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Empanadas, which are elaborate Spanish turnovers filled with chopped meat, usually beef, chopped fruit such as peaches or raisins, vegetables, olives and sometimes hard-boiled eggs, have long been a specialty of Galicia in the northwest area of Spain. Natchitoches, La., is known for its meat pies, which are turnovers filled with ground meat and seasonings. The original Louisiana version is believed to have been developed by the Natchitoches Indians and improved upon by the Spanish. Although most cultures had meat pies, many dating from the Middle Ages, one of the most famous in Louisiana is the salmis or game pie usually served at Christmas.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a heavy-bottomed sauté pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Sauté beef and pork until golden brown, stirring constantly, until all liquid has evaporated.
- Add onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic. Sauté three to five minutes or until vegetables are wilted. This should cook slowly for about one hour, adding beef stock to mixture to prevent sticking. Season to taste using salt and pepper. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Roll pie dough into circles and cut into halves. Spoon a generous portion of the cooked meat mixture into the pie shells. Brush a little egg-wash around the edge of the shell, fold over and press the edges with a fork similar to apple turnover. Place on a greased cookie sheet or pan. Make small slits in dough to vent steam, egg-wash entire pie and bake thirty minutes at 400 degrees.
- Pie may also be deep-fried.
Definitely 5 stars for flavor! I made these the other night as TS Fay was hovering nearby and I must say the flavor was EXCELLENT! I made some adjustments though -- I used hot chicken sausage instead of pork (we don't eat pork) and I added 1/2 cup of dried currants and 3 scrambled eggs, plus 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun Seasoning and a couple cloves of minced garlic. I remember eating empanadas that a Cuban friend made once, and they were filled with lots of onions, eggs and raisins, so I was trying to achieve a similar taste. With the additions (or even without), the filling had an awesome flavor. My problem was the pie crust. I am not a baker, and I don't handle pie crusts very well either it seems :( I had a heck of a time getting them out of the pie pans, rolled into a circle, cut, and then filled. I ended up with what looked like 4 big blobs of pie dough when i put them in the oven. But, with the egg solution, they browned up beautifully. So I had 4 beautifully baked blobs of meat pie! I will definitely make this again, as DH LOVED them and so did I, though my presentation left much to be desired. I guess I need practice with the pie dough. Thanks Chief Teer for sharing this recipe. BTW -- I also liked the fact that I could bake the pies instead of deep frying -- we also don't fry much, watching our fat intake!