CHC CANADA 150 FOOD BLOG CHALLENGE SERIES
Prelude: I am a proud Canadian. When the Culinary Historians of Canada invited food bloggers to participate in the “CHC Canada 150 Food Blog Challenge”, I knew that I wanted in! What a great way to celebrate and honour Canada’s 150th birthday by featuring a different Canadian dish or discussing a topic which reflects on what it means to be Canadian. For the month of May, in honour of Mother’s Day (May 14), CHC invited food bloggers to share recipes relating to mothers, recipes and techniques passed on by our mothers or grandmothers, or from our mother’s culture. I am honoured and proud to share a historical and famous recipe for My Mom’s French Canadian Tourtière.
Food has been such a significant part of my French Canadian heritage and some of my clearest childhood recollections are about food. It is not only the memories of the food that are so clear but the smells, the tastes and the surroundings that are so vivid. Holidays would not be the same without Mom’s tourtiere. In our family, the Christmas Eve menu always included a large tourtiere to enjoy before midnight mass.
There are a number of food traditions that are very important to my family, but my Mom’s famous tourtière is the most requested. I have had many versions of tourtière – from chefs colleagues, relatives and friends, but none can compare to my “Little Mom’s” French Canadian Tourtière. (More on “Little Mom”).
My Mom’s version of tourtière is more savoury than traditionally prepared tourtière due to the use of sage and poultry seasoning as opposed to the warm spices typically used (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice). Mom always insisted on a mixture of ground meat: beef, veal and pork. This combination makes a huge difference in the overall taste and texture of the tourtière filling. The aromatic fragrance of the tourtière mixture simmering is magical. Writing about it makes me nostalgic. Although I have adapted the process somewhat, I follow her recipe method and always make enough to share with family and friends, which was her tradition.
My Mom’s French Canadian Tourtière became quite famous in a small village in Ontario. Everyone loved it when she made her tourtière pies for church or village social events. As a matter of fact, the ladies of the village church approached her many years ago for her tourtière recipe to make and sell the pies for the parish fundraising efforts. She not only generously shared her tourtière recipe – she also taught them how to make it….