Meat Pie Natchitoches: A Louisiana Tradition

If you’re looking for a taste of Louisiana, you need to try the meat pie. This savory dish is a staple in the Natchitoches area and has been enjoyed by locals for generations.

Meat pie Natchitoches is a savory pie that originated in the Natchitoches, Louisiana area. The dish is made with ground beef, pork, or crawfish and is typically spiced with cayenne pepper, garlic, and onions.

The recipe is simple, but the flavor is out of this world! In this blog post, we will discuss the history of the meat pie and give you step-by-step instructions on making one yourself.

Natchitoches Meat Pie: What You Need to Know

empanadas
Credit: canva

What is Natchitoches meat pie?

Natchitoches meat pie is a type of savory pie that originated in the Natchitoches, Louisiana area. The dish is made with ground beef, pork, or crawfish and is typically spiced with cayenne pepper, garlic, and onions.

The pie is so part of Louisiana tradition that some people recommend it as the official state meat pie.

Natchitoches has a diverse culinary heritage, with French, Spanish, and Creole influences. 

The Natchitoches meat pie combines all of these foods into a form reminiscent of an empanada from Spain or Latin America and a Cornish pasty, which contains a meat filling and is deep-fried.

The Natchitoches meat pie is nearly identical to Argentina’s traditional ground beef empanada, Empanada de Carne.

The exact origins of the dish are unknown, but it is believed to have been created by the city’s French settlers in the 18th century.

Where are Natchitoches meat pies made?

louisiana state
Louisiana state map. Credit: canva

The meat pie is found throughout Louisiana, although the spicier version can be found in southern Louisiana. Its origin, on the other hand, is traced to Northern Louisiana.

Although the pies are also found in Greater New Orleans today, the Picayune’s Creole Cook Book, published in 1901 by New Orleans, does not include a Natchitoches meat pie recipe among its over 1,000 recipes.

The dish has become popular outside of Louisiana in recent years and can now be found in many restaurants across the United States.

Meat Pie Natchitoches: How to Make It

What do you need to make the pies?

Here’s what you’ll need:

Filling ingredients: Ground beef, ground sausage, onion, green bell pepper, bay leaves, cayenne powder, ground sage, milk, flour, salt, and pepper.

Pastry ingredients: flour, baking soda, butter, salt.

Natchitoches meat pies are often fried in peanut oil because of that oil’s high smoking temperature.

If you don’t want to make it yourself, don’t worry! Several restaurants in the historic district in Natchitoches serve meat pies, and frozen pies are available from grocers in northern Louisiana.

How do you make the pies?

This meat pie recipe may appear to be tricky at first sight. But it’s really simple if you go through it in these four steps:

  1. Make the filling
  2. Make the pastry dough
  3. Assemble the pies; refrigerate for 15 minutes
  4. Cook (bake or fry)

How long do you cook Natchitoches meat pies?

If you fry the pies, it will take about three minutes per side or until golden brown.

If you bake them, you can place the pies on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.

How do you fry Natchitoches meat pie?

Here is what you can do:

  1. Get a large, heavy-bottom stockpot and add 4 cups of oil
  2. Heat oil in a deep fryer to 312ºF; gently place pie in oil
  3. Cook 3-minutes; flip and cook the other side for 3-5 minutes
  4. Drain on paper towels; repeat

How do you bake meat pies?

Here are the steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF
  2. Lightly oil baking pan
  3. Combine egg and water to make an egg wash; brush egg wash over meat pies
  4. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown

How to make it in advance?

You can make the meat pies a day in advance and refrigerate them overnight.

You can also freeze the pies for up to two months.

Thaw the pies overnight in the refrigerator when you’re ready to cook, and then follow the baking or frying instructions above.

Freezing and reheating meat pies

You can freeze the meat pies before or after you cook them.

For uncooked pies, place them in an airtight container and freeze them for three months. Allow pies to defrost before cooking, then fry or bake as required. (Don’t forget the egg wash if you’re baking!)

To freeze cooked pies, place them on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer for two hours. Once they’re frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container.

To reheat, bake at 350ºF for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.

Or you can reheat fried meat pies by placing them on a baking sheet and reheating them in a 350ºF oven for five minutes.

Dipping sauce

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Natchitoches meat pie with tomato sauce. Credit: canva

Natchitoches meat pies are often served with a dipping sauce.

