Natchitoches-Style 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.

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  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: Makes 16 meat pies


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 pound chicken livers, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 16 empanada wrappers, thawed (see Note)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Ranch dressing mixed with chopped cilantro, for serving

How to make this recipe

  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.

Contributed By Photo © Kana Okada Published November 2011

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