Natchitoches-Style Meat Pies
© Kana Okada

Natchitoches-Style Meat Pies

  • ACTIVE: 45 MIN
  • SERVINGS: Makes 16 meat pies

Chef Way At Besh Steak, John Besh prepares mini meat pies with house-made dough and a rich, spiced filling of beef, pork and chicken liver sautéed in duck fat.

Easy Way A meat-pie shortcut for the home cook: Use store-bought empanada dough instead of making your own. The cooks at Besh Steak use duck fat to sauté the meat filling. At home, butter is a perfectly fine substitute and much easier to find.

Slideshow of Southern Comfort More Southern Comfort Food

More ∨


  1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  3. 1/2 pound ground pork
  4. 1/4 pound chicken livers, trimmed and finely chopped
  5. 1 onion, finely chopped
  6. 1 small green bell pepper, finely chopped
  7. 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  8. 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  9. 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  10. 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
  11. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  12. 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  13. 16 empanada wrappers, thawed (see Note)
  14. Vegetable oil, for frying
  15. Ranch dressing mixed with chopped cilantro, for serving
  1. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the beef, pork and chicken livers and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, 8 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, cayenne, cloves and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender, 6 minutes. Tilt the pan and spoon off the fat. Add the broth and scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Scrape the filling into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, until chilled.
  2. Arrange 8 empanada wrappers on a work surface. Lightly brush the edges with water and spoon half of the meat filling into the centers. Fold in half, pressing out any air, and seal; crimp the edges with a fork. Transfer the pies to a wax paper–lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
  3. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and place a rack on top. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 1/2 inches of oil to 375°. Fry the meat pies in batches, turning once, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Drain on the rack and serve with the ranch dressing.
Make Ahead

The meat filling can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.


Empanada wrappers are available in the freezer section at most supermarkets; look for the Goya brand.

VARIATION To bake the meat pies, arrange them on 2 parchment paper–lined baking sheets. Prick each pie with a fork, brush the tops with beaten egg and bake at 425° for about 20 minutes, until golden.

Suggested Pairing

Rich, spicy Washington state Merlot.