Monday, December 1, 2008

Louisiana Natchitoches Meat Pies

Delicious Natchitoches Meat Pies are filled with a combination of ground beef and pork and nicely seasoned with onions, sweet peppers, garlic, cayenne and pepper sauce.

Louisiana Natchitoches Meat Pies

Natchitoches, Louisiana, is the oldest town in the Louisiana Purchase and is home to the oldest and largest Creole settlement outside of New Orleans. It is the parish seat of Natchitoches Parish and has a population of 17,865 (2000 census). Pronounced NACK-id-dush, it is also home of the famous Natchitoches Meat Pie, a popular street food since the late 1700's. A half-moon shape of pastry crust is filled with a spicy blend of beef and pork then fried golden and crispy. Seriously addictive, Natchitoches Meat Pies are a true Louisiana food.

Today, meat pies are a state-wide food staple, and include the flavors and culinary traditions of Africa, Brazil, Central America and the Caribbean. In New Orleans, meat pies are a local favorite and a Jazz Fest tradition.

The Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival is held annually in historic Natchitoches at the downtown riverbank along Cane River Lake.
Big name talent, a Meat Pie Eating Contest, a Meat Pie Making Contest and a Triathlon (named the Meat Pie Tri) are just some of the events usually scheduled. For upcoming festival information here.


Recipe: Louisiana Natchitoches Meat Pies

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Inactive time: 1 hour |Cook time: 30 min | Yield: 4+ pies

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • Beef stock or broth, as needed
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and Cajun seasoning, hot sauce and/or cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 2 pie crusts, homemade or store bought (Pillsbury recommended)
  • 1 egg
  • A bit of water
  • Cooking oil, if deep frying
Instructions

In a heavy-bottomed saute pan, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell peppers, and celery and saute about 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Last minute or so add the garlic. Add the beef and pork and saute until cooked through and most liquid has reduced down. Reduce to a low simmer and cook for about 60 minutes. Add small amounts of broth as necessary to prevent sticking. Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Remove from heat and let cool. You want your filling to be room temperature but not hot. If it is too hot it will make the pastry dough soggy. Number of servings will depend on how you cut the dough.

To Bake: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the pie crust in half and spoon a generous portion on each half. Prepare egg wash by whisking together egg and water and brush it around the edge of each round, fold over and press edges together with a fork. Place the meat pies on a greased cookie sheet or pan. Make a couple of small slits in the dough so the steam will vent out, brush some of the egg wash over each pie and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

To Fry: Traditionally at the festivals these pies are fried. Preheat your fryer to 375 degrees F, and then cut the pie crust up into smaller rounds - somewhere between 3 and 5 inches or so. Portion out the meat mixture onto each of the rounds. Proceed as above to fold and seal them with the egg wash, except don't brush the egg wash on top of course. Fry the pies until golden brown; drain and serve hot.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com


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Posted by on February 1, 2008
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38 comments:

  1. These sound yummy. Another reason to by a deep fryer. I showed my husband the picture of these pies and he's ready for them tomorrow night. Ha, imagine that.

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  2. I meant buy, not by. I guess I should proof read, huh?

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  3. They really are yummy - I love 'em! Now those in the picture are halves so they're baked. I prefer them that way. If you fry them, make them smaller than halves.

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  4. Omygoodness My husband has been wanting me to make these. I just did not have a recipe for them. He is going to be so excited.

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  5. These look delish and I will try my hand at making them...I do a Cornish version of meatpies as my Grandmother taught them to me using ground sirlion, potato, carrot, turnip or rootabaga and onion. We used to spend a whole day making and baking them and eat till we were stuffed!
    Your version sounds wonderful! :)

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  6. AkasaWolfSong, thanks so much for stopping by. These are very basic meat pies, but very good! Your version with all the veggies sounds so hardy, sort of like a pot pie, and so delicious. I love those kinds of family traditions - we have many like that where I live especially around Christmas, but I'm afraid they are dying off with the younger generation.

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  7. OH WOW, THESE LOOK SO GOOD! BEING A HOUSEHOLD OF BIG TIME MEAT EATERS, THESE ARE PERFECT!

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  8. These sound really yummy! I can't wait to try them, do you think they would be ok if made ahead of time and frozen?

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  9. Hi Meredith & yes! I would prepare them and skip the egg wash but cut slits in them. Line a cookie sheet, lay them out in one layer and flash freeze them individually, then wrap them for the freezer. When you're ready to cook them, I think they'd cook better thawed, but you'd probably want to unwrap them so the wrapper doesn't stick to them as it thaws. You can brush them with the egg wash just before baking or skip that of course if frying. Enjoy!

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  10. Ooooo making theses tonight only using turkey sausage instead of pork we don't eat pork...can't wait...thank you again...

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    1. I've never tried them with turkey sausage, so I really hoped that enjoyed them!! If I were using turkey I might have to bump up the seasonings a bit - would depend on how it was seasoned though I suppose! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment - appreciate that!!

