In the mid-to-late 1990’s I lived in Southwest England and Southern Wales. This was during the height of the Spice Girls and David Beckham had just started his career with Manchester United. I left not long after Princess Di passed away. Although that was over 20 years ago, I still love and miss the UK to this day.
One surefire way to take me back to that time and place that I love is through food. But coming by proper fish n chips, a good kebab, or even mint sauce can be tough to do on this side of the pond.
Thankfully I’ve managed to nail one frugal food recipe: the tasty pasty (Sadly that doesn’t rhyme. It’s pronounced “pass – tee”), and I’m going to share my favorite recipe with you!
Table of Contents
DIGGING FOR GOLD (or tin)
A frugal food from days of yore is the Cornish Pasty. It was the go-to lunch of the working man. Cornish tin miners would haul pasties down into the mines for lunch. It was their way of brown bagging it. The unique shape of a proper pasty (it should be shaped like a D) along with a thick crust which doubled as a handle, made the pasty cheap, portable, filling, and most importantly – delicious!
Thankfully I’m not headed into a mine each day, but but I am brown bagging it more than ever with the help of frugal foods like the pasty that I can pre-make, freeze, then grab as I’m on my way out the door. They’re easy to make, easy to take and so good to eat!
I usually make pasties a few times each year and recently, as I was making a dozen of them, I realized the pasty deserves a spot in my small, but growing, Frugal Foods section of this blog. So here’s my recipe – if you want to give these a go, here’s what you’ll need.
CORNISH PASTY INGREDIENTS
- 4-6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (russet potatoes work well also)
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2 carrots
- 1 medium rutabaga (or turnip)
- 1 lb. pork steak or chuck steak
- Salt & pepper
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 Cup of shortening
- 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 8 Tbsp milk (or water)
- Aluminum foil (if you plan to freeze any)
As you can see, none of the ingredients are expensive. Even pork steak and chuck steak are affordable meats. Everything else is probably already in your kitchen, or available for a few bucks at your grocery store.
CORNISH PASTY FILLING INSTRUCTIONS
Don’t let my picture of all the ingredients throw you off. I decided to make both steak and pork pasties, so what you see above is double what you actually need. For the filling, you’re going to dice everything, including your meat, into medium cubes. Salt and pepper to taste, mix everything together then cover and refrigerate until your crust is done.
Allow me to throw in a plug for this French Fry Cutter. I absolutely LOVE this thing and use it whenever I can. In the case of these pasties, dicing eight potatoes could have taken a while, but it was a breeze with my cutter. In this picture you can see how a potato is reduced to french fries in about one second. Then all I have to do is dice. It’s easy to use, and oddly fun as well.
I also used my cutter to chop the carrots, rutabaga, and onions.
CORNISH PASTY CRUST INSTRUCTIONS
A good pasty crust should be flaky and delicious. To do that, mix 1 teaspoon of salt with your all-purpose flour. Next cut in your shortening until your mixture looks like small beads. Finally, add in 7 to 8 tablespoons of milk (or water) until you’ve got a dough, then refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes.
CORNISH PASTY ASSEMBLY INSTRUCTIONS
Alight, by now you’ve diced your potatoes, rutabaga (or turnip), carrots, onion, and meat. You’ve also made your dough and let it chill for 20 minutes. Now it’s time to bring it all together.
Separate your dough into six equal sized balls. Each ball will be rolled out until it’s about 8 to 10 inches round.
Next, scoop one heaping cup of filling onto your dough. Put a pat of butter on top then salt and pepper to taste. Finally, fold the dough over and pinch to seal it all shut.
TIP: wet the edges of your dough with your finger before folding. The moisture will make the dough stick together much better.
COOKING YOUR CORNISH PASTIES
After you’ve filled and sealed each pasty, put them on a cookie sheet and bake in your oven at 400 degrees for one hour, or until your crust is golden brown.
- If you’re going to eat these right away, let them cool for 10 minutes first. The filling inside is piping hot! You should probably let them cool if you’re going to wrap them in foil for freezing as well.
- I like to eat my pasty as-is, but if you insist on ruining them you can top with gravy or ketchup.
- To reheat a frozen pasty, wrap one in a paper towel and microwave for 2-2:30 minutes.
A warm pasty is my way of being transported back to England. Give this and try and let me know how it goes!
Normally convenience is something we pay greatly for, but this is an example of how we can make convenience work in our favor. I usually spend small fortune by eating out at work, but thanks to meals like the pasty, or my steak and egg burritos, I can easily grab my lunch and go.
Can you see yourself making a pasty? Have you ever had one before? Are you going to give it a try or pass on this?
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