Natchitoches Meat Pies

So during my experience as a Utah girl transplanted to Louisiana, my feelings about this place have ranged from complete and utter despair (think August…humidity…mosquitoes…cockroaches…) to the thrill of living in a place so steeped in history and folklore. And the fact that I pretty much never have to wear pantyhose. One of my favorite places to visit and to take visitors is a little town called Natchitoches (pronounced NACK-it-esh; don’t even ask). Check this out:

That is not a prettied-up version–it’s exactly what it looks like. It’s this fabulously charming little town (actually, the oldest settlement in Louisiana) with a historic district where you just stroll around and pop in and out of little shops and restaurants. There’s almost always something going on, the people are friendly (one lady, complete stranger, offered my dad some cracklins when he asked him what they were. Turns out they’re pieces of fried pork fat.), and the food is amazing. Natchitoches is famous for its meat pies and you can pop into pretty much any little restaurant and find “the [supposed] best meat pies in Natchitoches.” During all the fairs, festivals, and shows that always seem to be going on, meat pie vendors will set up carts and you can hold onto a pie while you stroll around at a slower pace, feeling like you’re magically in a simpler time. I know, I sound like I’m totally romanticizing this place, but what can I say? I’m a girl in love.

Louisiana is such a melting pot of cultures; along with the traditional Southern foods like fried chicken, grits, and barbecue, different regions of Louisiana are also heavily influenced by the Europeans who settled there. Natchitoches was settled by the Spanish, so the meat pies you find there aren’t terribly different from empanadas that you find in Spain, Portugual, and South and Central America, they just have some Cajun flair. And oh, my, they are so delicious.

I made a few discoveries while playing around with these over the last few weeks:

–The meat mixture gets better over the course of a few days. This is great because you can make the meat mixture and let it hang out in your fridge for a few days, which cuts way down on the time that you have to spend all at once.

–Both the saltiness and spiciness of the meat will be toned down once it’s baked in the pastry, so don’t stress out if the meat mixture tastes a little too salty or spicy when you’re testing it. Also, unless you absolutely cannot handle ANY spice, these should have a bit of a bite to them, so keep that in mind when you’re seasoning the meat mixture with Tabasco. It’s a good idea to make it a touch spicier than you’d normally want it to be.

Homemade pie crust makes a world of difference here. I’ve tried it both ways. There are times when I think a refrigerated pie crust is just fine, but the meat pies I made with homemade crust were incredible and homemade pie crust is really not hard. Like…at all.

–The egg wash also makes a huge difference, both for their appearance and for the texture of the pastry. Unless you have egg allergies, I think you should definitely do the egg wash.

–Although these are traditionally fried, I found that frying is not only harder, unhealthier, and messier, but I like them better baked. We’re talking about pie crust here…not exactly health food to start with, you know?

I also love that these are perfect party food. You can make larger pies for a meal or use a round cookie or biscuit cutter to cut small circles of dough and make little appetizers.


They’re festive and fun and a little different from your typical holiday or party fare. They also reheat and freeze beautifully; my husband loves to take them to work for lunch. Have I blabbered on long enough? Yeah, probably. Shut it, Kate…

Natchitoches Meat Pies
Recipe by Our Best Bites, adapted from Chef John Folse

1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
2+ tsp. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (it’s the cheapest, best, and widely available)
Tabasco sauce to taste (start with about 1/4 tsp.)
1 can beef broth
Pie Crust, tripled
1 egg
1/4 c. cold water

In a large skillet, brown ground beef and ground pork, breaking the meat into small pieces. When it’s about halfway cooked, drain excess fat (if necessary) and then add green and red peppers, onion, celery, and garlic. Cook until vegetables are tender and onions are translucent. Add 2 tsp. Tony’s and 1/4 tsp. Tabasco. Add beef broth and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Cook for about 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with additional Tony’s and Tabasco if necessary, keeping in mind that the seasonings will mellow in the pie. You can refrigerate this mixture for 3-4 days before baking the pies.
Prepare pie crust and roll the entire ball onto a floured surface. For large (meal-sized) pies, I use a bowl that’s about 6″ across the top; I just invert the bowl onto the dough and trace a knife around it to cut the dough.

