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Natchitoches Spicy Meat Pies

4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup Crisco shortening
2 eggs
2 cups whole milk
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1/2 lb. lean ground pork
1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 cups onions, chopped extra fine
1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped
1/4 cup bell peppers, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. pepper mixture (see below)
1/8 cup sweet basil, finely chopped
1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped

Start off by sifting the flour and the baking powder together at
least twice, and preferably three times. Then, using your hands,
blend in the Crisco thoroughly (you know you got it right when the
flour turns crumbly). Next, add the eggs and whip them into the
flour, then pour in just enough milk to make a stiff dough. When
it's at the proper consistency, put it on a lightly floured surface
and roll it out very thin (actually as thin as you can get it).
To make the crust of the meatpie, put a saucer atop the rolled-out
flour, and, with a paring knife, cut out circles the same size as
the saucer. This recipe, if rolled thin enough, will give you 16

Take a skillet and make a light brown roux with the flour and oil.
Then add the vegetables (excluding the basil and green onions),
meat and seasonings all at once and stir everything together well,
making sure the roux coats all the ingredients. When you're ready
to prepare your pies, lay out the crust and stir everything together
well. At this point, reduce the heat and GENTLY Simmer the mixture
until all the additives are cooked thoroughly. You will need to
"taste" several times during the simmering process to be sure the
seasoning is correct.

When the meat is cooked, add the basil and green onions and mix
well into the mixture.

Half-fill the crust with the meat mix. Then fold the crust over
evenly onto itself, dampen the edges slightly with water, and crimp
it with a fork until well-sealed. (And don't forget to pierce the
pie once in the center with the point of a paring knife. This allows
excess steam to escape and keeps the crust crispy.) Now deep-fry
the pies (uncrowded) at 325 degrees until golden brown. Then place
them on paper towels to drain (with the pierced side down). Serve
hot with Dijon mustard sauce.

NOTE: Do not substitute oil for shortening in the pastry mix,
otherwise the crust will crumble and fall apart. If you prefer
not to fry the pies, you can bake them in the oven at 325F until
golden brown, but you will have to turn them over once for uniformity.
Frankly, I prefer them baked.

Incidentally, if you want to make shrimp, crawfish, or crabmeat
pies... use this same recipe and merely make the substitutions.
It's that easy!

PEPPER MIXTURE: I make up a standard pepper mixture that I use in
many Cajun dishes. It is comprised of 2 parts cayenne pepper, 1
part black pepper and 1 part white pepper. Mix the peppers well.
The mixture can be saved in a well covered glass jar indefinitely.


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