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.



Steen’s Syrup Braised Pork Turnovers

These Steen’s Syrup Braised Pork Turnovers are hand pies with an all butter crust that open to reveal shredded pork goodness braised in a rich sauce.

This recipe uses Steen’s Cane Syrup, the gold standard of cane syrup, derived juice from the sugarcane plant that’s been cooked in open kettles to concentrate; it’s golden brown, not too thick, sweet, and similar in flavor to molasses without the bitterness. Used in place of molasses or maple syrup, it works great on pancakes, in meat glazes, or in pecan pies. If cane syrup is unavailable sorghum syrup, derived from sorghum grass, is a good substitute; sorghum syrup is another sweet syrup with a bit more earthiness. Also you can blend two parts light corn syrup to one part unsulphured molasses; the corn syrup will combat the bitterness in the molasses.

I make these in large quantities so I tend to braise a large pork shoulder. I can’t help eating some of the shoulder by itself; it’s delicious with rice or mashed potatoes or whatever sauce holding side you like.


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