At Natchitoches, a small town in central Louisiana, black locals used to sell meat pies from carts on the street till the authorities cracked down on food made outside commercial kitchens. Subsequently, a sharecropper and local butcher by the name of
To make the filling, heat the oil in a large skillet over moderate heat, add the beef, pork, scallions, and garlic, and cook, stirring and breaking up the meats, till the beef loses its red color. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to cook, stirring, till the mixture is almost dry, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, let cool, then chill.
To make the pastry, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl, add the shortening, and cut with a pastry cutter till the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add the egg and milk and stir till a ball of dough forms. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, roll out about ½ inch thick, and, using the lid of a coffee can, cut out rounds of dough.
To assemble the pies, place a heaping tablespoon of filling on one side of each round of dough. With your fingertips, dampen the pie edges with water, fold the other sides of dough over the filling, and seal the edges with a fork dipped in water. Prick twice with a fork on top.
To fry, heat the oil in a medium cast-iron skillet to about 350°F, quickly fry each pie till golden, about 2 minutes on each side, and drain briefly on paper towels. Serve hot.
© 2007 All rights reserved. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.