Food & Drink Magazine

Tourtiere Du Lac St Jean

By Mariealicerayner @MarieRynr
 Tourtiere du Lac St Jean 
My father grew up in the Saguenay/Lac St Jean region of Quebec in a town near Chicoutami called Bagotville. It is now called Ville de la Baie.  Situated on the banks of the Baie des Ha! Ha!, it is an area of great beauty. Growing up we visited the area several times to visit my Grandmaman and our French Aunt's, Uncles and cousins. We could not speak French, and they could not speak English, but we all spoke the language of love.
I remember my grandmother making this Toutiere for us once when we visited. It was delicious, and is very regional, differing a great deal from the other traditional tourtiere I shared with you last week. 
Tourtiere du Lac St Jean 
This one is composed of small cubes of meat, poatoes and onions in a lovely flaky pastry crust. It is meant to be cooked all night or all day in a slow oven until the meat and potatoes are meltingly tender.
I can remember my grandmother pulling it out of the oven onto the oven door and feeding it with water every now and then while it was cooking. It smelled absolutely tantalising when it was cooking.
Tourtiere du Lac St Jean 

Originally it was meant to hold three kinds of wild meat. Rabbit, partridge and venison or moose. Meat and game that would have been available and indigenous to the area.

We have always used chicken, beef and pork as we don't have ready access to those wild meats.  Irregardless, it is most delicious! 

We had promised to make one for my father over the holiday season. We had done the more common one for Christmas Eve and so did the Lac St Jean one for New Years Eve. Traditionally a time of celebration.

This is a holiday pie but I have been known to make it any time. Its so delicious we just enjoy it whenever we can!
Tourtiere du Lac St Jean 
We used my sister's lard and butter pastry recipe.  Its basically the recipe off the box of lard but she replaces some of the lard with butter.  
Her hints and tips for a flaky pastry are, one,  to always reserve some of the flour for when you are rolling the pastry out so that you are not adding too much flour, and it doesn't end up too dry. Measure the flour by spooning into the cup and leveling it off. Handle the dough the least amount as possible. Make and chill over night or at least for a few hours.

Cindy's Pastry

Cindy's PastryYield: makes 6 single crustsAuthor: Marie RaynerThis is my sister's butter/lard pastry. It is flaky and fool proof.


  • 1 3/4 cups lard (385g)
  • 1/2 cup butter (120g)
  • 5 1/2 cups flour (scant 5 1/4, reserving 1/4 cup for rolling) (770g, reserving 35 g for rolling)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 TBS vinegar
  • cold water to fill to one cup (240ml)


