Friday, June 22, 2012

Grandma's French-Canadian Meat Pie

Tortiere - Traditional Christmas Meat Pie
When I was a kid growing up in Detroit, my French-Canadian grandmother would make French meat pie that tasted like nothing I have ever had before or since. There was something about the spices and the texture that I have been craving for years.

These pies were a Christmas tradition in our family as grandma would make one for each family of her seven children, and of course, serve the rest up for the holiday repast. These pies freeze up well for later use and make great pot pies also.

I asked the women in my family if anyone had grandma's recipe, but nobody had a copy of it. Then it struck me, like so many women of her day, she didn't need a blueprint; she just knew how to make it. My mother tried to make it several times, but it never lived up to grandma's.

Looks great on the plate!
My grandmother met my grandfather while she was working as a young cook and baker for a bunch of lumberjacks who cut Canadian timber for box framing in the copper mines of Sudbury, Ontario.

Coincidentally, they both shared the same last name - Fournier. They met, married, and eventually moved to the states. My grandfather was the first of my family to work at Zug Island outside of Detroit.

After years of trying to get a family recipe, it finally struck me to just google it. I found over a dozen recipes with the same basic ingredients but with some variation of the spices used. It may take me some time to sample several of these recipes, but I'm coming closer to finding the one that tastes like grandma's.