Delicious homemade Cornish Pasties; meat and potatoes made portable.
Right, so before I moved to the UK I decided to undertake a bit of research into the country I was moving to. Of the variety of programmes I watched, one had the presenter head to the South West part of the country where amongst the items discussed were Pasties. My immediate reaction was ‘what the hell is that’? Followed by musing on who would actually order such an item. Meat and potato folded in what I considered to be a primitive pizza pocket. Originally designed for miners, it is a point of pride in Cornwall.
Well, I was wrong to judge. It took me awhile, but when I finally tried proper Cornish pasties I was hooked. It may have been the knowledge that they were in no way remotely healthy, but it was delicious. By cooking the raw meat with the vegetables, they soak up each others juices and becomes nice and tender. The key to Cornish pasties however is the crust. Crispy, yet soft, crust which holds the fillings. A perfect pasty will have no spillage, and a good ‘crimp’ insures this.
I’ve called my recipe ‘Nearly Cornish Pasties’ because technically I’m breaking some of the rules for Cornish Pasties (Namely, I’m not in Cornwall! – read about them here). Despite its humble origins, you need good ingredients for a good pasty. Good skirt steak, potatoes, turnip and a bit of salt and pepper. Chop, combine and season, and that’s it (although I’ve added thyme as I like the flavour). The dough has a stunningly high amount of fat in it. Coal miners needed it apparently for the calories burnt. I’ve opted for a bit less, although some recipes I’ve come across call for 1:2 ratio of fat to flour. I’ve gone all butter, but a mix of butter and lard is also delicious.
So there you go, my take on the British classic of Cornish Pasties.
This is a twist on a classic miner’s meal, so some local beer would be good. Go for an English style ale. If you can find it, Doombar is a good bet.
I rightly associate anything with Cornwall with the coast, and when I eat a pasty I instinctively think of a East Coast style party (equating the social class of miners at the pasties creation to that of the average Bluenoser). So lets take East Cost style music, with a British influence. Hello Mumford and Sons and ‘I Will Wait’