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.



Maw Maw’s Dirty Rice

I know everyone brags about their grandmother’s cooking, but I’ve had several non-relations comment that this is the best dirty rice they’ve ever had. There’s no tricks or secret ingredients. It’s just incredibly good. It’s practically a public service writing it down. However be aware that since this is the first time it is written down so I might need to come back to update some of the quantities given.

Roux is made with equal weights flour to fat. The fat can vary; vegetable oil is best for this recipe. Heat the oil on low, slowly add the flour, and stir, stir stir. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot as you go. It will initially bubble and then smooth out as it cooks. It will need to be stirred about every fifteen seconds. Be sure to keep the oil below the smoke point. As the roux darkens lower the heat. Don’t go wandering off either because if it’s burnt it’s ruined. How long will it take? Longer than you think. The darkness of the roux can vary based on recipes and personal preference. I like to get mine to the color of a penny. Roux requires vigilance. Luckily it can be made in large batches and frozen.

1/2 cup roux
2 pounds ground beef
2 pounds ground chicken liver
2 bunches scallions, thinly sliced
6 cups cooked white rice
Finely chopped parsley
White Pepper
Cayenne Pepper

So starting off like all good Cajun recipes, first make your roux (see above).

In another pan, brown the beef and strain off the grease. Add scallions and salt and pepper to taste. Add roux. It should be a little watery. If not add water. Simmer 15-20 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add rice and taste again. It should be salty and meaty with a slight hint of pepper. Let sit 10 minutes. Add parsley and serve.