Ok, easy to make, but somewhat boring. I mean, VERY boring. I have a long-standing interest in making recipes simple to use if possible. In this case, that meant I bought pre-made pie crusts (Pilsbury), precut and half-cooked potatoes and onions, and some other quick-to-use items as a way to make this a quick process.
I used one small ‘rutabaga,’ or turnip, and minced it fairly small, my wife doesn’t like turnips very much. I also used my grater to make quick work of the carrot, it saves time, it’s safer than chopping the carrot up with one of my knives when I’m running on 10 hours sleep over three days, and the cooked results are impossible for the wife to pick out of her food.
After combining the potatoes, carrots, turnip and ground beef, I added some sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Using the pre-made pie crusts like this works very well for a lot of recipes, I don’t like the pre-made, pre-formed pie crusts, the ones in the disposable pie tins, because they’re usually a lot drier and often broken. The Pilsbury ones are very nice, sealed, and just need brought up to room temperature to be perfectly workable.
One of the things I learned is to pay more attention to the meat and vegetable ratio in mixing the filling. I was VERY tired this morning when I got off of work, and since I was trying to modify the recipes I’d read over the weekend, I didn’t even think about measuring and balancing the stuffing mix. I ended up adding too little meat, not by a large margin, but I could have had about a quarter pound more meat. The grocery store didn’t have any ground pork this morning, and with my lack of sleep I didn’t feel like buying pork and grinding it (though usually I like doing that) so the filling was just a little lacking in flavor.
As a final note on the filling, by failing to measure the ingredients, I ended up with a bit more than I could use for four pasties, which lead to me overstuffing the last two pasties a bit, and still having a handful left over to pan fry for an eggs-and-hash breakfast while the pasties were cooking.
Stuffing the pasties is straightforward – lay out your 9″ dough, put your filler on one half, leaving plenty of room to crimp the edges, fold, brush the edge with water and crimp. Afterwards, I cut three vent holes in the top of each pasty and baked at 350′ for an hour. One thing I should mention that I forgot at this point: most of the recipes called for adding a tablespoon of butter to the filling before folding and crimping, and I forgot to add the butter. Luckily, halfway through baking, I remember this, and the vent holes I cut were large enough for me to put a cut piece of margarine in the top of each without much trouble.
I should point out that my long-term intention here is to make this recipe MINE. I want to be able to say “Ok, I’ve got odds and ends in the fridge… how about a chicken and broccoli Pasty with cheese sauce?” or “Time to make some venison sausage pasties to take to hunting camp.” The base recipe I’m using is just to get myself used to the process and iron out any issues I could have later, and it worked perfectly to accomplish those points.
The end results were decent – two of the tops split, probably because I tried to overstuff the last two so I wouldn’t have any stuffing left over. I think these needed cheese, a bit more meat or a mix of meats, and possibly some more onion.
When I make pot roast, I always have a lot of left overs, quite on purpose I should add. I make a lovely pot roast hash with eggs and sourdough toast the next day, or simply reheat the leftovers. In this case, I’ve found a nearly perfect use for leftover pot roast. Use some of the broth to make a savory gravy and use chopped potatoes, celery, carrots and roast with just enough gravy to bind it together in pasties.
I could do the same with turkey, chicken, venison, etc. etc. These show promise. I know this isn’t rocket science, or some rare meat in aspic with truffles, but the entire point is to have PRACTICAL recipes to both make food and life more interesting, and to use left overs more efficiently, since unless it’s my lasagna, my wife shuns leftovers. (She’d fight the Avengers for my lasagna. She’d probably win, too.)
I’ll close up by saying this: the end result of my experiment was edible, but boring. When I woke up this afternoon, I reheated one of the pasties after pouring part of a jar of ‘Savory Beef Gravy’ over it, with a bit of Chipotle Tabasco on top, and that was fantastic. So, adding a bit of gravy saved the day.