Paleo Tourtière [or French Canadian Meat Pie]

Now that we’ve made Pie Dough, we need to get busy making some pie, don’t you think? Of course, we do.

How about we make a great French Canadian classic: tourtière, aka Meat Pie?

I know, I know. It’s traditional Christmas food. And Christmas is a thing of the past, now. I know. And I’m sorry if I’m still serving you some of my Christmas “leftovers”, but it seems like I’ve really been cooking up a storm again this year. Hey, I did have to “paleoify” my entire menu, after all!

And just as was the case with the Pork Shank and Meatball Stew that I shared with you not too long ago, tourtière is also a part of our sacrosanct traditional Christmas menu, so I just HAD to come up with a paleo version. There was no leaving it out!

I’m really glad I did, because honestly, this was my favorite meat pie EVER!

Paleo Christmas Meatpies | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

This year, I chose to cook my meat slowly in a Dutch oven instead of boiling it in a large stockpot like I usually do. I started by braising a whole bunch of pork shanks, which I later added to the meat mixture. I then used this super tasty cooking liquid to cook the minced meat in. The resulting meat filling was simply out of this world.

Filled with tons of fork tender chunks of pork, infused with the very flavor of Christmas all packed in the melt-in-your-mouth flakiness of the crust, this was definitely a meat pie to be remembered.

Again… I’ve a new official traditional recipe!

So, what do you say we pick things up where we left off when we last rolled the dough?

Paleo Christmas Meatpies | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

Once the meat mixture has had a chance to cool down some, it’s time to make the actual pies! See? I wasn’t even exaggerating a little when I said this filling had TONS of tender chunks of meat in it!

Paleo Christmas Meatpies | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

I like my pies to be nice and full, with a little rounded bump and in the middle. As such, I always make sure to create some sort or a mound with my filling.

I don’t know why, I never cared for flat pies. They look like they’re missing something…

And to make sure the top crust adheres really well, I usually like to brush the bottom edge with a mixture of eggs and cream. This year, however, I used coconut milk instead of cream, and it worked just as great!

Paleo Christmas Meatpies | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

I just couldn’t decide whether I wanted to stick with the traditional “full size pie” or be a little innovative and make cute little individual pies this year. Since this recipe is large enough for 2 pies, I figured why not do both?

Paleo Christmas Meatpies | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

And to make my little pies really cute and super festive, I decided to cut out stars for my tops instead of plain circles

Paleo Christmas Meatpies | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

I placed them right on the top of the meat. So simple, yet so efficient! Just press them down a little and they’re good to go.

Oh, if you want them to be all pretty and shiny, you can also brush some of that egg mixture right on top!

Paleo Christmas Meatpies | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

Same goes for the full size pie. After the top crust has been added, punch some sort of a hole in the center to give the steam a chance to escape and brush some of that egg mixture all over.

Paleo Pie Crust | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

And if you have a little bit of dough (and patience) left, cut out more little stars and stick them all around the edge of your pie for a stunning presentation.

Now all that’s left to do is put these babies in the oven…

Paleo Christmas Meatpies | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

Just don’t go do like I did and blast the music and go work on other things while your pies are baking. Oven chimes exist for a reason, you know… and that is to prevent your goods from burning! There is one small catch, though. They only work when you can actually hear them!

Paleo Christmas Meatpies | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

Still, even in that slightly over cooked state, the meat pies were absolutely delicious. And even pretty enough to pose for pictures!

Although they *could* have been so much prettier…

But hey! I’m sure you will forgive me that little faux-pas, won’t you?

Who knows, it might even prevent you from burning yours!

