Tourtière du Lac-Saint-Jean

Video interview with Marlène Dufour about the tourtière.
Duration: 1min 41 s
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The clip opens with the credit Dufour family, Tourtière du Lac-Saint-Jean. Mrs. Marlaine Dufour prepares the tourtière. She cuts and seasons vegetables and meat. Her daughter peels potatoes. Sitting at the table, Mrs. Dufour explains how she makes the meat pie. In the kitchen, she dices potatoes, combines the meat and rolls out dough.

[Marlaine Dufour: Where I’m from, it’s tradition, and it’s always existed. As far back as I can remember, we’ve always eaten tourtière at Christmas.]

[Background: Um, can you bring me up two large onions, please?]

[Marlaine Dufour: And my father is still alive. So as long as he’s alive, we’ll continue the ritual.  My mother makes tourtière every time she has people over. For her, it’s a way to treat her guests because she knows people like it and most don’t make it often because it’s so much work.]

And…it’s good! Because we make so much of it. You could make a small tourtière but it’s just not as good. That’s why we always use deep pans. It’s not because there are so many guests, it’s for the taste.

[crinkling of aluminum foil, spice mill, Christmas music]



Mrs. Dufour presses dough into the bottom of a pan and adds the meat mixture. She pours broth, covers the meat with a sheet of dough and puts the tourtière in the oven. Sitting at the table, she finishes her thought.

[Marlaine Dufour: In Montréal, they think that tourtière is just a plain meat pie. And it is a meat pie because it’s just ground meat in pie pastry. But there are different types of meat in tourtière du Lac-Saint-Jean. At first, it was made with passenger pigeon, which is a bird that’s now extinct. Today, they add all sorts of game, whatever they have, like, moose, partridge, hare. I use pork, beef and veal. And chicken, too. So it tastes better.]

[Background: OK, that’s enough.]

[Marlaine Dufour: And when we make it in my big pan, we put pastry at the bottom.]

[Her daughter (background): Everything alright?]

[Background: Bye-bye!]

[Marlaine Dufour (background): I think I’m going to increase it a little bit.]

[Marlaine Dufour: We put all this combined together and we season it two or three days prior. And then, we mix it all together. We add finely diced potatoes. Pour in the broth. And it cooks…]

Usually, I put it in at midnight, and we eat it the next day around 7 pm. So it cooks slowly, and that’s what makes it so tasty.

[Christmas music, voices, children playing]

Though she now lives in Mauricie, Marlaine Dufour remains attached to a tradition from her native Lac-Saint-Jean: tourtière du Lac-Saint-Jean…Just don’t call it meat pie!