The Michigan pasty [pronounced pass-tee] made it’s debut back in the the mid 1800’s. History states it was brought here when Cornish miners immigrated to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [the part of our state which does not resemble a mitten]. The copper and iron miners would take these meat and potato filled hand pies for lunch. Down in the mines [legend has it] the miners reheated the pasties on shovels held over the candles worn on their hats. A hearty meal for hungry workers. Eventually, the Cornish version was adapted by Finnish immigrants [also miners], becoming more like the pasties we know today.
Traditionally, the pasty consists of a crust filled with diced potatoes, rutabagas, carrots, onions and ground beef. They can also be found veggie only, pork, chicken or turkey. These days, most people eat them with a side of ketchup or gravy.
Most recipes call for raw meat and vegetables tucked into the pastry, then baked for 1½ hours. I prefer to first roast the diced vegetables [until about ½ way done] and brown the meat and onions [draining excess fat/grease]. This allows a shorter bake time of about 40 minutes and a slightly more healthy version.
Double Pie Crust [your favorite recipe or refrigerated style store bought]
1½ pounds lean ground beef [90/10]
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup diced onion
2 parsnips, peeled & diced in ¼” cubes
2 carrots, peeled & diced in ¼” cubes
1 sweet potato, peeled & diced in ¼” cubes
1 russet potato, peeled & diced in ¼” cubes
1 turnip, peeled & diced in ¼” cubes
½ rutabaga, peeled & diced in ¼” cubes
Freshly ground pepper & salt
Olive oil [for veggie roasting]
1 egg, beaten lightly
•Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil; coat lightly with cooking spray.
•In a large skillet, combine the ground beef, mushrooms and onions; season generously with salt and pepper; cook over medium high heat until meat is cooked through. Drain excess fat and set skillet aside until ready to assemble the pasties.•Place the prepared parsnips, carrots, sweet potato, russet potato, turnip and rutabaga on prepared baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil; generously season with salt and pepper. Roast about 15-20 minutes, or just until you can almost pierce with a small knife.•Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
•Combine meat and vegetables into a large bowl, mix well and set aside.
•Divide dough into 8 equal portions. Roll into balls. Lightly flour your work surface and roll each ball into an approximate 7-inch circle. •Place about 1 cup of filling on dough, fold in half and seal edges. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Continue until all pasties are assembled. Cut 3 slits in tops of pasties [for steam to vent] and brush each lightly with the beaten egg.
•Bake for about 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand about 5 minutes. Serve with ketchup or brown gravy.
Yield 8 servings. 1 pasty = 1 serving.
Recipe adapted from the Cooking Channel.