Parades haven't started quite yet.
They don't start in New Orleans until Jan 31. In Cajun country/Acadiana it's not until Feb 7.
My first event isn't until Feb 1...a Courir de Mardi Gras & Bal du Dimanche at Vermilionville in Lafayette, LA
Wanna know a secret?
I'm not feelin' it just yet.
I like a late Mardi Gras. March is ideal.
I need a little breather after finishing 3 months of non-stop stuff. Thanksgiving. Christmas. New Year's. The Boy's 13th birthday.
Seems like other people feel the same way too. Not many people I know have decorated yet or even had their first King Cake of the year. (Ok...I've had King Cake already. Two. Who's counting?)
Maybe some festive food will jazz me up?
I've always wanted to try making Natchitoches Meat Pies. Made famous in Natchitoches, LA--home of Steel Magnolias--these pies are filled with ground beef or ground beef and pork and are most often fried.
They make good "parade food" since they're portable and can easily be brought out to the parade route.
I filled mine with a seasoned ground venison and pork mix. Made some tasty dipping sauces too:
Creamy Remoulade (also like on Shrimp Po'Boys)
Creole Mayonnaise (like on pretty much anything)
Jalapeno Buttermilk Dip (was a little too thin)
Some pies were baked, others we tried fried.
Fried won the taste test.
It's Carnival Time, afterall.
Natchitoches Meat Pies (Venison & Pork)
makes about 45 4" pies
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 lb ground venison
1/2 lb ground pork
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2-3 teaspoons hot sauce
3-4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 Tablespoons flour
splash of water
1 recipe pie dough (below)
1 egg, beaten
oil for frying
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add venison and pork to the pan and brown, breaking the meat into small pieces. Stir in onion, bell pepper, and garlic and saute for 5-7 minutes. Add seasonings, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Lower to medium heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the flour and about 1 tbsp water over the meat mixture and stir. Cook for a few more minutes to help dry out the mixture. Place mixture in refrigerator for about 15 minutes to cool.
Divide dough into 4 sections. Place 3 back in refrigerator and the fourth on a floured counter top. Roll out to about 1/4" thick. Cut dough into circles with a 4" diameter. Dough scraps can be rerolled.
Brush edges of each circle with beaten egg. Place 1 to 1/2 Tbsp filling on each circle of dough slightly off center. Fold the circle to make a crescent shape. Seal by pressing with the tines of a fork. Place pies on a lightly floured cookie sheet.
Repeat with all four sections of dough. Using the full recipe of dough plus rerolled scraps should yield about 45 pies
Heat oil in a deep fat fryer to 350 F. Fry the pies for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Pies can be frozen and fried without thawing. They will take closer to 15 minutes.
Drain pies on paper towels and serve.
*Pies can also be baked at 350 F for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Meat Pie Dough
(from Real Cajun by Donald Link)
5 1/4 cups AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup ice water
Add flour and salt to a large bowl. Cut butter into flour with two forks, a pastry cutter, or your hands. Work butter into flour mixture until it looks like small pebbles. Stir in water with a fork until dough pulls together. Knead until smooth.
Place dough on work surface dusted with flour; roll into a rectangle. Fold the rectangle over itself in three sections--like folding a letter. Repeat rolling into a rectangle and folding into a letter 4 times. Chill dough until firm (at least 15 minutes).
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 Tablespoon vinegar
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 Tablespoon Creole mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon green onions, finely chopped
1/2 Tablespoon parsley, minced
Thoroughly whisk the first 7 ingredients (through paprika). Stir in the celery, green onion, and parsley. Refrigerate--better if made ahead. Makes about 1/2 cup.
1/2 cup mayo
2 heaping Tablespoon Zatarain's Creole Mustard
1/2- 1 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
Combine all 3 ingredients in a bowl. Makes about 1/2 cup.
Jalapeno Buttermilk Dip
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise or sour cream
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeno
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Dip will be thin. Makes about 1/2 cup.
More Mardi Gras...