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Tourtière, French Meat Pie, Our Lady of Lourdes, Minneapolis

Tourtière, French Meat Pie, Our Lady of Lourdes, Minneapolis
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  • Tourtière, French Meat Pie, Our Lady of Lourdes, Minneapolis

    Post #1 - September 13th, 2019, 11:09 am
    Post #1 - September 13th, 2019, 11:09 am Post #1 - September 13th, 2019, 11:09 am
    The Scandinavian influence is strong in Minneapolis, but French culture has left its mark as well. What in two decades would become Our Lady of Lourdes – "The French Church" – was built in the 1850s on the east bank of the Mississippi, making it one of the oldest churches in the state. Sermons were delivered in la langue maternelle until the middle of the 20th century. The meticulously restored edifice, proudly decorated with fleurs-de-lis, still stands just a few blocks from the east end of the Hennepin Avenue Bridge.

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    The plaque listing the mass times includes the line, "French Meat Pies Available." My kind of church!

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    Our Lady of Lourdes has been serving tourtière since the 19th century. According to their website, the funeral committee worked to determine a consensus favorite recipe, and that is the one used to this day. From time to time volunteers from the congregation gather to prepare large numbers of the pies, which are frozen and sold to support the church or served at their Dinners for the Hungry. Pies are available for sale ($20) every weekday at the Parish House next door. We visited on a weekend and were lucky enough to find someone with a key to the pie freezer. The frozen pies survived the drive back to Chicago quite nicely, packed in a cooler filled with ice.

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    These are substantial pies, weighing in at over two pounds. After an hour at 350F it was looking and smelling good.

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    I couldn't resist a slice hot out of the oven, but it improved in both texture and flavor after resting a while. The filling is simple – little more than finely chopped pork, a bit of finely minced onion, some breadcrumbs, salt, and spices. It's porky, salty, and redolent of clove. I found it delicious, but after back-to-back meals it became somewhat heavy and monotonous, in need of something to liven it up. I had no ketchup (the favored condiment of some), so tried a squirt of sriracha. Terrible! A dab of mustard was better (and something other than Polish horseradish mustard might well have been preferable). Spicy fig chutney was better still. Finally I tried a drizzle of maple syrup. I'm usually not a fan of sweet with my meat, but was amazed how well the syrup meshed with the pork-n-clove flavors. It should have come as no surprise, as this is classic Québécois fare.

    Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church
    1 Lourdes Place (behind the new Nye's Bar on Hennepin)
    Minneapolis MN 55414
    612-379-2259
    https://lourdesmpls.org/
  • Post #2 - September 13th, 2019, 11:22 am
    Post #2 - September 13th, 2019, 11:22 am Post #2 - September 13th, 2019, 11:22 am
    Putting maple syrup on a meat pie would not be my first thought, either, but I can see it working (pig meat loves sweetness), and I guess I'm not that surprised that a Frenchy type pie would be somewhat under-seasoned. In the event I ever get back to the Minneapolis area, I'll lay off the Somali food and pay a visit to Our Lady of Lourdes.

    As always, cool research, Peter.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #3 - September 17th, 2019, 6:42 pm
    Post #3 - September 17th, 2019, 6:42 pm Post #3 - September 17th, 2019, 6:42 pm
    I used to live in MSP and would pick up one of these pies every now and then (always after a stop at Kramarczuk's across the way). Tourtières were a Christmas Eve tradition for my French-Canadian family in New Hampshire, and the nuns' recipe is pretty darn close to my Tante Yvonne's. Thanks for the memory, Rene G!

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