Natchitoches is the official Meat Pie Capital of Louisiana. Like so many Louisiana dishes the meat pie is a blend of various cultures. The recipe has evolved over the last 300+ years.
Introduced in Louisiana in the 1700’s by Native Americans and later improved (spiced up) by the Spanish. Meat pies are featured at annual events in the Isle Brevelle area and St. Augustine Catholic Church. The recipes are handed down from generation to generation.
James Lasyone opened his Meat Pie Kitchen over 50 years ago, and it remains a popular place to enjoy the spicy, filled pastries. Meat pies originally were sold from home kitchens or from carts by street vendors.
The Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival was formed in 2002 to celebrate our notable culinary staple. It’s always been a no admission required event. Individual activities are available that charge small fees.
The Meat Pie Festival is operated by a group of volunteers and additional volunteers assist on the weekend of the event.
The festival works very close with the Creole community, Fort St Jean Baptiste & the Caddo Adai tribe. Their involvement enhances our event and brings additional cultural layers to the event.
The culinary history of Natchitoches Parish and the Creole community is a cultural legacy. Our festival works very close with many entities and their involvement enhances our event.
Everyone can learn about the history of meat pies, enjoy the various meat pie recipes and the importance of culinary and musical history with local and regional entertainment in a positive, family friendly environment that is admission free.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN:
Started in 2002, the Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival was created because our community needed a fall event to promote additional tourism. Natchitoches was one of the last communities in Louisiana to not have a dedicated ‘food festival’. Since we were already famous for our meat pies this was our choice.
Iris Harper, Executive Director for the Natchitoches Parish Tourist Commission (1998-2013) began with recruiting Angela Lasyone with Lasyone’s Meat Pie Kitchen on board. We immediately had a local couple, Ben and Keri Fidelak volunteer to spearhead and coordinate the entire event. The Fidelaks operated several B&Bs and had a catering company. They also wanted to partner the event with a Meat Pie Triathlon. While Ben and Keri operated the festival for a number of years, got the festival & logo copywritten, their business became very popular and a group of local motorcycle riders operating as the Independent Motorcycle Riders of Natchitoches La. became the officials of the Meat Pie Festival. This group of community oriented guys dedicate many hours and dollars to non-profit groups in the Natchitoches area. Funds raised from the Meat Pie Festival are donated to local charitable organizations.
While the Meat Pie Festival continues to be a success. It is typically held the second weekend in September.
Official State Meat Pie of Louisiana
Louisiana recognized the Natchitoches meat pie as the official state meat pie in 2003.
The city of Natchitoches in northern Louisiana (named after the Natchitoches Indian tribe, pronounced NAK-uh-tush) offers a regional delicacy popular since the late 1700’s – the Natchitoches meat pie. Activities at the annual Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival include a meat pie cooking contest and meat pie eating contest.
A mini Natchitoches meat pie is the appetizer of the official state meal of North Louisiana.
Official Natchitoches Meat Pie Recipe
Meat Pie Filling
- 1 teaspoon shortening
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork meat
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 1 pod garlic, minced
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- Salt, black pepper and red pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon flour
Meat Pie Crust
- 1 quart plain flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup shortening + 1T
- 1 cup milk
Instructions – TIP: Completely cool meat filling before you assemble.
- Melt shortening in heavy pot. Add meat. Cook until pink is gone.
- Add vegetables and season to taste. (Season well, as meat will lose seasoning during frying.)
- When meat is completely done and vegetables glazed, remove from heat and drain excess liquid.
- Stir in 1 tablespoon flour.
- Sift dry ingredients together.
- Cut in shortening.
- Beat egg and add to milk.
- Work gradually into dry ingredients until proper consistency to roll.
- Break into small pieces and roll very thin.
- Cut into rounds using a saucer as a guide.
- Place a large tablespoon of prepared meat along edge and halfway in the center of round dough.
- Fold the other half over, making edges meet and seal with water. Form edges with fork.
- Drop in deep fat and cook until golden brown.
- Drain and serve hot.
Meat pies may also be baked:
Place the meat pies on a greased cookie sheet or pan. Make a couple of small slits in the dough so the steam will vent out, brush some of the egg wash over each pie and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes approximately 18 pies
Recipe courtesy of Mrs. L.J. Melder, Natchitoches, Louisiana