If you can't get to Louisiana fast enough, make these authentic Natchitoches Meat Pies in your own kitchen!
Once you make these savory French meat pies, you'll understand why they're so popular in Louisiana!
The town of Natchitoches is the original French colony, the oldest Parish in the Louisiana Purchase, home to the famous Natchitoches Hand Pies, and where the Southern classic movie "Steel Magnolias" was filmed!
Due to its French heritage, it is pronounced "Nack'-a-tish." The lady on YouTube pronounces it "Nack-a-tosh" but that's wrong, according to Ann and Kelly at the Official Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Why you'll love this recipe
- It's authentic-if you can't get to Louisiana, this is the next best thing
- All-natural-no additives, preservatives or fillers
- Easy to make ahead of time - cook the filling and make the pastry dough the day before!
- Easy to reheat and have as a snack
Almost every culture has a meat pie, and this authentic Natchitoches Meat Pie recipe is native to Louisiana, via French immigrants, both Cajun and Creole.
In the northern United States, meat-filled pies are called "pasties," which were a typical lunch for coal miner's way back in the day.
The Spanish have "empanadas," which are basically the same concept, but with different seasonings.
I tried to stay true to the Official Natchitoches Meat Pie Recipe as possible; it turns out, my Grandmother's handwritten recipes is the same as the published original! My recipe is an adaptation of the original (I added a few seasonings.)
Here's what you'll need:
Filling ingredients: Ground beef, ground sausage, onion, green bell pepper, bay leaves, cayenne powder, ground sage, milk, flour, salt and pepper
Pastry ingredients: flour, baking soda, butter, salt
I forgot to get out the ground sage for this picture:(
How to make Natchitoches meat pies:
At first glance, this meat pie recipe looks difficult, but it's easy if you break it down into 4 -easy steps:
- Make the filling
- Make the pastry dough
- Assemble the pies; refrigerate for 15 minutes
Before you get started, read the recipe and notes 3 times.
Brown the beef and sausage; drain and set aside; saute onion and bell pepper
Add cooked meats back into the skillet with the cooked onion and bell pepper
Add remaining ingredients and slurry; cook 5-7 minutes, or until mixture thickens; remove from heat; set aside
A note about making the pastry:
When you add the cold bits of butter to the pastry, you can combine it by hand or give it a quick pulse in the food processor.
I always combine it by hand because the food processor isn't big enough to mix the entire amount of flour and butter together at once and I'm afraid if I pulse it in batches, it won't combine properly.
The dough should be grainy, but after you knead it a few times, it begins to stick together. Do Not Overwork the Dough.
While this mixture is cooling, make the pastry; place dough on lightly floured surface and roll out to ¼" thickness
Once the dough is rolled out, cut out circles ( I use a small salad plate as a template).
Place about ⅓ cup of cold meat onto the cold pastry disc. Fold top over meat, forming a half-moon. Press edges together with a drop of water on your fingertip.
Score edges with fork; trim with pizza cutter or knife and cook.
Fried Meat Pies:
- Get a large, heavy-bottom stock pot and add 4 cups of oil
- Heat oil to 312ºF; gently place pie in oil
- Cook 3-minutes; flip and cook other side 3-5 minutes
- Drain on paper towel; repeat
Baked Meat Pies:
- Preheat oven to 35-ºF
- Lightly oil baking pan
- Combine egg and water to make an egg-wash; brush egg wash over meat pies
- Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown
How many pies does this recipe yield?
This recipe for Natchitoches Meat Pie yields about 6 pies that are 7" in diameter. You can make meat pies larger or smaller - your call!
How to make in advance
The best way to make this ahead of time is to cook the meat pie filling and prepare the pastry dough and store them separately in the fridge. Cover dough securely with plastic wrap.
When you're ready to assemble them, roll out the dough to ¼ " inch thickness and form the discs.
Place about ⅓ cup of cold meat on pastry and cook
If you want to assemble the meat pies in advance, follow the instructions above and place covered hand pies in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
How to cook meat pies:
- Preheat oven to 350º F; place pies on a parchment-lined or lightly oiled baking sheet.
- Brush on egg wash; bake 20-25 minutes, or until crispy brown on the outside and internal temperature reaches 160ºF.
- Use a tall stock pot or Dutch oven and heat oil to 312-325ºF.
- Once oil is hot, use a long-handled, slotted spoon and slowly lower raw pies in the oil; work in batches
- Fry pies 2-4 minutes; drain on paper towel
Freezing and Reheating Meat Pies
You can freeze the meat pies before OR after you cook them.
- If uncooked, place in an airtight container and freeze for up to three months. When ready to cook, allow pies to thaw, then fry or bake. (If baking, don't forget the egg wash!)
- For pies that you've already cooked, allow pies to thaw a bit, then reheat in a 350ºF oven, uncovered, until the center is warm (about 15-25 minutes)
How to reheat Natchitoches Meat Pie
- Preheat oven to 350ºF; place thawed meat pies on lightly oiled baking dish, uncovered
- Bake 10-15 minutes, until the internal temperature is 160ºF
What to serve with meat pies
- Read the entire recipe (including Recipe Notes) three times before you start
- Don't worry if the edges of your meat pies are raggedy; trim them with a pizza cutter
- Refrigerate the assembled meat pies 15-20 minutes before cooking (or freeze them for 10-12 minutes)
- Use a thermometer to ensure the frying oil is around 312ºF before you place the meat pies in it
- Once you place the pies in the oil, use a spatula to splash a little oil over them (this ensures they won't fall apart)
- Use leftover dough to make extra pie rounds; just gather up dough remnants (from your circles), form them into a ball; flatted, roll and make another pie
- If you have leftover meat, save it and make a "faux" Shepherd's Pie
This vintage meat-pie recipe is as authentic as it gets! If you can't get to Natchitoches, Louisiana, this is definitely the next best thing!
