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.

 

 

Zucchini and Rice Filo Pie

Zucchini, rice, and a mixture of herbs encased in filo pastry makes a light summer pie. This recipe is inspired by Nigel Slater’s River Cottage Veg. It is a great book of vegetable dishes that you really should have. Add a salad for a great summer meal.

Ingredients:
1 lb/ 500 g zucchini, grated
⅓ cup/ 75 g long grain rice
½ red onion, chopped
2 ½ oz/ 75 g hard cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 Tbsp finely chopped mixed herbs (thyme, parsley, dill, basil)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 oz/ 250 g filo pastry
6 Tbsp/ 100 g butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375F/ 190C.
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Chicken Rissoles

Like many savory pies of the world, rissoles have made their way all over the map, from Ireland to Indonesia. Rissoles can be sweet or savory and have many different names. In Portugal they are called rissóis and are often filled with shrimp or fish and bechamel sauce. The version below is encased in pastry and rolled in bread crumbs. They can be baked at 350F, but I like them fried.

These are definitely a weekend project. The pastry is easy, but puff pastry can be substituted if you would like to skip a step. While delicious fried, the puff pastry will be more delicate and you must keep it cool while working it. Also you could make the filling the day before.

They make great bar snacks and taste even better cold.

Makes 30

Filling:
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
6 cups salty chicken stock
1 bay leaf
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