Joyeux Noël


I, MC Warmspice, am a terrible Canadian. I don’t watch “the hockey,” like maple anything; nor do I eat or drink anything from Tim Horton’s. Truthfully,  I wasn’t even born or raised here.

So this year I decided to incorporate a délicatesse Québécois into our Riverdale Christmas. Oh, Pierre Trudeau as my witness, I will endeavour to make tourtiere every year henceforth.

I took my recipe from the most authentically Canadian restaurant I’ve been to, Au Pied du Cochon, but I adapted it to what I had on hand, and what I liked from other recipes. Please buy the Au Pied du Cochon cookbook (unless you’re vegetarian; that would be a major bummer). Their recipe is better than mine, but this is what I did.


  1. two small onions, chopped finely
  2. one potato, two carrots and three cloves garlic, grated
  3. 1.5 lbs ground meat (70% pork, 30% veal)
  4. one tablespoon ground, dried porcini mushrooms
  5. five ground cloves
  6. a pinch of allspice
  7.  a large pinch (well, truthfully, two) of cinnamon
  8. a scrape or two of nutmeg wouldn’t hurt
  9. salt and pepper
  10. one cup white wine
  11. one recipe pie crust, NOT the trans-fat laden kind from the freezer section
  12. one egg-yolk
I sweated the onions and cooked them until they were almost caramelized, added the other veggies and the pork, then the spices and cooked on medium heat for ten minutes. I added the wine and cooked for ten more. I then drained off the sauce and the fat, chilled it, degreased it, and cooked it down into a syrup.

I won’t go into detail about my own misadventure with the crust, but just trust me: make a traditional butter crust, chill it, roll it into a small pie pan, chill it again, add the meat (after testing for seasoning) and spoon the reduced juices over it. Top with crust and cut holes for steam. Brush with one egg yolk and a bit of water.
Cook at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Lower to 350 and cook for at least ten more minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

I think my shaggy crust would make most francophone Canadians cry (sorry, I tried), but I was instantly converted. We served it with lingonberry sauce (I am Wisconsinese), but I’m not trying to dilute the tradition.

Joyeux Noël.