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  11. Made them tonight. AMAZING! A definite do-over. Took a little extra prep time, but totally worth it. Delish. Thanks, Mary.

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    1. Yeah they do but the good thing is that you can make the filling ahead and freeze it too! So glad y'all enjoyed them Jen - thanks for letting me know!

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  12. Thanks for this recipe. I had inquired looking for something like this as I had ground venison. I made it with the venison and they were delicious. Thanks again.

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome Rob - glad you enjoyed the recipe & thanks so much for taking the time to come back by and let me know!

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  13. I planned to make these tonight but they really take too long on a week night. I had a pound of ground elk meat and a pound of ground pork so I went ahead and cooked the meat and veggies together and then scooped out half of the mixture and froze it for another time. To the remainder I added a can of black beans, a can of tomatoes, and a cup of water with a tsp of beef base and seasoned it with chili powder. Not exactly traditional chili, and my husband looked pretty skeptical when I served it, but he ate 2 big bowls. Can't wait to try the pies.

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    Replies
    1. Hope you enjoy them! The chili you made sounds delicious!!

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  14. These look good, but when reading the recipe my mouth kept telling me that there was something missing. Then it came to me. Cheese. I think if I made them, I would add a cup or two of a mild provolone or mozzarella to the room temperature meat / veggie mix.

    Mmmm.... Cheese...

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    Replies
    1. Cheese isn't a typical ingredient in Louisiana meat pies, but hey, how could that be wrong?!! Go for it. :)

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  15. I have been to the Natchitoches and had the real thing years ago, and these pies are simply the best. This recipe is one that has been used for a long time, and everyone tweaks it to suit their own taste. You can buy these in the freezer case in supermarkets all over Louisiana, so if you ever find yourself there for a visit, I highly recommend that you get a couple of boxes. You will not be disappointed, I guarantee.

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  16. I don't have any ground pork here and don't want to go out as it is 18 degrees, do you think just plain hamburger would be good?

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    1. I hear you on that! We're in for some cold weather here tonight too I hear. Teens for us with wind chill & for the Mississippi Gulf Coast that's COLD! The blend of pork and beef is most traditional & of course the pork does add flavor, but you could do these with plain ground beef. They won't quite be the same but they'll be good!

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    2. Thanks for the response, I did go out and buy pork, now I wanted to start making them but it is late, wondering if I got them altogether if you can put them in the refrigerator and bake or fry them the next day?

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    3. I would make the filling but don't stuff the dough until right before you cook them unless you plan to freeze the, or you risk the dough getting soggy & gummy from the filling. I hope that you enjoy them!

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    4. Isn't ground pork ,those rolls of sausage that we buy for sausage patties.? Some are mild, some are hot and some are regular and even maple. Can't this be used in this receipe??

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    5. Ground pork is plain, unseasoned pork that has been ground like ground beef and is usually found in the flat Styrofoam trays like ground beef is displayed. The rolls of breakfast sausage include a wide variety of different seasonings and may certainly be substituted for plain ground pork.

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  17. This granma doesn't know what URL means when trying to put my name in to publish my comment question, so I went back and put in anonymous???

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    1. There are several ways to post and anonymous is fine! If you use the other with Name/URL you may just insert your name and omit the URL portion. A URL is the address for a web page, such as http://deepsouthdish.com

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  18. These are one of THE best things I've ever made! I also visited Natchitoches, LA in the early '80s, attended these festivals. If any of you EVER get chance to visit, you should. HIGHLY recommend their cookbook CANE RIVER CUISINE. I bought this back in 1980 and am STILL using it all these years later. It can be ordered online. I've never cooked a single recipe that wasn't good. ****As for the person saying they don't have ground pork in their market, they can use bulk sausage, browned & finely chop it up. You can add ground beef as well.

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    1. Cane River a great representation of south Louisiana cooking for sure & thanks so much for sharing the tips too!

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    2. Use the dough recipe from Cane River Cuisine instead of frozen pie dough. MUCH better! The ones made with pie dough are not near authentic.

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    3. Well..... I would agree that homemade is almost always better truly, well, for pretty much anything! I would agree that eating one of these at the festival is the best ones to eat, but I will have to agree to disagree with you on Cane River's crust being MUCH better though. :)

      Even with a good commercial pie crust such as Pillsbury's refrigerated crust, this recipe is still delicious and I don't think a single thing is lost. While it may not be precisely "authentic," and I never make that claim, it is an excellent recipe that I absolutely stand by.

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  19. Made this a few days ago and it was a hit. I WILL make a few changes ( different crust than what I used, more liquid inside the packet), but it is delicious!

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    1. Glad to hear that you enjoyed the recipe - thanks!!

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  20. How would I keep pies warm for potluck?

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    1. You'll need access to an oven where you can keep them warm on low heat on a tray, uncovered, until just before serving (best method). If that's not possible then you'll need some kind of counter-top oven to hold them on low. You may be able to keep them warm with a large casserole style crockpot or Nesco type of roaster on low but with the lid cocked sideways so that no moisture builds up on the lid or insides. Otherwise they'll steam and get soggy.

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