Place about 1/4 c. of the meat mixture onto one half of the dough circle, keeping about a 1/2″-1″ margin from the edges.

Fold the other side over and gently pinch the edges shut.

For the decorative edge, you could crimp the edge with a fork or use your fingers to flute the edges. You could also use a calzone or empanada mold (used in these pictures).

Preheat oven to 400 and spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.  Place prepared pies onto your baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and cold water and brush over the pies.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to cool a few minutes and then eat as soon as humanly possible. So good. There are…no words.

Makes about 12 6″ pies or lots and lots of small (biscuit cutter) pies.

FREEZER INSTRUCTIONS: You could do this one of two ways; you can freeze them unbaked and just add the egg wash and bake them for an extra 15-20 minutes, or you can bake them and heat them up in the oven or microwave, whatever suits your needs better.

 

 

478 comments

  1. Ooo am I first?! I wanted one of these forver! They look sooo easy to use. Def going to make the meat pies. The hubbs would love me forever….not that he won't already. LOL.

  2. My mom is from around this area…I love meat pies, and yours looks good, love the fluting…

    I hope you realize I lurk here often, and love your site!

  3. You would freeze them before cooking, right? About how much more time would you add if baking them from frozen?

  4. Those little pies look really good! And I was just given some deer meat that I had NO idea what to do with so I might try it in these. =)

  5. Delicious looking pies. I'd love to try them. The Spanish colonized the Philippines for some 300 years yet I've never eaten one of those before. I have to fix this :p

  6. Those sound like very tasty appetizers! I would love that chopper. I think it would make taco nights so much faster to prepare. =)

  7. Oh these are like the pasties my husband grew up with! I can't wait to try them! And that tool looks like a must have!

  8. Would love one of those choppers!!!! Clearly I have not checked out what Tupperware has to offer lately! I had NO idea they had so much cool stuff! And I thought I was done Christmas shopping 😉

  9. Natchitoches really is a lovely town. However, for me it's tainted by the creepy guy I once dated that was from there. Anyway…..
    Great recipe and gadget! I'll keep my fingers crossed! Jeanette at splendidthings.etsy.com or thealldays(at)msn.com

  10. My mom used to make meat pies like that, although they didn't have creol spice in them. We just called them empanadas… Those are tasty! I'll be making these for sure!

  11. LOVE the flavor of these and love that your recipes are always so user-friendly! And I don't know if I salivated more over the meat pies or the chopper–but it would look lovely in my kitchen–not to mention get lots of love and attention…

  12. These look like empanadas (which are really good!). I'm going to try and make these. They look yummy!

  13. That looks like a pretty cool gadget.

    In the upper peninsula of Michigan we have pasties—a meat & potato pie, sounds like there are many regional variations.

  14. That looks so awesome! I totally love this site! I have tried several of the recipes and loved each one.

  15. What a beautiful town. I know you said don't ask, but really what's up with the pronunciation of the name? The meats pies look yummy! I'm off to check out the Tupperware site. Cheers!

  16. I live in Houston…just a few hours away from Louisiana….and now must travel to Nati-whatever as soon as possible! Thanks for the recipe!

  17. Dude, I totally have one of those empanada makers. I had no idea what it was for… I assumed cute pb&j's. My mom gave it to me from her vast Tupperware supply and NOW I know how to use it :).

  18. That town looks absolutely gorgeous and full of rich history!! It reminds me of Savannah a bit.

    I don't eat beef…. I wonder how these would taste with ground turkey??

  19. I like meat pies. I am wondering if one could do a tourtiere version of these pies. (I live in Quebec Canada, and that is our version of the meat pie.)

