I guess I'm never really all that happy about my blog unless I blog about food. Plus, I watched Julie & Julia again tonight and it always puts me in a bloggy mood.
Luckily, I can offer you not only food...but PHOTOS of food, which is always exciting!
So, on we go...
This, for the uninitiated, is a pasty. Pronounced not as "pay-stee", but as "pah-stee"...at least in my family.
According to popular tradition, pasties come from the British Isles where miners would take them as lunches. They were filled with a stew-like mix of meat, veggies, potatoes, and a gravy, and packed into tough pastry that was rolled into turnovers. This made them easy to hold and transport, kept the hands warm, and kept the coal dust out of the food. Common tales insist that miners would discard the pastry after eating the stuff inside, mostly because it was dirty from their coal-covered hands but also as a sort of offering to the mean little sprites living underground that might lead an unsuspecting miner to danger. Apparently, mean little underground sprites like coal-dust-covered, second-hand pastry. Who knew?
My parents made a delicious pork roast the other night, swimming in onions and pepper and other such delights. With the leftover pork, my mom requested pasties. (And yes, for those playing along at home, it is NOT a REAL pasty if the ingredients are pre-cooked before going into the pastry. Thank you for pointing that out. Next time remind me not to link back to Wikipedia.)
I had never made pasties before. I made little venison pies a few weeks ago, which turned out alright but not perfect, so I was a little hesitant.
But digging in my Irish cookbooks I found a recipe for pastry dough that knocked my Connemara wool socks off (flour, butter, AND heavy cream.....what?!) and suddenly I had to try it.
Pork, peas, garlic (from the farmer's market), a gigantic fingerling potato (also farm-fresh), a carrot, some leek, canned mushrooms (we can't have everything we want, now can we?) and a whole lot of cooking sherry. My very first roux (!!) thickened it up nicely, and some dried thyme and black pepper gave it a little zip.
Granted, by the end it was not the desired consistency. I was hoping for more distinct pieces in a sort of gravy, but I added the pork meat WAY too early and it turned into carnita-like shreds by the time I was ready to stuff the pastry.
Boo and bother, it didn't matter one bit. Because they were DELICIOUS. Especially with some HP Sauce and some of my mom's famous salad.
Notice that the HP Sauce has not moved much...but the pasty, broccoli, and tomatoes (in the salad) have all mysteriously vanished. It's uncanny, really.
In the end, I am full of goodness. Happily sipping chamomile tea while I surf the Internet for things I will probably never buy but enjoy looking at anyway.
Incidentally, this is cute.