Cajun Pies

These little spicy fried pies are addictive.
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium jalapeño, finely chopped
4 plum tomatoes, finely chopped

2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for frying
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire
2 tablespoons flour
1 bunch scallions, finely sliced
5 dashes Krystal or other hot sauce
2 pounds puff pastry
eggwash (1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water)

Add 2 tablespoons oil to the pan. Brown meat. Drain grease. Add meat back to pan.

Add seasonings: salt, cayenne, paprika, chili powder, white pepper, cumin, and black pepper. Stir thoroughly. Add onions, bell peppers, jalapeños, tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves, and worcestershire sauce. Cook until juices have released and reduced, about 10 minutes.
Add flour. Stir out any lumps. Cook until thick.
Turn off heat. Add scallions and hot sauce.
Allow to chill thoroughly.

Working in batches so it stays cool, roll out puff pastry until thin. Cut out 2 inch circles using cookie cutter. Brush edges with eggwash. Place 1 tablespoon filling in the center. Fold circle over filling in half. Where edges meet crimp with fork tines. Transfer pies in a single layer on dusted surface to the refrigerator to keep cool as you work. Chill pies at least 30 minutes before frying. Any pies you don’t plan on using can be frozen for later.
Fill deep dutch oven or cast iron skillet with 3 inches of oil. Fry pies in small batches until golden brown, approximately 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to drain.

For more Cajun food, try this recipe for Maw-Maw’s Dirty Rice.

 

 

Cucumber and Yogurt Soup

A light, refreshing cold soup for hot summer days.

3 tablespoons mint
3 tablespoons dill, plus chopped sprigs to finish
2 tablespoons tarragon
2 cucumbers, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup yogurt
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup walnuts, plus 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts to finish
1 cup stale breadcrumbs
½ cup olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon to finish
6 scallions, roughly chopped
2-4 peeled garlic cloves, depending on your taste
juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
sprinkle cayenne pepper
salt, to taste
sprinkle sumac, to finish, optional

Add mint, dill, and tarragon to food processor. Pulse. Add remaining ingredients. Chill. Portion into bowls. Top with dill, walnuts, olive oil, and sumac, if desired. Serve.

Chilaquiles

I like to top my chilaquiles with a fried egg and bacon for a spicy breakfast.

Serves 2

vegetable oil, for frying
4 small corn tortillas, cut in 1.25″ strips
1/2 cup of salsa
fried egg, optional
bacon, cooked and chopped, optional
queso fresca for sprinkling, optional

Fill pan with vegetable oil 1″ high. Bring oil temperature up to 350F/ 175C. Fry corn tortillas, working in batches if necessary. Remove to paper towels.
Warm salsa. Add fried corn strips. Allow to slightly soften.
Top with fried egg and cheese (optional).
Serve.

Great with refried beans and cilantro cream sauce.

Roasted Tomato Salsa

Easy and so much better than the stuff you buy from the store.

1 pound/ 450 g fresh tomatoes, sliced in half
1 red onion, quartered
2 cloves of garlic
2 green chili peppers
⅓ cup cilantro, chopped
juice from ½ a lime
salt

Preheat broiler. Place tomatoes, onion, garlic, and peppers on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Broil until slightly charred.

Place in a food processor with cilantro, lime juice, and another sprinkle of salt. Puree. Serve.

Great with chilaquiles.