- Shrimp Etouffee
- Louisiana Seafood Gumbo
- Shrimp Creole Pasta
- Creamy Creole Coleslaw
- Louisiana Crab Puff Appetizers
Natchitoches Meat Pie
- Dutch oven or tall stock pot
- Long handled slotted spoon
- Meat thermometer
- Two mixing bowls: one large, one small
- Paper towels and plate to drain pies on (if frying)
- Baking sheet and parchment paper (if baking)
- Pastry brush (if baking)
Meat Filling Ingredients
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 lb. ground pork , with or without sage
- ½ large onion finely diced, about 1 cup chopped
- 1 green bell pepper finely diced, about 1 cup chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced, or 1 tablespoon prepared minced garlic
- 4 cups oil , canola or vegetable
- ¼ cup flour all purpose
- 2 teaspoons ground sage , (if your pork doesn't contain sage); (See Recipe Notes)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 teaspoon = mild; if you like spice, add more cayenne
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cups milk , 2% or whole
- salt & pepper to taste
- 8 cups flour ,plus a handful for rolling out dough
- 4 teaspoons salt , kosher
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 whole eggs , cold
- 2 sticks butter cold, unsalted, cut into tiny cubes,
- 2 cups milk , cold
Egg Wash (if baking)
- 1 whole egg lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon water
- In a heavy skillet, add beef and pork; cook thoroughly until no pink is visible; drain
- In same skillet, add onions, green onions, bell peppers; saute 3 minutes on medium high or until green bell peppers are tender; add garlic; stir
- Add cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves and sage (if your pork doesn't already have sage in it); allow to cook for 15 minutes on medium; (See Recipe Notes)
- While meat is simmering, make a slurry: In a two-cup measuring cup, add 2 tablespoons flour and fill the measuring cup with milk; mix with fork until smooth; pour this mixture (slurry) into the skillet with the beef; combine well. (The "slurry" will thicken the meat mixture.)
- Allow this to cook for about 5-8 more minutes, or until the beef mixture begins to thicken; once the mixture thickens a little, turn off the heat; remove bay leaves; taste for salt & pepper; cover and refrigerate; now make the pastry dough
- Get out two bowls: one large, one small
- In the large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder
- In the small bowl, add cold eggs and milk; slightly beat together until combined
- Slice cold butter into small (tiny) cubes
- Add the tiny cubes of cold butter to the dry ingredients; "cut it in"using your fingers; (crumble the butter pieces and combine with the flour until butter until the mixture looks grainy)
- Once the flour mixture looks grainy, gradually fold in the cold egg/milk mixture; combine with a spatula; form into a ball; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes ( See Recipe Notes)
- Sprinkle some flour onto a clean surface; place the dough on the counter and roll it out till it's about ¼" thick
- Cut dough circles out of the dough that are approximately 7" in diameter; use a saucer or the bottom of a 9" salad plate as a guide--doesn't have to be perfect! (see recipe notes)
Meat Pie Assembly
- Spoon ⅓ cup of the cold meat mixture onto the center of dough disc; fold one side of the dough over the meat so the edges of the circle form a half moon; press the edges together using your finger and a little water
- Use a fork to "cinch" the dough together; trim with a pizza cutter or sharp knife; repeat process for the remaining meat and dough rounds; set aside
- Refrigerate pies for 15-20 minutes
- Heat a heavy bottomed stock pot with oil; bring to 312-325ºF; if oil begins to smoke, remove pot from burner and reduce heat immediately
- Use a long handled, slotted spoon and place formed pies into hot oil; work in batches; usually 3 at a time; remove cooked pies and place on paper towel; repeat until all pies are done; each pie takes 2-4 minutes
- Preheat oven to 400ºF
- In a small bowl, make an egg wash. Add one whole egg and a teaspoon of water to the bowl; combine well
- Use a pastry brush and coat the top of each pie with the egg wash
- Place pies on a parchment covered baking sheet
- Bake pies for 20-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160ºF
- Cook the beef, pork and onion mixture; refrigerate or allow to cool
- Make the pastry dough; cut out 7" rounds (cut out 4" inch rounds if you want a smaller meat pie); refrigerate covered in plastic wrap for about 20 minutes
- Assemble the meat pies
- Bake or Fry until internal temperature reaches 160ºF
- It should be grainy after you've added and combined the cold butter
- Put it on a lightly floured surface and gently knead it gently until it begins to stick together. DO NOT OVER WORK THE DOUGH. (If you knead the pastry dough too much, gluten will develop and the pastry won't be "fluffy")
- Make the dough ahead of time; cover and refrigerate it
- Use a small salad plate or saucer as a template to form the circles of dough
- If you're in a hurry, cook the meat, sausage and onions all together in the same skillet; then drain
- After you form the meat pie, it may stick to the counter; just gently slide the back edge of a butcher knife under the pie to loosen it
- These can be baked or fried; frying is quicker
- Use a heavy duty stock pot for frying
- Expect to have about 6 pies and some leftover meat filling
- Use the leftover meat to make a faux Shepherd's Pie later in the week!
- This recipe for Natchitoches Meat Pie yields about 6 pies that are 7" wide.
- Make these any size you like
- I always have leftover meat. This recipe will yield more if you start out with a smaller diameter, but they will be more "bite size" than entree size.
♥ If you make this recipe, leave a comment and rating below! Thank you!