Natchitoches is a picturesque small town in Central Louisiana. For a small town, it has a lot going for it. It’s the home of Northwestern State University, Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts (think Big Bang Theory and Glee all in one high school), it was the setting and home of the real “Shelby” for the 1989 classic Steel Magnolias. Oprah even visited in 2002 when one of her audience members declared that “everyone in Natchitoches loved Oprah”. But this little village’s biggest claim to fame has to be the Natchitoches meat pie. They’re a wonderful mixture of beef, pork, onions and peppers all wrapped up in a pie crust and deep fried. They’re delicious! You can bet Oprah had a few when she was in town!
Think of them as the cajun equivalent of the empanada. Beef and pork are traditional, however some are using pork sausage now to bump up the flavor. I’m going old school here and using equal portions of beef and pork.
- No pork? No problem! You can substitute 1/2 pound ground turkey for the pork, but you might need to add a little olive oil to keep it moist. You can also use all beef. That works too.
- Store bought broths and stocks are very high in sodium. If you’re using store bought, use the low-sodium variety and add your salt at the end. It’s easy to add more salt but once you’ve gone too far it’s too late.
The traditional size is 5 or 6 inches in diameter. However, since I was making mine for a neighborhood get-together I decided to make minis. I used a glass with a 3 1/2 inch opening and traced with my knife.
I served mine with an Indian sweet and spicy mango chundo which took them from great to fan-freaking-tastic! The combination of the sweet mango chundo with the spicy meat and buttery crust was delicious. If you can find some chundo in your area (check an international store or Indian store if you have one), I highly recommend it!!