    The creole seasoning sounds good. I am wondering what kind of flavor profile I could sub for these? I have cajun spice, but I think that would be too harsh. Does anyone have an idea on what a northerner could sub for it?

  20. Those meat pies look totally delicious and I am definitely going to try them. I made empanadas last year with store brand pie dough, and the crust ruined the whole thing so I'm not going to repeat that mistake!!

  21. Your meat pies look fantastic! But what I really loved about this post is the picture of that cozy little town! I always dreamed about moving from the big city to one of those but was always scared to… but it's so beautiful!

  22. Thank you so much for the recipe and I am going to try it after the holidays…Please add me to your give a way it seems to be very useful and I love my kitchen gadgets…thank you so much
    Sharon G

  23. I've always wondered how that was pronounced! Can't wait to try these.

    Oh, and Kate…you should never wear pantyhose…no matter where you live! 😉

  24. That chopper looks great! I've been chopping a lot lately and could really use something like that. You guys are the best!
    mowsquaz(at)aol(dot)com

  25. Those meat pies look yummy. I would love to win the chopper it would surely make life easier. Thanks for all your great give aways!

  26. I will try these. I'm always looking for something new to try and the guys will love this, I'm sure!

  27. i haven't thought of tupperware in years… looks like something i would use all the time… I'm headed straight to her tupperware website to check it all out! Thanks for the tip

  28. These look yummy! I love this site!
    I really would love this quick chef. I finally got a little food processor from my mom (one that I used in high school 20 years ago), and then the motor died after 2 months.

  29. Those look so good. I have a whole list of recipes I love but have SO MUCH CHOPPING!

  30. Glenda–You can do it either way, freeze them unbaked and then add some additional baking time (15-20 minutes or so…keep an eye on them) or just bake them and heat them up in the microwave. Naturally, they're going to taste better if you bake them from frozen, but the other way is faster on the eating end of things, so whatever works, you know? 🙂

    Hannah–That's disgusting. Fried pork intestines are WAY worse than fried pig fat.

    Abby–ground turkey would definitely work!

    Jason–If you can't find Tony's, you could use a touch of Cajun seasoning and then salt, black pepper, and some more Tabasco sauce.

  31. Looks amazing! I would die for one of those! Well, not really. Then I couldn't use it!
    Natchitoches looks like a place I want to visit! Great picture!

  32. Pick me, Pick me! I just love your blog and these meat pies, while I was hesitant at the name meat pie, look really good! I'll be adding these to my "must try list"

  33. My sis-in-law has one of these and I loved it! She hardly even uses hers, I can't believe it, maybe if I don't win I'll have to go beg her for it.

  34. Welcome to Louisiana! Grew up in Alexandria and now in Texas. Miss the food, family and fun. You are right, don't miss August, etc…It is a wonderful state. My husband went to college in Natchitoches. Love everything about it, especially the meat pies, we have to stop and get one everytime we are passing by. I don't like my meat pie recipe, so I'm going to try yours. Thanks and Merry Christmas, Bon Noel!

  35. Kate you have inspired me! I think I will make these for my dad and step mom while on vacation. Love that cute little town!

  36. I am definitely going to be trying this recipe out. I've never heard of them before! Sounds amazingly delicious 😀 & tupperware seriously has EVERYTHING.

  37. Lori–I'll give you two wild guesses as to where I live! 🙂 What a small world!

  38. Oh my goodness…I would LOVE one of those choppers! It would make life so much easier, especially since I don't even have a food processor. Thanks for the chance to win one.
    honeybugg11(at)yahoo(dot)com

  39. These look delicious for sure! And I totally want to come see that town, it looks like so much fun. Sounds like something right up my alley!

    Your recipes never ever fail me! Thank you thank you!

  40. Love your site!! Love it. By the way, Hannah is absolutely right; chitlins are pig intestines. I think what your dad probably had was cracklins which are pieces of fried pork fat and are very tasty.

