Quarantine Cooking

Today is April 28, 2020.  The last time I went out in public was March 14....45 days ago.  During a coronavirus Stay at Home order imposed on my state, I have avoided people, places and all things social. Luckily my husband of 52 years years and I are compatible!

 It has not been hard to stay busy.  Closets are cleaned and drawers are organized.  Dusting, vacuuming and mopping are daily.  Laundry also daily, and never-ending, has kept me busy.  There is also yard work to fill my days.  Sewing face masks for family and friends has become an almost daily chore of love.  One of the most pleasurable tasks has been preparing food.  We are lucky enough to have food delivery and pickup available without breaking our quarantine, therefore, I cook!

I love cooking, but in retirement, my husband and I fell into a routine of frequent meals at restaurants.  We love going out to eat!  Since we had the resources and I was often busy during the day with volunteer work, bridge and social activities, eating out became more of a habit than an experience.  With a new way of life at home, going out became impossible.  All restaurants except for take out were off limits.

It's fortunate that we live very near our daughter's family.  Her two children are our only grandkids and we are backdoor neighbors.  We also have a son, but he is many states away from us.  Seeing him has been tough and especially with staying home for our health.  We are so thankful to have some family within walking distance.  I digress...

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to attend Kay Ewing's Everyday Gourmet cooking classes.  I actually attended 12 of these classes.  Kay has since retired, but of course, I saved every recipe.  One of the classes was particularly memorable since we learned to prepare Louisiana Meat Pies with a homemade pastry crust.

 On this ordinary day of quarantine, my daughter and my two granddaughters set about to prepare a double recipe of this culinary treat!  We chopped, mixed, sautéed, browned, rolled, crimped and baked for about 4 hours.  The end result was a freezer full of authentic meat pies and a memory of quality time with those involved.  Nothing can replace the memory of all of us pitching in with assembling the ingredients for the luscious savory pies.

Here's the recipe  (with a few my own modifications) with credits and kudos to Kay Ewing's Everyday Gourmet cooking class for the inspiration:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup very cold butter, cut up
1/2 cup cold milk

Combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor by pulsing until combined. Add egg and butter and pulse until crumbly.  With the machine running pour in the milk through the top and process just until dough comes together and forms a ball.  Remove and wrap in plastic wrap and chill.  You will need a triple recipe to use all of the filling.

Meat Filling.
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound pork sausage (or Italian sausage casing removed)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup flour
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 green bell pepper, chopped fine
1/2 cup green onions, chopped fine
1 1/2 cups beef broth (or equivalent prepared with a beef bullion cubes)
Sage, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, unsalted Creole seasoning ceasing to taste

Brown the meats and drain fat.  Make a light brown roux with the vegetable oil and flour.  Add the vegetables to the skillet and cook and stir until they are soft.  Add beef broth and seasonings.  Cook for about 10 minutes until thickened.  Remove from heat and cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Roll out small amounts of the dough on a floured surface and cut into 4 inch circles.  Place about 2 tablespoons(maybe a little less) on each circle, fold over and crimp the edges with a fork.  Place on a greased baking sheet and brush with an egg wash.  Bake for about 30 minutes until golden.  Serve with salsa or other sauce of your choice.

This recipe is not for sissies!  It is time consuming, but the Meat Pies are scrumptious and worth the time.

The memories of grand girls covered in flour while they rolled dough and crimped edges are priceless!  Our dinner at home tonight will be excellent.  Who needs to go out to enjoy good food?

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