Paleo Tourtière [or French Canadian Meat Pie]

Yield: Serves 24 total

NF based on 1 of 24 servings

Paleo Tourtière [or French Canadian Meat Pie]


    Part I
  • 5kg pastured pork shanks (8 to 12, depending on size; yields about 900g cooked meat)
  • 3 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground clove
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp Himalayan or fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 small onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried savory
  • 1 tbsp dried mustard
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • Part II
  • 900g pastured lean ground pork
  • 450g grass-fed lean ground beef
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground clove
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup hazelnut flour, toasted
  • 1 Paleo Pie Crust recipe


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a heavy skillet set over high heat, melt a good amount of cooking fat, preferably lard.
  3. While the pan is heating up, mix all the spices of "Part I" together in a large plate. Pat the pork shanks dry and dredge them in that spice mixture, making sure that all sides are well coated.
  4. Add the shanks to the hot pan, 4 at a time, and sear them nice and good on all sides, until a nice golden crust forms, about 3-4 minutes per side. Add more fat when/if necessary.
  5. Place the shanks in a Dutch oven, add the water, onions, savory, mustard, parsley, as well as the rest of the spice mixture that didn’t get used to coat the pork shanks.
  6. Cover and place to cook slowly in the oven for about 4 hours, or until meat falls off the bones.
  7. Remove shanks from the cooking liquid and set aside to cool. Strain cooking liquid if necessary and return to Dutch oven.
  8. Add ground pork, ground beef and spices included in "Part II" of the recipe. Mix well with a large spoon until the meat is completely broken down into what almost looks like a puree.
  9. Place this back in the oven, partly covered, for about 1½ hour, taking care to mix well from time to time.
  10. While the meat is cooking, and when your shanks are cool enough that you can safely handle them, pick the meat out and set it aside; discard bones and fat.
  11. Toast the hazelnut flour over medium high heat in a dry skillet, constantly whisking until the flour takes a nice caramel brown color and starts to smell really good.
  12. When the minced meat is fully cooked and the liquid has pretty much completely evaporated, add toasted hazelnut flour and shank meat and mix well.
  13. Return to oven, uncovered, for another 20-25 minutes or until the cooking liquid has completely evaporated.
  14. Allow your meat mixture to cool then divide between 2 large pies or 24 individual pies. (see this post for pie crust recipe and instructions)
  15. Bake pies in a 400F oven for about 20 minutes.


Makes 2 large pies or 24 individual pies



  1. says

    I am terrible. I have never had tourtiere…and I am Canadian. How-ev-er, I am not french so that is my excuse. I know without even tasting it that I am going to LOVE this forever and ever. I mean meat and pie crust? 2 of my favorite things…and it’s healthy! I think I <3 you!

  2. says

    I’m totally in love with your mini pies! The star as the top crust is so adorable, and in all the years my grandmother and I have been making tourtieres together, WHY have we never thought to make mini ones??? They are so festive and perfect for entertaining! Definitely going to have to try that! Loving the spice combo you used too – we’ve never added mustard powder but I can see how that would round out the flavors of the other spices. Can’t wait to try it!!! Thanks for another winner Sonia!

    • says

      Funny, I’d never thought of making mini ones either, it just struck me this year. I can guarantee that I will be making them again, though, for not only they are super cute and festive, but they are also the best if you’re going to lay the entire meal in the middle of the table, like I usually do. It’s so much easier to grab a mini pie than it is to serve oneself a piece of a large pie.

      Anywho, I hope you still think of this recipe as a winner after you’ve tried it (but really, I’m super confident that you will!)

      Oh, and thanks for your kind words. As always, they mean so much to me! :)

  3. says

    I’m such a provincial guy, I have never had tourtiere before…Meat pie? Yes. English pie? Yes. Shepherds’ Pie? Yes.
    So I’m thinking you can keep the big one and ship me a couple of the mini ones. Have we got ourselves a deal? [and just to clarify, I have no idea what’s my end of the bargain in this deal, I’ll let you figure out that ;-)]

    • says

      Uh oh… I’m afraid the tourtières are all gone by now, all that’s left are the pictures! Guess that means you’re going to have to remain a tourtière virgin for a whee while longer. Ain’t that a shame! We will definitely have to fix this, though. Trust me, man: you NEED to have tourtière at least once in your life! And then once a year after that! 😉

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