  41. I think my husband & kids would love these! I'm not much of a meat eater, but they do look tempting.

  42. I hope your dad had cracklins and not chitlins (pig intestines)! Egh. Thanks for another awesome giveaway!
    julien @ alumni . clemson . edu

  43. Thanks for the giveaway. I had no idea tupperware had gotten so fancy! I think my husband would really enjoy the meat pies.

  44. You guys are totally right–it was cracklins, not chitlins! Off to change it right now! 🙂

  45. I am definitely going to try to make these- they look great!

    You have a great site, I always get very hungry when I read your posts… 🙂

  46. Thanks for the great recipe. I'd love to win that chopper!
    Gail ([email protected])

  47. When I 1st read 'meat pie' I sort of turned up my nose but then I read the post and ummm now I am HUNGRY! lol I have made a LOT of your recipes for my Christmas Baskets this year, so thanks for the help! lol
    Tupperware has certainly proven the test of time and it looks like they have made some great updates!

  48. Great, since I'm pregnant I'm now going to crave these until I make them. Guess I'd better make a grocery list…

    (They really look fantastic!)

  49. My husband went on his mission to Louisiana, and served in Natchitoches! I'll definitely be making these soon, and we both loved your Red Beans & Rice recipe, too. Keep the Louisiana recipes coming! Thank you!

  50. You have convinced me that I CAN make pie crust and have it be edible. Neat things from Tupperware. Boy, has it come a long way!

  51. Sounds delicious! I think my husband would really like them! As for the Tupperware gadget! That is genius!

  52. These look yummy. I think the hubby would really like them too. I'm trying them tonight! Thanks!

  53. OH I totally need that chopper. NEED IT.

    Those meat pies sound fantastic, I wonder where I can find that seasoning!

  54. These look like the ones my mom used to make. Will have to try this recipe. It looks yummy!!

  55. Oh I would LOVE to win these!

    I told Hubby about this recipe, he is getting ready to go buy the supplies for me to make them tonight! LOL

  56. So it's like a hand crank food processor. How cool is that?!

    Love the meat pies – thanks for that recipe! I think I'll make some this weekend. Yum!

  57. Yay, Nachitoches Meat Pies! My husband is going to love you forever for this!

    I too am a transplant to Louisiana. Even though I know how to pronounce it correctly, I will always call it Natch-i-toe-cious. Just like Opsaloupsas. hahaha I just can't get over things sounding way differen't than they are spelled 🙂

    Going to make some meat pies tonight!! Thanks so much 🙂 Merry Christmas

  58. Curegirl–I've just seen it in grocery stores pretty much every place I've ever lived (usually in the spice aisle), but Amazon also sells it.

  59. Thanks for this post – I just found what I'm making for Christmas – these meat pies! Love tupperware!

  60. Who doesn't love free stuff? And I have to say I've never had a "meat pie" before. We just might have to try this with the kids over the holidays.

  61. I am in E. TX and may have to wonder across the border to see this cute little place! I am a AZ transplant and can't pronounce the majority of the town names in LA!

    PS the pies look delish! may be on my to do this weekend list!

  62. ooo ooo ooohh…

    I would LOVE to have one! This would be nice and handy rather than always getting out the electric. And who doesn't love to whip up a salad with veggies when the power is out?! haha

  63. my hubby would love these for a change of work-day lunches. Thanks!

    shannonwmartino[at]gmail[dot]com

  64. These look SOOO good. I love a good meat pie. And the chopper is great too! I have an electric mini chopper, but it chops too small. This would be perfect!

  65. There is this lady at the state fair in Tulsa, OK, who sells these kind of things every year. I LOVE to watch her! I am tempted every year to buy one, but I don't want to shell out the $30+. I have a huge food processore, but this would be so nice for little jobs!

  66. I love Tupperware! I've got some pieces that were passed on to me that are still perfect. I could definitely use this chopper! I have to chop onions really quickly because the pain in my eyes is so severe if I stand over them too long. This chopper could very well save me from cutting my fingers off! LOL The pies..look fantastic. I can't wait to tried these!

