Annually on May 24th, the state of Michigan celebrates Michigan Pasty Day. I am thrilled as a British-American, that the Cornish pasty found its way to America with the Cornish miners from Cornwall in England.
The Cornish pasty is a hand-held pie. Traditionally it is made with a short crust pastry, which holds up well during transportation. The filling usually consists of an inexpensive cut of meat, potatoes, carrots, onions - and sometimes turnips (swedes or rutabagas) and basic seasonings such as salt and pepper. In this recipe, I added some fresh herbs which blend really well with the rest of the ingredients.
The filling is prepared in its raw state and then stuffed into the pastry and then baked. There is no sauteing or browning involved as the oven does all of the hard work. The Cornish pasty will last a couple of days in your refrigerator, but if you decide to make extra pasties, they freeze extremely well.
The Cornish meat and potato pasty with herbs recipe is as simple to make today as it was over a hundred years ago. A little preparation is necessary, but you can take your time and plan ahead - or better still - recruit some helpers into the kitchen! The pastry you can make the day before and refrigerate overnight if you wish. However, if you dont want to mess with the pastry making, then buy it already made. Please read my cooks notes at the end of the recipe for alternative ingredients.
4 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
1 tsp. table salt
1/2 cup salted butter, very cold
1/2 cup lard, very cold
1 1/3 cups ice cold water (you may not use it all)
1. In a large bowl combine the flour and the salt.
2. Add the butter and lard and with either two knives or a pastry blender, cut the shortenings into the flour until they resemble the size of a pea. (Alternatively, you can use a food processor and pulse the ingredients, adding the water gradually through the spout).
3. Next, add the ice cold water a little at a time and mix with a knife or fork to bring the dough together. Using your hands, bring the dough into a ball and flatten into a disc or rectangle. I flattened mine into a rectangle as it was easier to divide the pastry into 6 equal portions. Refrigerate for at 30 minutes or more in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
Note: It is very important that the ingredients are all diced to the same measurement so that they cook evenly. I used a ruler and measured a piece before I continued, so that I have a visual for the rest of the dicing.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
1 lb. boneless chuck steak, 1/3" dice
2 cups of yellow onion, 1/3" dice
2 large carrots, 1/3" dice
2 large peeled Idaho potatoes, 1/3" dice
4 tbsp. mixed fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used rosemary, thyme, sage and Italian parsley)
1 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. cracked black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp. Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce
2 eggs beaten with 1 tbsp. milk and a pinch of salt
1. Combine all of the filling ingredients into one large bowl and mix together well. Set this aside while you roll the pastry. If your pastry looks too dry, then sprinkle a little iced water over it. If it looks too wet, sprinkle a little flour over it and continue.
2. Divide the pastry into 6 equal pieces. Leave the pastry in the refrigerator to keep cold while you roll one piece at a time. Roll out into a disc shape (they don't have to be perfect) and place at least Ÿ of a cup of the filling in the center.
3. Moisten the edges all around with the egg and then bring up the edges and press together, folding the pastry over (crimping) as you go. Twist the ends and tuck underneath the pasty. Brush all over with the beaten egg and place on an ungreased cookie sheet (not a Teflon coated pan, it will burn the bottom) or very shallow rimmed pan. Continue with the rest of the pastry in the same way.
4. Bake for 45-55 minutes, turning the sheet pan around once to ensure even browning halfway through cooking. If your pastry doesn't seem to be browning quickly enough, you can turn up the heat to 425 degrees F. for the last 15 minutes of the cooking.
Cooks notes and tips:
You may use any inexpensive cut of meat. I used boneless chuck steak, however, eye of round, rump or sirloin steak would work equally well here.
Enjoy these wonderful savory Cornish meat and potato pasties with the H.P. Sauce (a British steak sauce), ketchup or a brown gravy. These pasties are great as an easy-to-go lunch or as a main meal, just as if you made a meat pie without the hassle of portioning it!
You may like to make half-size or even mini pasties as an appetizer.
Historic info :**The Cornish pasty is now protected through its heritage under P.G.I. (Protected Geographical Indication)
H.P. Steak Sauce