  1. Measure flour and salt into a bowl. (reserve 1/4 cup of flour for rolling) Drop in the lard and butter. Cut in using a pastry blender or two knives until the  mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Put the egg into a measuring cup, adding the vinegar and enough water to equal one cup.
  3. Add liquid gradually to the dry ingredients, stirring it in with a fork, until you have a dough which is not dry and which forms a ball in the bowl. Don't work it too much.
  4. Wrap and chill for several hours. Use as required.
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @marierayner5530 on instagram and hashtag it #EnglishKitchen Tourtiere du Lac St JeanTourtiere du Lac St Jean  We always begin these tourtiere the day before we plan on cooking them.  The meats, potato and onions need to be trimmed, peeled and cut into small cubes and then soaked in salt water over night.  
I suspect that originally this was so that they could lessen some of the "wild" flavor of the game.  But we still do it because it really helps to tenderise the meat and adds flavor.  
Tourtiere du Lac St Jean 
The next day when we go to bake it, we drain this mixture really well before adding it to the pastry.  We never have a soggy pastry or a dry pie.  It always turns out perfect.
It is not a slow process, baking this pie. It bakes in a slow oven all day, tantalising you with its delicious smell as it bakes.
Tourtiere du Lac St Jean 
My father had been so looking forward to this pie.  He was really excited when he saw it. As you can tell he was one very happy man. 
He could hardly wait to dig in.  A taste from all of the holidays of his childhood. He is 86, almost 87 now and slowing down a lot. His appetite is not what it used to be, but yesterday he enjoyed two servings of this.
Tourtiere du Lac St Jean  
It does make for rather a large pie.  We baked it in a really large aluminum roasting pan. Well two of them actually, one being inside the other for strength. It is also a heavy pie. 
You might think that it would be soggy on the bottom, but if you place the baking tin onto a heated baking tray in the oven, this helps to start the bottom crust cooking right away and keeps it crisp.
Tourtiere du Lac St Jean 
Also never heat up or cook the filling ahead of time.  Adding hot filling to the pastry would melt/melts the fat in it too soon. This also creates soggy. 
As you can see ours was perfectly baked and wonderfully crisp and flaky.  You also want the pastry a bit thicker for this as it is a very sturdy pie. 
Tourtiere du Lac St Jean 
Doesn't that look delicious? I can assure you that it is!  We were all in meat pie eating heaven last night. Not just my father!  Both the men had two servings and we froze the remainder of it to have another time. We also kept out a piece to send home with dad today. It is supposed to snow a lot tomorrow and he may not be able to get over for his supper like usual.
Tourtiere du Lac St Jean 
The corners are always my favorite bit  The pastry is a bit thicker there and I am crazy about pastry. Who isn't!! 
You can get a closer look at the filling here. It was just right. I had not had to add any liquid to it at all during baking this time. Funny how that goes. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don't.
Tourtiere du Lac St Jean 
This was absolutely perfect.  With a rich and delicious filling.  Beautifully flaky pastry. Just enough potato, onion and seasoning.
We always add a pinch of cloves.  Some people add garlic and its certainly delicious that way, but dad is not fond of garlic and so we don't.
Tourtiere du Lac St Jean
We do add a bit of summer savoury, which is an herb which is grown in Eastern Canada abudantly. It is a real favorite and flavours much of our Eastern Canadian savoury dishes.  And while it is not traditional for this kind of tourtiere, it is traditional in ours.  We all enjoyed this very much with a mixed salad on the side and some pickles. Dad enjoys his with ketchup. I like mine plain. Its delicious any way you choose to enjoy it!

Tourtiere Lac St Jean

Tourtiere Lac St JeanYield: 16Author: Marie Raynerprep time: 24 Hourcook time: 6 H & 45 Mtotal time: 30 H & 45 MThis very generous meat pie is indigenous to the Saguenay region of Quebec. Originally it would have been made with wild meats, but today we use beef, chicken and pork. Its delicious!


  • 1 3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken
  • 1 3/4 pound boneless pork
  • 1 3/4 pound beef steak (we use bottom round)
  • 5 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 onions, peeled and diced
  • 2 TBS salt
  • pinch cloves
  • 1/4 tsp summer savoury (not traditional, but we like it)
  • black pepper
  • water to cover
  • Pastry for six crusts (We bake this in a large, deep roasting tin)


  1. Cut all of your meats, onions and potatoes into a small dice. Place into a bowl along with the salt, cloves, summer savoury and cold water to cover. Place into the refrigerator or some other cool place, covered, and leave to soak overnight. When you are ready to make your pie, drain really well.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400*F/200*C/ gas mark 6. Have a large baking tray in the oven heating up with the oven.
  3. Roll two thirds of your pastry out to line your baking tin amply. You will want it between 1/4 and 1/3 of an inch thick. Spoon the meat and potato filling into the pan, without compressing it. Roll the remaining pastry out large enough to cover the filling, cutting a hole in the center to vent and to give you a place to add any liquid as needed. Place over top and then trim and flute the edge all around. You can put a few slits in the corners if you want.
  4. Place onto the heated baking tray and pop into the hot oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the heat down to 350*F/180*C/ gas mark 4. Bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes or until you see the filling bubbling through the hole in the center. The pastry should be starting to turn light golden brown. Loosely tent with some aluminum foil and reduce the oven temperature to 250*F/about 125*C/ gas mark 2. Continue to bake for a further 5 1/2 to 6 hours. Check it periodically to make sure it isn't going dry. If you think it is, you can pour a bit of water or stock into the hole in the center.
  5. Uncover for the last 1/2 hour and turn the temperature back up to 350*C/180*C/ gas mark 4 to crisp up the top of the pastry. Leave to sit for about 15 minutes before cutting it into squares to serve.
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @marierayner5530 on instagram and hashtag it #EnglishKitchen Tourtiere du Lac St Jean

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