(Edward was quite the helper chef. He makes a mean chicken turnover!)
So, a friend of mine had a baby (he's ADORABLE but although I got to cuddle him for a while, I completely forgot to sneak a picture of his tiny, adorable self) and we wanted to bring her dinner. My girls said they wanted to make chicken turnovers (which Jan has done a version of ) but I wondered if the cream cheese wouldn't be such a hit with the littler kids. I thought we should also make Natchitoches meat pies, which play a role in my book, The Pepper in the Gumbo which is set in (you guessed it!) Natchitoches, Louisiana.
(We went on a trip recently and my son was completely fascinated with... the pay phone.
He could get enough of this rare artifact. It was SO BIG.)
Now, I know this recipe has about a gazillion steps but it’s worth the time and effort! It’s a long list of ingredients, but they’re ones you probably already have and you need every one, so don’t skip any. (Except maybe the jalapeño. People argue about that one. I included it here because more people say it should be in there, than it should be out. I personally don’t care for jalapeños, so I leave them out. If you need it a little hotter, adjust the Louisiana hot sauce to maybe 2 tsp instead of just the one.)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 small tomatoes, diced
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (I didn't add it to the batch because I knew they had little kids who might not appreciate the kick!)
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
5 bay leaves
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce or similar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons water
½ cup sliced green onions (I left those out this time because... I didn't have any!)
Pie dough, chilled
Combine the meat, salt, paprika, cayenne, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper in a large skillet (even better if it’s cast iron!). Cook the meat over medium-high heat until it is lightly browned and all the ingredients are combined.
Throw in the chopped tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, jalapeños (or not). Stir well. Add in the bay leaves, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook for an additional 10 minutes or so, until the liquid starts to evaporate.Take out the bay leaves and throw them away. Sprinkle the flour over the meat and add the water. Stir it all together. Adding the flour keeps the mix from getting too runny while it cooks in the pie dough. Add in the green onions and hot sauce, mix well.
(Random photo of a book I found in our local library. Isn't that hilarious? Nobody knows what crawfish are here. It would be like asking if they liked pickled quail eggs. But somehow this book ended up in our library, and the little crawfish sings little Cajun French songs and I was IN LOVE.)
Roll out the dough to about 1/8 of an inch thick. Then, using a 4-inch biscuit cutter, cut the dough into circles. Place about 2 1/2 tablespoons of filling into the center. Fold the circle over the filling to make a half circle. Press the edges closed with a fork and place onto a baking sheet.Natchitoches meat pies are traditionally fried but I have this thing about hot oil, so we baked ours an they were DELICIOUS.
Ignore the radish. I thought it was going to be so good but it was HOT. I felt like I'd taken a bite of horseradish, instead of radish. YOW.
Happy weekend to everyone and I hope you get time for some good books, good food, and family!