In French Canada, Tourtiere, a wonderfully rich pork pie, occupies a place of honor that’s likely unmatched by any other dish. It is served ubiquitously on Christmas Eve. This holiday party even has its own name: "Reveillon". In French the word means ‘awakening’. This midnight gathering is a feast of indulgent food and song. In many families, a Christmas Eve nap is a must to prepare for the long night ahead. Then, after midnight mass, family and friends return home to a rich buffet of comfort food all laid out to welcome the cold and weary worshipers. Helped along by a steady flow of mulled wine of cider, the end of the meal is often the point where everyone breaks into song singing Christmas Carols. The other event that is often an occasion for a Reveillon is of course, New Year’s Eve itself.
|No Reveillon would be complete without|
Tourtiere, and plenty of them
Since our trip to Montreal last Fall, I’ve had a Reveillon of my own. My interest in all things Quebecois has been awakened. So I wanted to bring a traditional French Canadian Tourtiere to our table over the holidays. Now a traditional Tourtiere is a pork pie consisting of both ground meat and pulled pork, its seasoning a unique blend of cinnamon and ground cloves. But tourtiere is a very expansive recipe and the Quebecois make all manner of fillings depending on where they live (think seafood tourtiere) and what they have on hand (think wild game tourtiere). Interestingly, the word ‘tourte’ means ‘passenger pigeon’ in French and folklorists believe that the earliest French Canadians first made pigeon pies. When the passenger pigeon was hunted out of existence, they turned to pork. Because basically pork is the king of meats in Quebec.