Fred's Natchitoches Spicy Meat Pies

Course : Cajun
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4 cups flour - all-purpose
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup Crisco shortening
2 large eggs
2 cups milk - whole milk
---meat mixture---
2 tablespoons Crisco oil
2 tablespoons flour - all-purpose
1/2 pound ground pork - lean
1 1/2 pounds ground beef - lean
2 cups onions - extra-finely chopped
1/2 cup shallots - finely chopped
1/4 cup bell peppers - finely chopped
1/2 cup celery - finely chopped
2 tablespoons parsley - finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons pepper mixture -- (see below)
1/8 cup sweet basil -- finely chopped
1/4 cup green onions -- finely chopped

Preparation / Directions:

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 meat pie, 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 pies. THE MEAT PIES: Now 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. I start with only 1 Tbsp of the pepper mixture, and add a bit at a time until you get the level of "warmth" you are comfortable with. When the meat is cooked (I like to cook it covered except for the last ten minutes), throw in 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 325until golden brown. Then place them on paper towels to drain (with the pierced side down). Serve hot with Dijon mustard sauce. NOTE FROM FRED: 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. 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. By the way, Natchitoches is pronounced "Nack-a-ti

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