So in Natchitoches Louisiana they lay claim to the empanada. But they don’t call it an empanada. There, empanada means nothing. In Natchitoches, they are called meat pies.
A meat pie is a half moon filled pastry made with a tasty beef, pork, onion, celery and spice mix. If it has a crawfish étouffée-like filling, it’s technically called a crawfish pie. The meat pie differs from most empanadas in that it is deep fried rather than baked. Additionally, it also lacks the sugar or glazed coating of some South American empanadas.
Now, when it comes to Natchitoches meat pies, there is none other than Lasyone’s. They are made by hand, daily, and they are good. Though the crust is quite thin, a beautiful duality exists in that pastry shell. It somehow manages an outside crunch and a fragile, softer, calzone-like inner softness. Their crawfish filling is rich and tasty. There are a sufficient number of tails, they are good size, and their flavor comes though the sauce. And surprisingly, they’re not a bit spicy. Just delicious.
With my meat pie gone faster than I would have liked, I was tempted to double back for another but instead I enjoyed waking along Cane River Lake enjoying the old French Quarter style buildings along Natchitoches’s historic Front St. It being Memorial Day Weekend, I was able to enjoy the avenue lined to one side with the swaying of bright American flags and to the other with beautiful, pure Magnolias in bloom. What luck.