  67. yummy!!! I am going to have to make these and I am always looking for kitchen gadgets that make my life easier.

  68. That looks so cool. I have to admit I didn't realize that Tupperware still made stuff, but the things that I have of theirs are great!
    I also wanted to tell you that put up the post about homemade marshmallows at the PERFECT time as I had been craving marshmallows and have been wanting to try making them forever! Wow, that's a really long sentence, sorry. 🙂
    Tara [email protected]

  69. This recipe sounds terrific. My husband would love it. Of course the chopper would make it even easier. Thank you for the chance to win.

  70. I've been inspired, yet again by the great photos, normal ingredients, and fabulous directions! Can't wait for some meat pies!

  71. I saw one of these tupperware contraptions the other day and it looked very useful. I would love to win.
    I love your blog!!!

  72. Oh my gosh. Not only do those look delicious, but a give a way too. I would love to win something to make chopping easier. Please pick me, Please!

  73. I love meat pies! Unfortunately being from New Jersey, they are not very common around here. 🙁 Maybe if I had one of the cool gadgets, then I would be able to make them more often! ;D

    Jennie 🙂

  74. my husband served his mission in chile and loves empanadas so i'm sure he would love these as well. plus i'd love to whip up my own vinagarettes with the tupperware do dad.

  75. I love your recipes! They are wonderful and I always get lots of compliments when I make them. So far my favorites are Peters Lasagna and the almond poppyseed bread. mmmm. Anyway, your great!

  76. I didn't realize that tupperware was still around. My mom had TONS of tupperware when I was a kid. This gadget looks pretty neat.

    michelle
    mnhub-junk at yahoo dot com

  77. This is my new favorite cooking blog! I love how tasty and accessible everything looks. Will definitely have to try making some of this pies (hopefully with a new kitchen appliance!).

  78. Those pies look so tasty! And since I don't have a food processor – I would love one of those little gadgets!

  79. I always loved Brazilian empanadas. They were my favorite salgadinhos. I could definitely make those with this contraption.

  80. Oh my! I've wanted one of these forever. I love your blog, by the way….I've made plenty of dinners from it – very tasty!

  81. That is a neat-looking gadget! I still picture the old Tupperware my mom owned when I think of that brand.

  82. The recipe looks yummy. I'll be adding that to my list of recipes to try. Would love to be a winner!

  83. Ooo! I need one of those!! I don't have a food processor at and really don't want to pay a ton of money for a good one…so this would be perfect!

  84. Your blog is one of my new favorites! what a cool chopper. Thanks for the fun giveaway!

  85. My husband and kids are going to love those meat pies (I don't eat mean)!!

    I would love a chopper!

  86. Oh please pick me! I've moved from New Orleans to Cleveland and my bitterly freezing belly sure misses Louisiana cuisine!

  87. I'm excited to try these! I'm also a Utah girl transplanted to the south, just TX, not Louisiana, and enjoying all the new culture. 🙂

  88. Looks neat! I've been meaning to buy some new mixing bowls with lids…I checked out the newest catalog-I didn't know they sold knives!

  89. This gadget would definitely simplify things in the kitchen! Thanks for the giveaway!

    lindsayzockoll(at)gmail(dot)com

  90. Wow…those sounds good. I was blessed to get to try Pasties in England and I wonder if these are anything like those???

    I also want to be entered for that Fab little kitchen goodie!

    Angie

  91. Meat pies look good, I have never tried something like this…seemed like too much work. Love your site, making lots of your goodies for Christmas!
    Heidi

  92. These sound numalicious! I plan to make them for a party Monday night. Can't wait! Maybe I'll even through in some ground caribou to make it truly Alaskan!
    Thanks!

  93. Would love the kitchen gadget. I could use some help chopping! It's my least favorite cooking task. Thanks for the opportunity! 🙂

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