The most popular is a simple mixture of equal parts ketchup and mayonnaise, but you can also try ranch dressing, honey mustard, or hot sauce.

No matter what kind of dipping sauce you choose, it’s sure to be delicious!

What to serve with it?

If you’re looking for something to serve with your meat pies, why not try a classic Louisiana dish like red beans, rice, creamed new potatoes, cabbage, collard greens, smothered okra, tomatoes, or gumbo?

You could also try a green salad or coleslaw.

And, of course, no meal is complete without a cold beverage! A glass of sweet tea or lemonade would be perfect.

Classic Natchitoches Meat Pie Recipe

Ingredients

Meat Filling Ingredients

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion, yellow, sweet yellow onion, white onion, or green onions
  • 1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic minced, or 1 tablespoon prepared minced garlic
  • 4 cups oil, canola, or vegetable
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground sage
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if you like spice, add more cayenne)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1¾ cup milk
  • salt & pepper to taste

Pastry Ingredients

  • 8 cups flour, plus a handful for rolling out dough; all-purpose
  • 4 teaspoons salt, kosher
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 whole eggs, cold
  • 2 sticks of butter cold, unsalted, cut into tiny cubes,
  • 1¾ cups milk, cold

Egg Wash (if baking)

  • 1 whole egg lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon water

Instructions

Meat Preparation

  1. Brown, the beef and pork in a large skillet, then drain and return it to the pan.
  2. In the same pan, add the onions and peppers to the browned meat; sauté for 3 minutes on medium-high, or until the green bell peppers are tender. Add the garlic; stir.
  3. Add cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, black pepper, and sage; allow to cook for 15 minutes on medium.
  4. While meat is simmering, make a slurry to thicken the meat mixture. Add 4 tablespoons flour (¼ cup) to a two-cup measuring cup and fill with milk; mix with a fork until smooth; pour the slurry into the skillet with the beef; combine thoroughly.
  5. Allow this to cook for about 5-8 more minutes or until the beef mixture thickens.
  6. Once the mixture thickens, turn off the heat; remove bay leaves; a taste for salt & pepper; cover and refrigerate.
  7. Now make the pastry dough.

Pastry Instruction

  1. Get out two bowls: one large, one small.
  2. In the large bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder.
  3. In the small bowl, add cold eggs and cold milk; slightly beat together until combined.
  4. Slice cold butter into small (tiny) cubes.
  5. To the flour mixture, add the cold butter cubes. Toss in the butter pieces and knead until evenly distributed throughout, and it looks grainy.
  6. Once the flour appears grainy, add the cold egg mixture in a stream; with a spatula, stir together; form the dough into a ball, and cover the dough with plastic wrap for 20 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle some flour on a clean surface. Lay the dough down and roll it out on the floured surface until it is about ¼ inch thick.
  8. Cut circles of dough that is approximately 7″ in diameter. The traditional size is about 5″-6″ diameter pastry dough.

Meat Pie Assembly

  1. Spoon a quarter cup of meat filling into the center of the dough disc, then fold the dough over the filling to make a half-moon. Using your finger and a little water, press the edges together.
  2. Use a fork to “cinch the dough together; cut with a pizza cutter or sharp knife; repeat process for the remaining meat and dough circles; set aside.
  3. Refrigerate pies for 15-20 minutes

Frying Instructions

  1. Get a large, heavy-bottom stockpot and add 4 cups of oil.
  2. Heat oil to 312ºF; gently place pie in oil (usually 3 each batch).
  3. Cook for 3-minutes; flip and cook the other side for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Drain on a wire rack or paper towels; repeat.

Baking Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  2. Lightly oil the baking pan or line parchment paper on baking sheets.
  3. Combine egg and water to make an egg wash; brush egg wash over meat pies.
  4. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

FAQs

What is Louisiana meat pie?

A Louisiana meat pie is called Natchitoches meat pie. It is a traditional dish consisting of ground beef and pork filling enclosed in a flaky pastry crust. The pies are usually fried but can also be baked.

What is a meat pie in New Orleans?

New Orleans meat pie is the same as Louisiana meat pie. It is the Natchitoches meat pie.

Are empanadas the same as meat pie?

No, empanadas are not the same as meat pies. Empanadas are typically made with wheat flour dough and have a variety of fillings which can include meat, cheese, vegetables, or fruit. And they are usually fried.

Meat pies are usually made with pastry dough and have a savory filling. And meat pies are baked.