe came from him but could have come from my grandmother’s father’s family which settled around Albany. At any rate, our stuffing includes celery, onions, sautéed in butter, sausage, potatoes, bread and sage. It is DEElish! Now, after listening to your podcast I see where its origins may have come from. Thanks! Last year, for Christmas, I actually made une tourtière for our family but at that time, I never put the filling for the tourtière and our turkey stuffing together. I am so excited to have a family French Canadian recipe since I have no stories or photos.

    1. Sandra Goodwin

      That’s terrific. Quite a family mystery to clear up. Now you have a bit of heritage to pass on to the future generations!

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