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Traditional Tourtiere from the Readmore Inn Bed and Breakfast

December 18, 2013

The Readmore Inn is a cozy and romantic getaway in Bellows Falls-perfect for a holiday vacation. Innkeeper Dorothy Read is a spectacular cook and a wealth of traditional recipes. Here, she shares her version of her grandmother's recipe for traditional meat pies!  

Meat Pies, (or tourtiere) are a traditional French Canadian dish, a treat that was served in our family on Christmas Eve and other special occasion. This is my version as I have substituted the ground turkey for the beef, but if you eat beef, you may use it here. This makes two bountiful pies, and they freeze well.

Mémé’s Good Times Tourtiere


  • One large onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp. duck fat or olive oil
  • 2 pounds Vermont ground turkey
  • 1 pound fresh Vermont pork sausage, broken up
  • 1 tbsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp. dried sage, or 1 tbsp. fresh, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • Chicken stock or water to almost cover, about two cups
  • One sleeve crackers smashed into crumbs
  • 1 cup diced potatoes, precooked
  • 2 Double crust pastry recipes

Sautee the onion in the fat in a large pan. Add the turkey burger, sausage, spices, and enough stock to just cover with bits poking their heads up. You can also use just plain water here. Bring to boil, cover, reduce, and slow cook on low heat, covered, about an hour, stirring now and then.

Remove the lid, stir, and remove some of the fat and liquid that has accumulated. Add crackers and potatoes. Stir well, and spoon back a little of the liquid if need be. The mixture should be soft, but with no visible pools of liquid.

Pour into two prepared bottom crusts and make smooth. Add the top crusts, and always a little pastry decoration. This is, after all, holiday food, so it should look as pretty as it tastes. I like to decorate with little leaves made from the pastry trimmings. Brush all with an egg wash made of an egg and a little cold water.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 to 50 minutes. It should be golden brown! Check when the house starts to smell really good.

Let set at least 20 minutes before cutting. Traditionally, this was served with a brown gravy, but I like it much better with a wild mushroom gravy or sauce on the side.

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