Natchitoches-Style Meat Pies
- ACTIVE: 45 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 30 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 paperlined baking sheets. Prick each pie with a fork, brush the tops with beaten egg and bake at 425° for about 20 minutes, until golden.
Rich, spicy Washington state Merlot.