Monday, October 7, 2013

Natchitoches Meat Pies

The pies on the left were baked in the oven and the ones on the right were deep fried.
Fried is definitely better! 

Natchitoches (pronounced NACK-uh-dish), Louisiana, located in Northern Louisiana, is the birthplace of Natchitoches Meat Pies.  The original Natchitoches meat pies were created at Lasyone’s restaurant in downtown Natchitoches.  These pies are filled with ground beef, pork, onions and spices and go perfect with a side of Cajun dirty rice! 

They are definitely not health food (as they are deliciously deep fried)………but they are so yummy!  Down South, you can find frozen Natchitoches meat pies in your local supermarket, but here in Denver……..not so much!  So, I tried this recipe from the cookbook: Best of the Best from Louisiana: Selected recipes from Louisiana’s favoritecookbooks.  Although the original meat pies in Natchitoches are hard to beat, this recipe turned out to be a great substitute…….until I can get down there to enjoy the real deal!  Cheers!  I hope you enjoy these!

Filling:
1 ½ lbs ground beef
1 ½ lbs ground pork
1 cup chopped green onions (tops and bottoms)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon coarse-ground red pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour

Combine ground beef, ground pork, onions and seasonings in large skillet or Dutch oven.  Cook over medium heat, until the meat is just browned and onions are tender.  Sift flour over the meat mixture, stirring until well combined with the meat.  Drain meat in a large colander to remove excess grease.
Allow meat to cool to room temperature.

Crust:
2 cups self-rising flour
1/3 heaping cup of Crisco, not melted  - Told you they aren't health food.  :)
1 egg, beaten
¾ cup milk

Sift flour and cut shortening into flour.  If you don’t have a pastry cutting tool, you can use two knives and this works fine.  Add beaten egg and milk to the flour.  Form the resulting dough into a ball.  Roll out about 1/3 of the dough at a time on a lightly floured board or pastry cloth.  Cut dough into 5 to 5 ½ inch circles…..you can use the top of a coffee can or a biscuit cutter.  Cut out the circles for the pies and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. 

Assemble the pies:
Place a heaping tablespoon of meat filling on one side of the pastry round.  Dampen edge of the dough with water and fold the top over the meat.  Crimp edges with a fork dipped in water.  Using a fork, prick each pie twice before cooking. 
Fry ‘em up! :
Fry in deep fat fryer at 350 degrees until golden brown.  I no longer own a deep fat fryer, so I used a large deep skillet filled with about 1 inch of vegetable oil.  These meat pies will freeze beautifully if enclosed in plastic sandwich bags.  When frying frozen meat pies, there is no need to thaw before frying. 
I don't recommend baking these in the oven.  I baked the lighter colored ones pictured on the left and they were nowhere near as good as the fried ones.  So, just do an extra workout and enjoy the deep fried goodness! 
Makes 26-28 (5 to 5 ½ inch pies).