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Help with a recipe from Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen: Cajun Meat Pies

I would love suggestions and advice.

I'm supposed to make Paul Prudhomme's Cajun Meat Pies with Hot Meat filling for a gourmet dinner club Saturday night. There are a few things that bother me about the recipe.

1. The dough is strange. About 3 cups flour, but only 3 Tablespoons butter. Plus two eggs. Seems skimpy on the fat. Plus the recipe calls for 3 Tablespoons sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Huh? I guess the amounts are so small that the intent is to compliment the savory filling.

2. The filling recipe calls for 1/2 pound margarine. Yuck!!!
a. margarine is gross and unhealthy;
b. 1/2 pound seems a huge amount of fat, considering there's only a pound of meat.

Anyone have experience with this recipe? Suggestions?

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  1. The vanilla and sugar in the dough provides a contrast for the spicy filling. But, even though pizza dough does often use sugar, I wouldn't use it or the vanilla.
    I agree that the 3 Tbsp butter/3 cups flour ratio is skimpy. Does the recipe call for cutting the butter into the flour or blending by some other method?.
    My guess would be that the 1/2 pound margarine is either a misprint or that it's supposed to go into the dough and not the filling and that the 3 tablespoons of butter are used in the filling.
    If you're looking for "healthy" recipes, Cajun Meat Pies may not be what you want to make.
    Perhaps this recipe is closer to what you'd like to do:

    1. I have another Cajun meat pie recipe (from Chef Francoise) It had 8T unsalted butter for 3lbs ground pork, 3 lbs ground beef and 3 lbs of "other cooked meat cubed small (along with 3 egg yolks plus lots of veggies and seasonings.)

      She does not have a crust recipe.

      1. I have made these a couple of times and they work.
        Todaoand you are right about the sugar and vanilla in the dough.
        Prudhomme's first cook book is pretty much how his mother cooked(margarine) and is the opposite of healthy(1/2#).
        The large amount Marg. or Butter is mostly absorbed by the Potato that is added. It actually comes out to 1.5Tbs of butter per pie.
        You can easily substitute butter and cut back on the amount.
        One thing to remember when using this book is that the Cayenne pepper that Chef Prudhomme was using when testing these recipes was about half the strength of what most of the country uses. So use half Paprika and half Cayenne if you want to stick to his intent.

        2 Replies
        1. re: chefj

          Thanks for your excellent suggestions. When you made the meat pies, did you include or omit the vanilla and sugar in the dough? If you used the vanilla and sugar, did you like it?

          1. re: avidfan

            I did it per the recipe first couple of times(subbed Butter and O.O. for the Marg.). Then I reduced the the fats and skipped the Potato.
            Good results every time.

        2. I just recently got his book, so can't help you on that specific recipe. I do, however, recall reading a number of reviews that say "no matter how wrong it looks, stick to the recipe. It has a way of coming together at the end". As such, I don't plan on deviating from it all that much (though I will use butter instead of margarine).

          I mean, let's be honest: Look at the man on the cover, and all of the food he's displaying. We all knew what we were getting into when we bought the book. Worrying about the healthiness of the dishes should have been done prior to purchase :P.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Quintious

            Yikes! See below!

            As a matter of fact, I love Paul Prudhomme and do own his Fiery Foods cookbook. "worrying about the healthiness of the dishes" is not quite accurate. I worry about using chemically laden margerine.

          2. Now I'm getting curious, avidfan. Are you working from an actual published Paul Prudhomme recipe book or someone's interpretation or re-write (e.g. internet site resource) for your recipe.

            3 Replies
            1. re: todao

              Todao, I am working from the actual recipe printed in the book, "Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen." The couple that is hosting our gourmet club this month handed each member a photocopied recipe from the book to prepare for Saturday night; mine is the "Cajun Meat Pies" with "Hot Meat" filling. (Thus, Quintious, it is not a matter of me buying the book and worrying about the healthiness of the dishes after the fact.)

              And more than the amount of the fat in the filling recipe , it's the use of margerine that grosses me out. I'll use the listed amount but use butter instead.

              The dough recipe calls for 3 Tbs. butter, 3 Tbs. sugar, 2 eggs, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, 5 Tbs. milk and 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups flour.

              Maybe I'll make the dough as listed but also make my standard pie crust and compare.

              Thank you everyone for your comments.

              1. re: avidfan


                Many of us ate only margarine for the first two decades of our lives because our parents couldn't afford butter. I, so far, haven't dropped dead, four and a half decades later.

                The only time I have edited a Prudhomme recipe was for a curry that called for (IIRC) a half cut of finely chopped jalapenos, and I pretty much knew that my family couldn't handle that level of hot.

                The other thing to remember about Prudhomme and his family: they were poor. The animals they cooked with weren't the fatted ones that are now available and I'd say that the filling has fat added because the meats of his recipes are / were far leaner than the ones you will be buying.

                1. re: shallots

                  Yeah, I ate it too growing up but not anymore. Would you make the recipe now with margerine or would you substitute butter?
                  P.S. I really wasn't criticizing Paul Prudhomme, although from the comments I've recieved it sounds as if that's the way my question came off; I really just wanted advice on how to proceed with the recipe..

            2. Well, I made these yesterday. Huge, time-consuming failure, if you ask me.

              I made Prudhomme's recipe for the dough, using flour (2 cups? 3 cups? can't remember), 3 Tbs. butter, 3 Tbs. sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, eggs. Let it rest in refrigerator most of the day. I pinched off a taste, and learned that indeed, it tasted like a sweet bread. So I decided I'd make an alternate dough just in case. Found a recipe for an Emeril Lagasse meat pie dough and made it. Similar to P's, but no sugar or vanilla. Let this rest too.

              I made the filling per the recipe, except subbing butter for margerine. It was delicious -- spicy and savory and rich. It was swimming in grease. I refrigerated it for a couple of hour (but it was still warm when I removed it so I did not have to re-heat it to "incorporate tthe fat" as P recommended. Plus, there was so much fat there's no way in hell it ever could be incorporated.)

              When ready to make the pies, I rolled out first the Prudhomme dough, cut it into circles and put in a spoonful of filling. The filling was so greasy that the grease oozed out the sides and I couldn't get the pie to seal. Even when I thought I had a pie sealed, I would learn that I didn't when I popped it into the hot oil and it burst open.

              I tried the Emeril dough. A little easier to work with but still troublesome becasue of the greasy filling.

              I spent a lot of time on these, and the result was absolutely not worth it. I know my end product is not what was intended by the recipe.

              I have tons of filling left over, but it's so delicious I'll find a use for it.

              So, after making this recipe, here's what I would answer if someone asked me the questions I posted in this thread orgiginally:

              1. Find another recipe for the dough or at least reduce the amount of sugar and eliminate the vanilla. The sweet flavor of the dough made as per the recipe is overwhelming; it's not complimentary to the filling, just weird. Keep in mind that the dough is not a flaky, pie crust kind of dough but rather a bready kind of dough.

              2. a. Substitute 1/4 pound butter for the 1/2 pound of margerine.
              b. Even \with this reduction in fat, before you use the filling in the pie, drain it or remove some of the grease some way because it makes the filling very hard to work with when you try to seal the pie.