Southern Stories
Sep 03/13

The Not-So-Famous Natchitoches Meat Pie Posted by: Dan | 0 Comments

Once on a school trip to Natchitoches, Louisiana, we learned the history of the town and visited such notable sites as a home of writer Kate Chopin, a tree that was somehow linked to a piece of literature called Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie, and the Steel Magnolia house. It may or may not have had something to do with the movie. You know, I’m almost certain maybe one scene of that iconic movie was filmed in Natchitoches, and the internet will no doubt set me straight if my memory is incorrect.

On this trip we also tasted the famous Natchitoches meat pie. It would be the first time many of my classmates had bitten into that Louisiana delicacy, but not me. Frankly, I was appalled they’d gotten to high school without having one.

My family spent much time in the cobblestone street of that little city — really, it’s just the main street — and I was already a connoisseur of that little spiced-meat pie. On our class trip, we bought one from a little shack down by the river that runs through the town, and ate them standing up as we discussed our literary lessons from the morning.

But what is a Natchitoches meat pie? And how do you even pronounce the word “Natchitoches”? The answers are “heaven” and “Nack-a-dish.” 

Natchitoches meat pies are a bit like empanadas, which is a Spanish or Portuguese food dish that hasn’t really caught on in these parts for some reason. (Probably for its distinct lack of cheese.) It’s spiced meat wrapped in dough, and from the outside looks almost exactly like a fried pie. The thing that makes Natchitoches meat pies special is the seasoning. It’s that Cajun spice of onion, thyme, garlic and jalapeno. The meat looks like beef, but it’s so greasy and great that I wouldn’t be surprised if some pork was typically included in the mix.

You could try making one at home, and I definitely recommend it, but it probably won’t taste as great as the real thing.

Just the same, I would suggest this recipe by Emeril Lagasse, if you’re not afraid of making your own dough.

If you don’t have an hour to spend slaving over a stove with Emeril — that dude makes everything so complicated, right? — here’s a much simpler recipe to try. And it looks fairly legit from where I sit.

If you’re ever in central Louisiana or anywhere in the state, really, put down the 64-ounce Hurricane glass for a second and look around for this little-known delicacy. It doesn’t get all the fanfare of king cake, boudin or beignets, but it’s delicious just the same, and worthy of a side trip into town.


Photo courtesy of South Louisiana Recipes




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