Makes 26 fried pies. This is the Natchitoches meat pie, which was created over 300 years ago when Louisiana was under Spanish rule and the residents of Natchitoches came up with their own version of the Spanish empanada. Recipe is by Mary Olive Pierson. For proper texture, make and chill pastry one day ahead, and make and chill filling at least 4 hours in advance of cooking time.
Meat Pie Filling:
2 lbs. lean ground pork or beef
2 cups finely chopped white onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Crystal hot sauce, salt, and black pepper to taste
1 recipe Pastry for Fried Pies (recipe follows)
vegetable oil for frying
1. In a large skillet, saute pork, onion, garlic, celery, bell pepper, parsley, and seasonings, stirring often, until meat is brown and vegetables are wilted, about 10-12 minutes. Drain well and chill at least 4 hours.
2. Place 1 prepared pastry circle on a floured board. Place 2 heaping tablespoons of chilled filling on one side of dough circle. Fold dough over in half, popover fashion, and seal edges with a floured fork.
3. Heat 1-2 inches oil in a fryer or deep skillet to 350F. Fry pies one side at a time (preferred method) or deep-fry.
Pastry for Fried Pies:
8 cups all-purpose flour
2½ tsp. salt
2 cups vegetable shortening (Crisco)
2 1/4 cups ice water
1. In a large bowl, mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening until fine. Add ice water and mix well, forming a large ball.
2. Make individual pie circles by breaking off dough and rolling into 1 1/2-inch diameter balls. On a floured board, roll dough out into 6-inch circles about 1/8-inch thick.
3. Refrigerate individual pastries between layers of wax paper overnight. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before stuffing. To freeze: Wrap uncooked pies in the wax paper you used to separate the dough and place in Ziploc bags. Remove from freezer 30 minutes prior to frying.