Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Today we say Yah to da UP, eh! The quintessential Michigan food is the pasty (that's with a short "a" sound, in case you're wondering), meat and root vegetables wrapped in a pastry crust. The dish was brought to the area by Cornish miners, who, like West Virginia miners, needed a convenient lunch meal.
We used ground beef for ours, though they're often filled with game, chopped steak or just vegetables. I mixed the beef with minced onion and garlic and added salt, pepper and a little worchestershire sauce. For the pastry, I made a double batch of a basic pie crust. I added an egg to the crust dough and used a little less water; this seems to give it a bit more stretch and makes it easy to wrap the filling.
I cut the crust into circles about 4 inches in diameter. With 1 lb of beef and onions, this yielded 15 pasties. I also added diced potatoes to half of them. To put them together, I put a couple tablespoons of filling in the middle of the dough circle and folded it over, pinching the edges together. I brushed them all with egg wash and baked them for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
On the side, fresh cherries, of course!
These smelled fantastic while they were in the oven. The end result was, for me, a little disappointing. All of the recipes I read suggested that the meat went into the pastry raw. Cooking the meat in the pastry caused it to tighten up and it had the consistency of a rather dry meatball. My brother, who lives in northern Michigan says he always cooks the filling first; I'll try that next time. Everyone else was perfectly satisfied with the meal, Marc and Lucy especially. Maia thought the meat was too spicy.
The pasties have not seen the last of me--meat in pastry just has to be good!
This was our dinner to draw the next four (always an exciting evening)! Coming up next: Wyoming, Texas, New York and Kansas!