Meat pies with A Cajun Down Under

24 Oct

I’m so excited today to introduce you to Christy, from A Cajun Down Under. Christy grew up in the American south but moved to Australia with her hubby.

She’s here to share a story about something truly dear to my heart: FOOD! Be sure to show Christy some love, and enjoy!

G’day Snap, Crackle, Pop readers.  I am visiting here today from A Cajun Down Under. Jaclyn asked me to write a post for y’all comparing Cajun’ness to Aussie’ness, and I decided to do that by writing about my favorite topic: FOOD!  I offer you a comparison between the icon of Australian cuisine, The Meat Pie, and the Natchitoches Louisiana Meat Pie.

After I graduated from Louisiana State University, my first “real” job was in Dallas.  Dallas is a seven-hour drive from Baton Rouge, and the town of Natchitoches (pronounced NACK-oh-dish), La., with its famous meat pies, is right in the middle.  No matter which direction I was travelling, the first 3 1/2 hours of my journey was spent hanging for that delicious meat pie. There are some excellent examples in the restaurants along the river, but I’m partial to the meat pies at the Chevron station right there on I-49.  I know you are thinking I’ve lost all credibility — and possibly my mind — buying meat pies at a gas station, but don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.

The Natchitoches meat pie is like a deep fried turnover with highly seasoned ground beef and pork inside.  They are simply delicious!

Photo by Celeste Uzee. Used with permission

I have spent more than my fair share of time in the parking lot of that Chevron station devouring a meat pie or two.  As always with something this good, there is a down side.  In this case, it is the next 3 1/2 hours in the car burping meat pie.  Now, I know this is going to happen before I even pull off the interstate and take that first bite, but the Cajun meat pie is just so good that I am powerless to drive past.

Yes indeed, I arrived in Australia as a lover of the meat pie.  That’s good because meat pies are the national food over here.  From pub grub to gourmet, you can get a “dog’s eye with dead horse” (rhyming slang for meat pie with red sauce) just about anywhere in Australia.  At any Australian sporting arena, meat pies and sausage rolls are what the crowds line up for instead of hotdogs and nachos.  There is even a range of meat pies in the freezer section at the grocery store, and once a year or so the news media will hold a taste test as to which is the best.

Not long after I met my husband, The Aussie, he took me to down to Harry’s Cafe de Wheels for my very first Aussie Meat Pie.  Harry’s is a pie cart on the side of the road in Woolloomooloo (pronounced Wool-ah-mah-loo).  Since 1938, Harry’s has been a Sydney institution and has even been registered as a “quintessential Sydney Icon” by the National Trust.

Given that my meat pies usually come from a gas station, I did not let the cart on the side of the road put me off.  I love meat pies after all, and I could not wait to sink my teeth into the Aussie version. As I loitered on the side of the road looking at Harry’s memorabilia, The Aussie ordered me the specialty of the house and proudly walked over with one of the best meat pies Sydney has to offer.

Yes folks, that’s “THE TIGER,”  an Australian meat pie piled high with mashed potatoes, mushy peas, gravy and topped off with tomato sauce (ketchup). NOT what I was expecting — we are definitely not in Natchitoches anymore, Toto.

The actual meat pie part is like an individual pot pie stuffed with steak, onions and gravy.  It was actually pretty good, but I’m not much for all the toppings.

These days, The Aussie and I make our own meat pies at home minus the mash and mushy peas. Our pies are more of a crossbreed pie if you will — spicy like the Natchitoches pie but baked in the Australian pastry. Truthfully, however, I would rather be burping that Natchitoches Chevron station meat pie any day.

Have you ever eaten a food that was completely different than what you were expecting? Did you like it? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments.

If you are interested in more of my adventures in food, come on over and check out my Cajun Porn series where I detailed everything I ate on my recent three-week trip to Baton Rouge.

Thanks so much for your post, Christy. Oh man,  I’m craving a meat pie right now!

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10 Responses to “Meat pies with A Cajun Down Under”

  1. Ally October 24, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    I, too, am strangely craving a meat pie at 6:55am. I think I’d like them both, but without the mushy peas. The Aussie style one reminds me of a mini British steak pie. Yum!

    • A Cajun Down Under October 26, 2011 at 6:24 am #

      Ally, I’ve never had a British pie, but it would not surprise me that the Aussie one is similar. Hold the mushy peas for me too.

  2. Jodi October 25, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    OKay that is not a meat pie Australia! That’s a shepard’s pie with crust 🙂

    Jodi

    • A Cajun Down Under October 26, 2011 at 6:25 am #

      Don’t say that to The Aussie, Jodi. It’s more like a mini pot pie with lots of toppings.

  3. Amy October 25, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    I grew up in NC & all my life our barbeque was pork with either hot suace or a vineagar sauce. Any gathering of friends & family called for anyone with a pig cooker (for those who don’t know it is a 50 gallon metal drum that has been cut in 1/2 & put on wheels) to throw on half a side of pig & cook it all day. After I got married & my husband & I moved to OK, his mother threw us a party. I asked her what was on the menu, she told me barbeque. I thought she was so sweet to fix something that I knew & loved. It turned out to be beef brisket…covered in store bought barbeque sauce. I took one bite & couldn’t even swallow it.I did ask what in the world was everyone eating, they answered in unison” barbeque”. I informed them that barbeque is pork…not beef. It is a battle that goes on today.

    • A Cajun Down Under October 26, 2011 at 6:27 am #

      Love this story, Amy. It’s funny just how regional food can be. The Aussie and I have a similar battle over the meat pie. The first time he had the Natchitoches meat pie, he said it was delicious, but NOT a meat pie. I beg to differ.

  4. Dot October 25, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    There is also the difference between baked and fried .. fried although not healthy is better tasting than baked to most. But that aside the seasoning in Louisiana version is sooo good. In fact I buy them already fried then frozen in the local Albertsons and then bake them to heat up . Pretty good but not as good as the Chevron Station off I-49.

    • A Cajun Down Under October 26, 2011 at 6:29 am #

      I agree, Dot, hard to go past the seasoning in the Natchitoches meat pie. We are enjoying the best of both worlds with the Natchitoches pie filling in the baked Aussie shell. It’s yummy, but I to prefer the deep fried version.

  5. Possum January 20, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    Ah, I love my meat pies with mash and mushy peas. As long as the mushy peas aren’t too dry! Personally I am a little worried to try the British Pork Pie with the trotter jelly. But if I ever see a place selling them I’d def. give them a go.

  6. Annie July 8, 2014 at 12:35 am #

    Does anyone know what happened to the A Cajun Down Under blog? I loved it and it was the source of some of my favourite recipes.

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