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Growing up my family went to New Orleans to visit my paternal grandparents about twice a year.  Years of trips meant we kind of had a game plan for our visits. One place we never missed was the zoo. Not just because of the cute animals, but because of the food. There was this little wagon in the middle of the zoo that had hand pulled salt-water taffy that was amazing. Easily the best taffy I have ever had. There was also this great little restaurant in the middle of the bayou exhibit that had all kind of yummy, greasy Cajun food. One of the family favorite was a spicy, meat filled hand pie. Seriously, they were amazing.

So, last Saturday we decided to give them a try. Now they definitely weren’t the same, not being fried and all, but they were quite tasty. I wanted the meat to be a finer texture, but the ground turkey just didn’t quite break up the way I would have liked. That said I really don’t think I would change anything about these. We served them with remoulade sauce (I used this recipe, only in true me fashion I didn’t really measure everything and only used about ¼ c oil).

Cajun Meat Pies (Adapted from The Essence of Emeril)

For the filling:

Splash vegetable oil

1 pound lean ground turkey

1/2 pound ground pork

1 onion, minced

½ green bell pepper, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

Healthy dash black pepper, dry oregano, dry thyme, paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

3 green onions, minced

For the pastry:

3 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking powder

6 Tbs Crisco

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

Heat oven to 425°.

In a large skillet sauté turkey and pork until browned, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the onions, bell pepper, celery, garlic and spices. Cook about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the green onions. Mix well and set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Cut in Crisco until mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and milk. Gradually add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, working it to a thick dough. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll each portion of dough into a thin round about 5 inches in diameter. Place about 1/4 cup of meat filling in the center of each round and brush edges lightly with water. Fold edges together and crimp closed with a fork.

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake about 15 minutes, or until tops begin to brown.