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Modern Light Tourtiere

Tourtière is the marvellous savoury meat pie traditionally served on Christmas eve in Quebec - and now fortunately a custom that has swept across Canada. Classically made with a mixture of beef, pork and veal; our version using only ground chicken is certainly lighter but none the less flavourful. Nowadays we like to keep it uber healthy and let guests wrap the warm filling in buttery lettuce leaves -which works beautifully as a holiday appetizer. When you go this Asian route offer hoisin sauce and hot-garlic chili sauce for dabbing on the filling. Or go to the bottom of this recipe for easy directions to turn the filling into a pie.
Serves: 8
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 45 min


2 lbs ground chicken
3 tbsp butter
1 cup finely chopped cooking onion
3 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp dried sage leaves, crumbled
1 tbsp dried leaf thyme
1 ½ tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp celery salt or table salt
½ tsp nutmeg
3 bay leaves
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
¾ cup rolled oats

Food Safety

Before you start, wash all surfaces and your hands with soap and warm water, and remember to wash your hands, utensils and cutting boards after they touch raw meat or eggs. Avoid cross-contamination by using a different cutting board for your meat and other ingredients. Make sure you’re cooking to safe temperatures and chilling any leftovers within two hours. For more food safety tips, visit our Food Safety at Home Section.


  1. Melt butter in a large wide frying pan. Add onions and cook over medium-low heat until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add broth and all the seasonings including salt and bay leaves. Increase heat to medium. Dice carrot and celery and add.

  2. Once mixture comes to a boil, continue boiling over medium, uncovered, for 20 minutes to develop flavour and reduce the broth by at least half.

  3. Then add all the chicken and constantly work chicken with a fork to keep it separated. You do not want it to clump. Cook, working with a fork often to keep separated, until no pink remains, about 10 minutes. There should just be a little broth left in the bottom of the pan. Remove bay leaves.

  4. To thicken the mixture, sprinkle with oatmeal, stirring as you add. Stir for about 5 minutes to cook oatmeal and thicken, then turn off the heat and cover. Let sit for at least 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. (If making ahead, cover and refrigerate up to 2 days. Then reheat in if you wish in a saucepan or microwave, stirring often.)

  5. Use as a pie filling or spoon into a large bowl and set on a platter. Sprinkle with green onions. Place lettuce leaves on the platter. Set out hoisin sauces and hot sauces in small bowls. Guests can spoon the tourtière into lettuce cups, then dot with the sauces of their choice.

Helpful Tip

While mashed potatoes are usually used for thickening, oatmeal works beautifully and adds a clever nutritional bonus. Want to go the spud route instead? Simply boil up two potatoes, mash and use in place of the oatmeal.

Nutrition Info

Per serving Amount
Protein22 g
Fat20 g
Saturated Fat7 g
Carbohydrate11 g
Fibre2 g
Sugar2 g
Cholesterol99 mg
Sodium273 mg
Per serving % Daily Value
Vitamin A33
Vitamin C10
Vitamin B616
Vitamin B1213