Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Meat Pie For A Picnic

Food writers and critics are forever writing about Louisiana food and the affairs surrounding it. Everything from a weekend festival to Sunday Dinner, the food in our state is noteworthy and evidently interesting to everyone. Louisiana food IS the event, the event...not so much. If we go to a gathering of any kind and tell our friends about it, the first thing they ask is, "so what did you have to eat?" We celebrate any and everything but always with good food, good friends and family. I personally think that's a really good way to live. We love Crawfish Boil's in the backyard with the vermillion colored mudbugs flung across a picnic table covered in the latest edition of the local newspaper. And we know just the friends and folks to invite, which incidentally are the same ones that would come to a dress-up Cocktail/Canapé wingding. Speaking of that...

I love the word Canapé, because it always reminds me of my favorite scene in the movie Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evilwhen this guy is wandering around the front yard seeing to the guests at the party with an appetizer tray in his hand. Then when asked what just happened inside the house, his snappy retort was...

"Oh, somebody just went and shot Billy Hanson. Canapé?" 

Hilarious, yet, that's the South where the food is the most important part.

We also love the meals of summer with Chilled Ripe Tomatoes, Green Beans cooked down-low, New Potatoes in 'White Gravy' and Fried Corn cut moments before from juicy cobs, then slowly coaxed to a creamy delicious taste of the garden. All these things surrounding a platter of Fried Chicken, the star of the dinner table. But I was thinking of another way we enjoy a real taste of our state, more specifically the central part where I was born and still reside. CenLA (catchy abbreviation don't you think) the area of my state that I call home, has thousands of forestland acres begging for day-vacations of hiking, bike riding and al fresco lunches. Of course, we must always take a picnic along and a handy little pocket sized pie is perfect. This iconic little tart called Natchitoches Meat Pie, named for the city where the famous restaurant is located that put this little hand pie on the map. Check out Lasyone's Meat Pie Restaurant. So I made meat pies today, however I did it my way. Besides, I doubt another human on earth has the recipe for the real deal Lasyone's pie except the restaurant owners.

A bite of CenLA
Anny's Meat Pies

1/2 medium bell pepper
2 stalks celery with leaves
6 or 7 green onions
1 pound lean ground round beef
1/2 pound of good country pan sausage
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground garlic
1-1/2 tablespoons flour
Water if needed

Chop the bell pepper, celery and green onions (both green and white parts) into very small dice and place into a large pot with a small amount of canola oil and cook until beginning to soften. 

Chopped celery, green bell pepper and green onions...done

Veggies in the pot and on the heat

Add the meat to one side of the pot and cook it there

Be sure to crumble the beef and pork with a fork as it cooks. After the meat is done taste for salt, because remember the sausage is seasoned somewhat. Add salt to taste, black pepper, garlic and Creole seasoning. Stir everything together and cook for about 10 minutes or so on medium heat. There will be a bit of liquid that forms at this point, this is when you add the flour. I scoot everything to one side of my pot and tilt it slightly and add the flour to the liquid and stir the whole pot to mix well. Add water or stock if it's a bit to thick and cook to proper consistency.

Steamy mixture that's so could make a sammich out of this
Remove and cool completely
Now for the pastry...

3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
3/4 cup milk

Into a mixing bowl add the flour, salt and baking powder.
Note:I keep my shortening in the freezer, so when I use it for pastry I cut it into small cubes. 

Add the cubes of shortening and cut into the flour mixture with a fork or pastry blender. 

Shortening cut into flour mixture
Egg and milk stirred together
Add milk and egg to the bowl of flour and add more milk if necessary
The lovely dough
The dough will be slightly sticky so place it on a floured pastry cloth and knead just a few times. NOT very much, it will be tough.
So easy to work, this pastry
Shape into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove and roll in flour for ease in handling.
Rounds of dough. Cut the log of dough into 12 equal pieces.
Rolling in the dough. 
As the pastry's are rolled out, stack them on a plate
Cover and chill for about 15 minutes or so.
Mise en place
Foil lined tray, bowl of water, pastry, floured plate and filling
Onto a floured plate lay a pastry and into the middle, a scoop of filling. Moisten the edges of the dough with water to seal well.

Roll the edges up in a rope like fashion or cut evenly and crimp with a fork.
Into the canola oil of my little (and favorite) black iron pot 

Golden Brown and Delicious
Ready for a picnic?

1 comment:

  1. These also freeze well for that evening you have nothing to cook. of these, a salad and a glass of wine. Yum!