French and English Canadians may be at odds politically, but at Christmastime, both make tourtiere, a French-Canadian meat pie that goes back to the 17th century. These days, both French and English Canadians may use prepared piecrusts and fill the pies with pork or veal rather than the rabbit and other game meats that used to go into them. But the dish still defines "comfort food" for Canadians at Christmastime, says Monique Gerard Solamita, a writer at the JOURNAL DE MONTREAL. "Nobody ever makes one tourtiere," she says. "You make six or seven pies early in December and freeze them. On Christmas Eve, you serve them with ketchup or chutney and pickles. And at the end of the meal, after the buche de Noel and sugar pie and fruitcake."
In a saucepan, mix the pork, beef or veal, onion, garlic, savory, sage, cloves, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup boiling water and simmer about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the meat is no longer pink and the mixture is dry. Drain off excess fat, remove bay leaf and correct seasoning. Line the pie plate with one of the crusts and sprinkle it with bread crumbs. Spoon in meat mixture and cover with the top crust. Seal the edges, cut slits in the top crust and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Makes 8 servings.