Soul Kitchen

Becoming fluent in English means doing things in English. Honestly, when I was a kid growing up in Nakusp, BC, I must have learned grammar and the ‘rules’ of the language at some point, but I sure don’t remember it this way. I remember playing a lot of games, sports, watching TV and if my friends said it, I said it. In Canada, like most countries in the world, we learned the language naturally.

To encourage this idea of ‘natural’ learning, in Soul Kitchen I’ll be cooking up monthly features on food, music, movies, sports, culture, and other topics which I hope will be of interest and useful for new Canadians, with an emphasis on all things Canadian. If you have any questions, comments about anything posted, or would like to see something featured in Soul Kitchen please email:


Soul Kitchen Entree # 1: Catherine’s Tourtiere

Food is a great way to practice English while making something delicious. For me, there are few ways better to experience a culture than by tasting it!

In my opinion, the best recipes are the ones your grandmother or mother kept in the family and passed on to younger generations. In this tradition of sharing recipes, here is the recipe my friend Catherine shared with me for tourtiere, a classic French-Canadian meat pie usually served around Christmas.

A lot of people may associate poutine (french fries with gravy and cheese curds, delicious but not very healthy!) with Canadian food. Tourtiere is less well-known, but equally delicious and probably a bit better for your health.  I tried this recipe and it is taaaaaaaasty! Another friend told me his family serves it with maple syrup and ketchup. I also tried this, if you’re like me, “Sweetness is my weakness!” One word: delish!

Bon appetit!


1 pound lean ground pork

½ pound lean ground beef

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

½ cup water

1 ½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground sage

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 large potato, cooked and diced or mashed

Pastry for 1 – 9 inch double crust pie (recipe follows, if you don’t have time store bought pastry is fine)

1 egg, beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Peel potato, then boil and mash.
  3. Simmer the onion, potato, spices, and meats in a large skillet with ½ cup water until it’s quite thick and browned. (1 hour-ish)
  4. Grease and lightly flour a 9 inch pie pan. (I like using butter for this) Put prepared pie crust into pan.
  5. Spoon meat mixture into prepared pie.
  6. Cover pie with top crust and cut some vents with a knife to release the steam. Brush with the beaten egg.
  7. Bake for 50 minutes.
  8. If it browns too quickly, cover with foil.


Catherine says if you have a heavy-duty stand mixer, this is a good recipe. I don’t, and I also like butter, so I am also including my favorite butter based pie crust recipe as an alternative.


5 cups all-purpose flour

2 /12 cups margarine & lard combination (1/2 and ½)

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt


  1. Mix dry ingredients in Kitchen Aid.
  2. Add liquid.
  3. Form dough into balls.
  4. To double, use 1 package lard and 4 squares of margarine.

Butter Pastry

I got this recipe from from the recipe for a Proper Steak, Ale and Mushroom Pie. (also an awesome recipe if you have the time to make it btw) I love the simplicity of this recipe, and it makes more than enough pastry for a thick crust, which I also like. If you have a favorite recipe please feel free to share it at


650g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

250g lard or cold butter (or half of each), diced, plus extra for greasing

1 egg yolk, beaten, to glaze


  1. Crumble the flour and lard, or butter, together with a generous pinch of sea salt until completely combined.
  2. Add up to 200ml ice-cold water to make a soft dough. This can be done in a food processor if you want.
  3. Knead the pastry, then wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 1 hr.
  4. The pastry can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept in the fridge or frozen for up to a month.

Bon Appetit!


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Photo by: Federico Comesana



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