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Monday, January 21, 2013

Cornish Pasties

Right, before anyone chews my ear off over this recipe, let me just say two things A) I'm not cornish and B) As with most of 'my' recipes it's out of a recipe book. So not my fault.... Now that's out of the way, I can move on to what I really want to say about this recipe, the story more than anything interests me, it's also a very traditional English recipe according to my notes dating back to the 13th century..... Note worthy for a decent blog on it's history. I should say! Apparently it wasn't until the 18th - 19th century though, that the cornish pasty came into it's own, and all to do with the tin and copper miners. The story goes and I have no reason to believe it's not true, pasties were the ideal food for miners as they could take these pastry filled delights into the pits. It's said they were made with really thick pastry, so they were easy to carry - so they wouldn't break - but also the pastry would act as a kind of thermos - keeping it's contents warm, I suppose with the long days, hard work, the men would need something hearty to eat to keep their strength up.

True Cornish pasties have a really thick crimped edge so that the miners with their dirty hands could eat their lunch without it getting dirty or indeed in the tin mines, the miners may have had traces of arsenic on their hands. These "handles" would then get discarded. Some of the mines would have ovens to keep the pasties warm, but when no oven was available, the miners would simply stick the pasty on their shovel and heat it over an open flame. Traditionally the pasty would have been made with a shortcrust pastry, don't forget the shell would have had to have been really sturdy so that it didn't break or leak, whilst getting bashed about during the day.

Original Cornish pasties would have been filled with meat, potatoes, onion and swede, sometimes and this is the really cool bit that I have always found interesting, one end would have a savoury filling while the other end would have a sweet filling, dinner and pudding in one!!

Ok now the problem with this recipe, is the carrots, the mince/ground meat, the finely chopped vegetables - infact the article I read to ensure my facts were correct described this recipe as "Sacrilege" so in respect for the "Cornish Pasty" I'm changing the name of this recipe to simply a meat and veg pasty, because beside the fact this is NOT traditional and can't be passed off as being so, it is rather tasty.

Meat and Veggie Pasty (poor excuse for a Cornish Pasty)

1 finely chopped carrot (The offending ingredient)
1 finely chopped potato
1/4 finely chopped swede
1 small finely diced onion
100g cooked minced lamb or beef
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp mixed dried herbs
350g shortcrust pastry
a little oil for greasing
egg for glazing
Baked beans and brown sauce to serve

1. Preheat your oven to 200C/400F. Mix the prepared veggies with the meat some salt, pepper and the mixed herbs.

2. Roll out the pastry and cut into four 18cm (approx) squares or circles, which ever you prefer.

3. Spoon the filling into the centre of each, pastry square or circle, brush the edges with milk and draw up over the middle. Press the edges well together to seal, crimp the edge by squeezing between your forefinger and thumb.

4. Lightly grease a baking tray and then transfer the pasties to it, brush them with the egg to glaze.

5. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 180C/350F and bake for another 30 minutes.

Serve with the baked beans and brown sauce.

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