Natchitoches Meat Pies
Source of Recipe
From "Southern Fried" by James Villas
"I've been fascinated by these sensational fried meat pies ever since I first tasted one at James Lasyone's legendary restaurant in Natchitoches, Louisiana, back in the 1970s, and have never stopped trying to perfectly duplicate the highly guarded recipe — known only to members of the Lasyone family. The fried dough of these half-moon pies is as important as the filling, and the secret to making them as crisp and ungreasy as possible is to ensure that the temperature of the cooking oil never falls below 365° F. The stuffed, uncooked pies can be very successfully frozen in plastic bags, then thawed and fried briefly for all sorts of last-minute emergencies. Also feel free to try any meat combinations for the filling."
List of Ingredients
◦ 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
◦ ¾ pound beef chuck
◦ ¾ pound ground pork
◦ ½ cup chopped scallions (part of green tops included)
◦ 1 clove garlic, minced
◦ 1 teaspoon salt
◦ 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
◦ ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
◦ 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
◦ 1 cup all-purpose flour
◦ 1 teaspoon baking powder
◦ ½ teaspoon salt
◦ 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
◦ 1 large egg, beaten
◦ ½ cup milk
◦ 1 cup peanut oil
To make the filling, heat the oil in a large skillet over moderate heat, add the beef, pork, scallions, and garlic, and cook, stirring and breaking up the meats, till the beef loses its red color. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to cook, stirring, till the mixture is almost dry, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, let cool, then chill.
To make the pastry, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl, add the shortening, and cut with a pastry cutter till the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
Add the egg and milk and stir till a ball of dough forms. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, roll out about ½ inch thick, and, using the lid of a coffee can, cut out rounds of dough.
To assemble the pies, place a heaping tablespoon of filling on one side of each round of dough. With your fingertips, dampen the pie edges with water, fold the other sides of dough over the filling, and seal the edges with a fork dipped in water. Prick twice with a fork on top.
To fry, heat the oil in a medium cast iron skillet to 365° F on a deep-fat thermometer, quickly fry each pie till golden, about 3 minutes on each side, and drain briefly on paper towels. Keep warm, and serve as hot as possible.
Makes about 18 small pies