Cornwall has been coming up a lot lately.
First there was this (in Spain).
Then, when we had our English friend listen to a radio broadcast of some of the thickest Eastern Shore accent on record, she mentioned she could hear traces of Cornwall in it. I think that’s quite plausible. After all, there isn’t much lifestyle difference between being a Cornish fisherman and a Smith Island ‘woodermin’.
And, lastly, there has been Doc Martin. Even the patient who came in to see the Doc on account of a ‘bad pasty’ didn’t deter me from needing to taste one myself.
A pasty (pronounced PASS-tee…not to be confused with what you can find in tamer strip clubs) is really just a Hot Pocket. Rather, Hot Pockets ripped off the concept of the Cornish Pasty. According to our English friend, they were an invention of Cornish miners, who would eat the pasty with their bare hands, and discard whatever parts of the shell that got soiled. It’s a shame the fishermen didn’t eat these too, or we might have been able to just go get a famous Smith Island Pasty. So, after my Shooter’s Sandwich adventure, chalk this up to another episode of Dick Tries to Cook Weird, Meaty English Food.
The recipes online were all really simple. Make a dry stew with some simple spices thrown in, stuff that into a pie crust, and bake. The spices on all of the recipes weren’t even exotic. Just salt and pepper.
In the end, for me, it was just:
- stew beef
- turnip (this and all of the above cubed)
pepper (both black and white…I wanted to add marjoram, but I misplaced mine during prep)
Bake @ 450 for 10 minutes, then @ 350 for 35 minutes
To make it even simpler, most recipes give you permission to cheat and just use store-bought pie crust (the refrigerated kind that comes rolled-up). However, this was not actually the best idea, for several reasons you will see later.
Throw those together and you’ve got a massive pasty. Brushing over the closed pasty with egg (barring that, milk) gives the crust a little extra something.
And, now we see the problem with the store-bought crust. It was way too big for this purpose. Like an idiot, I stuffed them as big as I could, which was bad. It was also too crumbly and not doughy enough for this, and thus broke apart before, during, and after baking.
Still, this was one damned good hot meal. It’s got all the beef and potatoes needed to sustain this Grogan.
The 3rd pasty which I had to save to bake later held together, despite not being really any different. Still, watching Cornish grannies make these on Youtube led me astray. I should have just search the Internet for images on which to base the style. That’ll have to wait for next time, when I attempt making my own crust.