Ever heard of an English Pasty? I hadn’t either, until I did an ingredient search for “chuck steak” on allrecipes.com.
(I’ve purchased lots of chuck roasts, but I bought my first chuck steak last week. And then I didn’t know what to do with it.)
One of the recipes on the first page of my search was for “Pasties.” I chuckled, thinking that the poor person had misspelled pastries. But once I started reading the recipe–“A traditional Upper Peninsula of Michigan treat!”–I realized it was something different, and I was intrigued. The only ingredient I was missing was rutabaga. (I must confess, I didn’t even know what a rutabaga was. I googled it before I ran to the store so I wouldn’t look like a moron trying to figure out which produce item was a rutabaga!)
Apparently, the pasty (pronounced pass–tee) originated in Cornwall, England. It’s basically a pie crust filled with meat and veggies that’s sealed and baked. Kinda like an empanada. Or a hot pocket. Although it’s 65 times better than a hot pocket.
Pasties in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan are a major tourist attraction and are associated with Finnish culture. (Don’t ask me about the Finnish thing…I didn’t read that far…)
Once you get past making the crust, pasties are pretty easy. You could just use a purchased pie crust, but I decided to follow the recipe exactly. (Well, almost.)
Pasties (adapted from Pasties II on allrecipes.com)
3 1/2 c. flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. shortening (I used organic shortening, which is palm oil)
1/2 c. butter
1 c. cold water
1 pound chuck steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 medium rutabaga, peeled and cubed
1 medium carrot, diced
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
6 T. butter
milk for brushing tops
In a mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening and butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water gradually until mixture forms a ball. Shape into a ball; wrap in plastic and refrigerate.
Preheat oven to 35o. Lightly grease a large baking sheet. (I had to use two baking sheets.)
In a large bowl, combine steak, potatoes, onion, rutabaga, carrot, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Divide dough into six pieces and shape into discs.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each disc into an 8-inch round. Place approximately one cup of filling onto one side of each round. Place one tablespoon of butter onto each mound of filling.
Pull each round over the top of the filling and crimp the edges to seal. Place on baking sheet and brush with milk, then prick with a fork.
Bake in preheated oven for one hour, until nicely browned.
We ate our pasties with ketchup, which is apparently how they do it in Michigan, and they were fantastic! They made for an easy lunch the next day too. When I make these again I’d like to double the recipe as I think they would freeze well.
Give these pasties a try…I’m sure you’ll love ’em!