A few weeks ago, I was invited to a ladies’ potluck event at my church. The challenge? Make and bring something that is from your heritage.
Although I would not have been escorted out of the room by the ear if I’d shown up with chocolate chip cookies or taco salad in hand, I needed to meet this challenge for my own personal satisfaction.
You see, I am as far away and as unattached to my “heritage” as one can be. Never having met a relative that was born out of the United States, the only knowledge I have of my background is the few passed-down and most likely muddled stories I have heard from my parents. The closest I had come to eating European food growing up was when we had crepes on New Years Eve: and we’re not even French!
Working with what little I knew of my background, I chose to seek out an English recipe. Bonus: I had also remembered that my great great grandfather came over from the region of Cornwall.
Google led me to one main food that the Cornish are known for: the pasty (pronounced pass-tee). It has a nice little story to go with it as well. Apparently, the wives of Cornish tin miners would make and pack a pasty for the miners’ lunch. The thick crust on the rounded edge served as a “handle” which could be thrown away after the miner ate his pasty. Mining for tin exposed the men to arsenic, and clean water sources were not readily available where they were working.
The traditional pasty filling is steak, potatoes, onion, and rutabaga. Short on time and not willing to venture to the grocery store, I subbed the steak for ground turkey meat and left the rutabaga out. I imagine my Cornish ancestors would be turning over in their graves…
As expected, the neat little packages of meat, veggies, and seasonings wrapped up in buttery pie dough were absolutely delicious. I opted to make them mini, about the size of my hand, for the sake of the potluck. I’d never had any reason to identify with my Cornish ancestors before, but I now feel a tiny bit closer to my roots after baking, eating, and sharing these pastys.
For the record: only three out of the ten or so ladies at the potluck actually showed up with a dish from their heritage. Yay for me!
- pie crust dough, store-bought or homemade
- 2 beef bouillon cubes
- 3/4 lb. ground turkey
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 1 cup finely diced red potatoes (about 2 large or 3 small potatoes)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- salt, pepper, thyme, red pepper flakes, garlic powder to taste
- 1 egg, beaten
- In a medium bowl, dissolve the bouillon in 1/2 cup boiling water. Add the ground turkey, onion, potato, and garlic. Season well with salt, red garlic flakes, and garlic powder.
- Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick. Using a large biscuit cutter or freehand, cut out 4-inch circles. Combine scraps and repeat, using all the dough.
- Put a small amount of the meat filling in the center of each of the circles. Close the circle of dough like a taco, and use a fork to crimp the edges together.
- Line up the crimped pastys on a sheet pan with a sprayed piece of parchment paper. Cut a small hole or “x” with a knife in the center of the pastry to let steam escape. Use a pastry brush to brush the beaten egg on the top of the pastys.
- Bake at 425 for about thirty minutes, or until the edges are nice and brown. If you want to be doubly safe, slice open one of the pastys to be sure the meat has cooked.
If you happen to be Cornish and you come across this recipe, I hope I’ve done it justice! If you are not Cornish and you come across this recipe: make it today. YUM.
Original recipe from here.