My family has deep roots in Northern Michigan and its rich mining tradition. The Pasty was a traditional savory meat pie that was cooked in the morning, wrapped up and placed in a tin, so that lunch would be warm for the miners. Initials that were placed in the pies crust were to tell the difference among the different mens pasties and the thick crust edges were so the miners dirty hands had a place to grab without getting their lunch covered with soot.
I have always had it served with ketchup, but in Quebec they serve it covered with brown gravy.The blend of beef and pork with sweetness of the rutabega really make this perfect rich fall dish. This is my kind of comfort food.
I often make it in classic pie form with two crusts.Today I made it in traditional form, but I have made them the size of a twinkie as well. The possibilities are endless. It is great to take for a potluck or tailgating. I usually serve a green salad with a tart vinaigrette to compliment this savory meat pie.
My mother remembers her gramma cutting a large amount of lard into flour and placing it into a huge crockery that went in the cellar. My grandmother would walk to the cellar in the morning to gather all the things that need to cook that day and would take a bowl with her. She knew exactly how many handfuls of the lard filled flour she need for what she was making that day. In the end, there seems to nothing flakier then a lard crust and my son is allergic to dairy, so lard it is.
Gramma Schuler’s Pasties:
1/2 pound small diced sirloin
1/2 pound small diced pork steak
1 cup russet potato, peeled and small diced
1 cup rutabega, peeled and small diced
1 cup onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper, to taste, be generous
1.Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Prepare Gramma’s Pie Crust in the quality you desire. Cover and let rest.
*Note: see crust recipe to see the correct quantity. Depending if you make your pasty in individual pies or in traditional pie form.
3. Mix all the ingredients in mixing bowl.
4. Roll out crust. Fill with meat mixture. Dab mixture with butter. Fold over top crust. Vent.
5. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.
Gramma’s Pie Crust:
1/3 cup lard
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup ice cold water
1. These ingredients make one nine-inch pie shell. If you are making a traditional pie, double the ingredients. If you are making four individual pies, triple the ingredients.
2. Sift the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Cut the lard and butter into the flour using a fork or cutter until the fat pieces are the size of peas.
3. Add water gradually, gently mixing with your hands until dough hold together. Do not overmix or the crust will be tough. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill before using.
Some of my earliest memories are how much I loved my grandmothers. My Gramma Schuler just shined. She loved her friends and was a fabulous cook. I just remember how much I felt loved by her. Here is to all the food memories that remind us of beautiful moments in our life. Here is to the food memories that teach us how our ancestors lived and let us know just a little more about ourselves.
Pull up a chair, Elizabeth