Natchitoches Meat Pies hail from Natchitoches, Louisiana which is about halfway between Shreveport and Lafayette. These meat hand-pies are full of savory ground beef, pork, peppers and onions and can be fried or baked, although the traditional method is fried. This recipe is an adaptation of the original. Once you make these savory French pocket sandwiches, you'll understand why they're so popular in Louisiana!
The town of Natchitoses is the original French colony, the oldest Parish in the Louisiana Purchase, and home to the filming of the Southern classic movie "Steel Magnolias."Due to it's 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 Visitor's Bureau.
The origin of Natchitoches Meat Pie is somewhat vague. It is believed to be adapted from the Spanish and French Canadians (Natchitoches was founded by French Canadian Louis Juchereau de St. Denis.)
The recipe for these beautiful Louisiana meat pies comes from of my Grandmother. 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!
What's in a Meat Pie?
I found the "original recipe" for the meat filling tasty, but not very flavorful. It consists of ground beef, onion, garlic and parsley. In this recipe, I added additional ingredients and seasonings, namely green bell pepper, sage, cayenne, bay leaves and Worcestershire sauce. Other than these seasonings, this is pretty much the original recipe. Ann confirms that in Natchitoches, meat pies are made a million different ways with different seasonings, but the most popular pies are those from Lasyone's.
Authentic Meat Pie of the South
In my conversation with Angela, owner of Lasyone's (who won't reveal her secret seasonings), she confirms they, too, season their famous pies more than the original recipe. They must be pie-making all night and day because they hand make 400-1600 meat pies a day! My poor back couldn't imagine that. Heck, I made just one batch and had a backache...I'm a wimp.
Every Culture Has Their Own Version of a Meaty Pastry
Every culture has some version of a meat pie. In the Upper Peninsula and surrounding areas, meat pies are knows as "Pasties", the Spanish have "Empanadas", Brits have a "Cornish Pastry", the Filipino's have a "Buka Pie", the Finnish have the "Lihapiirakka" and the non-cooks have "Hot Pockets®"! Ingredients and seasonings may vary, but a fried meat pie is absolutely one of the best dishes to serve to friends and family.
Can I Omit Pork From the Recipe?
Yes. Just substitute the pork with ground beef or turkey, or double the beef.
Can I Make Louisiana Natchitoches Meat Pies in Advance?
Yes, simply form the pies, then freeze the uncooked pies in a sealed container. On the day of serving, thaw in the fridge.
Once thawed, preheat oven to 400ºF, place cold pies on a parchment-lined 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 (usually 3 to a batch). Fry pies 2-4 minutes; drain cooked pies on paper towel
Make a big batch of these delicious meat pies to go with these other Mardi Gras recipes!
How Many Servings Will This Recipe Make?
This recipe for Natchitoches Meat Pie yields about 12-14 pies (starting with a 5" pastry round); however, I had a bit of leftover meat. This recipe will yield more pies if you start out with a smaller diameter, but the pies will be more "bite size" than entree size. If you're worried you won't have enough dough, double the recipe.
If you like food from Louisiana, you might try Shrimp Etoufee,
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
- 2 tablespoons oil
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ large onion finely diced
- 1 green bell pepper finely diced
- 1 bunch green onions finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons ground sage
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 teaspoon = mild; if you like spice, add more cayenne
- 2 bay leaves
- salt & pepper to taste
- 4 cups flour plus a handful for rolling out dough
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 stick butter cold, unsalted, cut into tiny cubes,
- 1 cup milk
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 and set aside
- In same skillet, add onions, green onions, bell peppers; saute until green bell peppers are tender; add garlic
- Add cooked meat back into onion mixture; add cayenne, sage, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves; allow to cook for 15 minutes on medium; taste for salt and pepper
- While meat is simmering, make a slurry: In a two-cup measuring cup, add 2 tablespoons flour and fill the measuring cup with warm water; mix with fork until smooth; pour this flour/water 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 place in refrigerator for 15 minutes
- Get out two bowls: one large, one small
- In the large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder
- In the small bowl, add egg 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"=use a fork and "chop" the butter until the mixture looks grainy, almost like sand
- Once the flour mixture looks grainy, gradually fold in the egg/milk mixture; you will want to use a spatula as much as possible (you can use your hands at the very end but beware - using your hands will warm the butter and increase the gluten in the dough, which will create a limp, soggy dough)
- Once the dry and wet ingredients are combined, throw some flour onto a clean, lightly floured surface; place the dough on the counter and roll it out till it's about 1/4" thick
- Cut dough circles out of the dough that are approximately 5" in diameter; use a saucer or the bottom of a 9" salad plate as a guide--doesn't have to be perfect!
Meat Pie Assembly
- Spoon 1/2 cup of the cold meat mixture onto the center of 5" dough disc; fold one side of the dough over the meat so the edges of the circle form a half moon; use a fork "cinch" the dough together; repeat process for the remaining meat and dough rounds; set aside
- 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 in batches; usually 3 at a time; remove cooked pies and place on paper towel; repeat until all pies are done
- 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
Easy Steps for Making Natchitoches Meat Pies
- Cook the beef, pork and onion mixture; set aside, meanwhile
- Make the pastry dough; cut out 4" rounds
- Assemble the pies
- Bake or Fry until internal temperature reaches 160ºF
- A good idea: make the dough ahead of time, like a day before, and refrigerate it, otherwise, this recipe takes a long time.
- Use a heavy duty stock pot to fry the pies. An all-purpose aluminum stock pot doesn't hold up well to the high heat required for this recipe; consider a LeCreuset-type
- If you make 5" rounds, expect to have about 12 pies and some leftover meat
- Use the leftover meat to make a faux Shepherd's Pie later in the week!
- These pies can be baked or fried; frying is quicker
Can I Omit Pork From the Recipe?Yes. Just substitute the pork with ground beef or turkey, or double the beef.
Can I Make Natchitoches Meat Pies in Advance?Yes, simply form the pies, then freeze the uncooked pies in a sealed container. On the day of serving, thaw in the fridge. Baking Instructions: Once thawed, preheat oven to 400ºF, place cold pies on a parchment-lined baking sheet; brush on egg wash; bake 20-25 minutes, or until crispy brown on the outside and internal temperature reaches 160ºF. Frying Instructions: 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 (usually 3 to a batch). Fry pies 2-4 minutes; drain cooked pies on paper towel
How Many Servings Will This Recipe Make?This recipe for Natchitoches Meat Pie yields about 12-14 pies (starting with a 5" pastry round); however, I had a bit of leftover meat. This recipe will yield more pies if you start out with a smaller diameter, but the pies will be more "bite size" than entree size. If you're worried you won't have enough dough, double the recipe. If you like food from Louisiana, you might try Louisiana Seafood Gumbo or Shrimp Creole Pasta!