Natchitoches Festivals

Hi Again World

Our next journey into great festivals is through the area we call Crossroads.  There are some great areas in this part of Louisiana.  They are quaint and beautiful. 

One of my very favorite places in all of Louisiana is Natchitoches (pronounced nack-i-tish).  It is such a neat place.  The historic district is on the Cane River Lake and every building is filled with little shops.  I will be covering more on this at a later date.  I can get lost talking about this town but today I am writing about festivals.  So, I must bring myself back to reality.

Natchitoches is home to some fun festivals.  The first one I want to cover is the Jazz and R&B festival.  It is held in April along the Cane River Lake.  Friday evening is tailored to the college students.  Saturday there are different stages with, of course, jazz, R&B, rock and many other types of music.  Plan on (as always in Louisiana) good food, great music and wonderful camaraderie.  On top of all that, the atmosphere cannot be beat.

Natchitoches is also home to the Meat Pie Festival.  This town is famous for its’ homemade meat pies.  This year it is held Friday evening and Saturday from morning into the evening, September 20-21.  It is held at the Riverbank stage downtown.  There are live bands, a 5k run, children’s games, dancing along the Cane River Lake, meat pie tasting and contests, delicious food and more.

While this fine town has many more festivals and events throughout the year, I want to tell you about one more annual festival.  It is the Christmas festival.  It runs from sometime in November through the first weekend in January.  If I may make a suggestion for anyone wanting a special treat and wondering what to do over the holidays, that you check into this wonderful town.  What a beautiful time of the year it is in this in Natchitoches.  You’ll be glad you did.  You will make happy memories.

We included a great recipe for meat pies.  C’est Bon!   

Louisiana Meat Pies

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • Beef stock or broth, as needed
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and Cajun seasoning, hot sauce and/or cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 2 pie crusts, homemade or store bought (Pillsbury recommended)
  • 1 egg
  • A bit of water
  • Cooking oil, if deep frying

Instructions

In a heavy-bottomed saute pan, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell peppers, and celery and saute about 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Last minute or so add the garlic. Add the beef and pork and saute until cooked through and most liquid has reduced down. Reduce to a low simmer and cook for about 60 minutes. Add small amounts of broth as necessary to prevent sticking. Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Remove from heat and let cool. You want your filling to be room temperature but not hot. If it is too hot it will make the pastry dough soggy. Number of servings will depend on how you cut the dough.

To Bake: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the pie crust in half and spoon a generous portion on each half. Prepare egg wash by whisking together egg and water and brush it around the edge of each round, fold over and press edges together with a fork. Place the meat pies on a greased cookie sheet or pan. Make a couple of small slits in the dough so the steam will vent out, brush some of the egg wash over each pie and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

To Fry: Traditionally at the festivals these pies are fried. Preheat your fryer to 375 degrees F, and then cut the pie crust up into smaller rounds – somewhere between 3 and 5 inches or so. Portion out the meat mixture onto each of the rounds. Proceed as above to fold and seal them with the egg wash, except don’t brush the egg wash on top of course. Fry the pies until golden brown; drain and serve hot.

Recipe from: deepsouthdish.com