Monday, January 12, 2009

12 January 2009: Pasty

Despite the stomach, throat, nose and head bug that has been recycling around us for a couple of weeks, Gloria declared that Saturday would be Pasty Day.

And who would dare to disagree with such as fine suggestion?

The problem is that Ivor Dewdney's don't deliver to Kokomo, not even the "pasties by post". And Jungle Jim's insist on offering "pasties" in their frozen section that comprise such ingredients as cheese and chicken. So, as with the clotted cream and as will soon be with sausages (if we can find anyone selling belly pork), our 'Pasty Day' options were narrowed to:

1. Move back to England
2. Make it ourselves.

And as England is every bit as frozen as Indiana at the moment, option two was selected.

Dead simple really: the secret (such as there is one) is that the pasty must be sealed, aside from a slit in the top, due to the fact that in effect it's a little pressure cooker in there, as all the ingredients when they go on are raw. So, one of those rare cooking occasions where you don't brown the beef first.

And on the controversial aspects, I'll hereby state for the record the following choices were made:
1. Side crimp.
2. Shortcrust pastry.
3. No turnip/swede.

And I don't care if your long lost auntie did it different, that's the way it's going to be.

Ingredients: Chuck steak, which we ran through the coarse mincer rather than chopping by hand, some fairly finely-cubed potatoes, some onion and then salt and pepper to season. Pastry was made with a combination of margarine and shortening (if you're in the UK and wondering what 'shortening' is, think 'Trex' or that solid block of Crisp'N'Dry you can sometimes get.)

Roll out the pasty in about a eight or nine inch round and stick the mixture over half the circle. We layered it a bit - onion/potato, seasoning, then meat, more seasoning, then rest of potato - but frankly I think you could just mix it all up:

Wet the bottom edge with a small amount of water so that it'll stick when you crimp. Fold the top half over and gently crimp the two sides together so they're sealed. Place them on a baking tray that's either nicely greased or has that handy baking parchment stuff on it. Put a little milk on the top to help it brown, and cut a small slit in there to prevent too much pressure build-up.

Stick them in the oven for a bit. The instructions we followed were a little complex, you can probably just get away with 45-50 mins or so (depending on size) in a medium-hot oven.

When they come out, allow them to stand for a bit because they'll be a little on the warm side. This is the most difficult part because the smell by this stage is fantastic.

Finally, put it on your plate and eat it. Technically a pasty is not a fruit or vegetable and so cannot contribute much to your 'five a day', so make a nice smoothie to have with it, and then you can feel all righteous about what you're doing.

Bleddy marvleous.


Becky said...

Looks fantastic ... but surely the only drinks of choice should be tea or beer?

Anonymous said...

Vegetable shortening? What's wrong with lard - should be healthier than transfats.

We've been eating a lot of pasties recently, since they work really well with left-over beef from a larger meal (boiled beef rather than roast, I should add).

DuncMcRae said...

I wasn't righteous: while eating pasty #1 I drank IBC root beer. Pasty #2 the following day was consumed alongside diet coke, if I recall correctly.

Aah, lard - we didn't have any in the house, and the choice came down to whether to use suet (hand-shredded, left over from Christmas pudding making), shortening or butter. Gloria suggests that shortcrust pastry requires shortening to keep us all short, so that was that. Now, whether we can find lard for next time is another question...

As for eating fat, I feel another blog coming on...

wjlanesr said...

That looks so dadgum good! I haven't had one since your dad introduced me to them in Barnstaple a few years ago. Now that I know how they're made, I will put Julie to work! But as for me, I probably will NOT have a root beer or diet coke with mine, but rather a cold Bass Ale.
Take care my friend.

Whiskers said...

We will have to trade pasties. Barbara's family has a tradition from Michigan and they are wonderful. Looks almost like what you have here but with carrots. hmmm now I think I know what to make next week.