Thursday, January 23, 2014

Today is National Pie Day! (Recipe included!)

National Pie Day is a special day that is set aside to bake and cook all of your favorite pies!

It  was created by the American Pie Council back in 1986 to commemorate Crisco's 75th anniversary of "serving foods to families everywhere.". The idea was to encouraged Americans to bake a few new pie recipes. 

A great way to celebrate National Pie Day is to bake some pies and give them away to friends, neighbors, and relatives. And thinking outside the traditional 'pie' definition might be the best way to do so!

One of the 'pies' that Louisiana is known for are Natchitoches Meat Pies!

Natchitoches is the oldest city in the Louisiana purchase area, and was home to the largest Creole population, other than NOLA, in Louisiana. This popular street food was known to be made in the area in the 1700s! Their mix of beef and pork were filling and easy to eat for travelers and workers.

These hand pies are perfect for cold snowy days too!

Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons/Kimberly Vardeman

Natchitoches Meat Pies

Ingredients:

1 tbsp shortening/oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 cup holy trinity, OR  1 medium sweet white onion diced, 1/2 each red and green bell peppers diced, and
      4 stalks celery diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon flour
Cajun Spice or crushed red pepper, salt, and ground black pepper to taste
2 Pillsbury pie crusts
1 egg
A bit of water
Cooking oil, if deep frying

Directions:
1. Melt shortening in heavy pot, then add your meat. Cook until pink is gone.
2. Add all of the vegetables and season to taste (Season well, as meat will lose seasoning during frying.)
3. When meat is completely done and vegetables glazed, (about 40-60 minutes total- note, you can add some beef broth is you are having a problem with meat sticking to the pan), remove from heat and drain excess liquid, allow to cool to warm, and then place in bowl. 
4. While meat is cooling, roll out your pie crusts and cut into rounds, using that saucer from your dinner plate collection, you never use!
5. Assemble pies- Place a large tablespoon of prepared meat along edge and halfway in the center
of round dough. Fold the other half over, making edges meet and seal with water.Then form edges with fork.

You have your choice of baking or frying the meat pies. You can also FREEZE them at this point, and remove later to cook (just allow to defrost in fridge first).

6. To fry (traditional way)- heat your oil in deep fat fryer to 375 degrees, or use large dutch pot, and check with candy thermometer. Fry each meat pie until golden, remove and drain. Serve hot!

7. To bake- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. When heated, place meat pies on a prepared (greased) cookie sheet. Be sure to cut slits in each pie, to allow for steam venting! You could use an egg wash on the pies if you wished. We've also used a bit of butter, with same results. Cook for 25-30 minutes, until golden. Serve hot!

This is a really BASIC recipe- you can add to it, spice it up, switch out your meat to shrimp, chicken or crawfish quite easily.

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