Pastry Week

Savory Meat Pastries

This week’s challenge is about pastry!  Short crust pastry, puff pastry, yeast pastry…but filling it with savory goodness instead of sweet.

The first challenge is a meaty pastry and I thought I’d start with shepherd’s pie pasties (my favorite!), and I think it’ll be fairly easy and delicious.  I’m betting I can get the big kid to eat a lot of them, and possibly the skinny boy.  The middle kid won’t have anything to do with them, I’ll tell you that.

I found this recipe here, which is exactly what I want to do.

First you make your rough puff pastry from the recipe here, except again, I used plain flour instead of strong flour, and you don’t need anywhere near as much as 150 ml of water.  Mix up and chill.  Roll out, fold in thirds, quarter turn, repeat, wrap in cling film and chill.  Roll out some more…and chill some more…

Then make the filling.

  • 1 onion (I used a sweet Walla Walla)
  • 2 T olive oil or butter (I used butter–it makes more sense for an English dish)
  • 1 lb. ground beef or lamb (technically lamb makes a shepherd’s pie; beef makes a cottage pie)
  • 400 ml (2 cups) beef stock
  • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups old mashed potatoes or diced hash browns
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • salt & pepper

The original recipe called for a couple tablespoons of sundried tomatoes, and I used a bit of tomato paste, but I didn’t care for it in the end.  It kinda ended up with a spaghetti-like flavor, which is not what you’re aiming for with traditional English cuisine; probably would have been enhanced by using the olive oil.  I say skip it.

Dice onion and saute in butter for about 5 minutes, then add beef/lamb and cook for 15 minutes.  Add the beef stock, Worcestershire and seasonings, and simmer until most of the liquid is gone…20-30 minutes.  Add peas and hash browns and let warm through.  Stir, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Roll out the pastry and cut into 16 equal size squares.

Roll out thin, fill with a couple tablespoons of filling, fold over and crimp.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes.

They turned out OK–the seams burst a little bit and I would recommend using two pans and spread them out a bit (I ran out of parchment paper here, so I tried to cram them all onto one pan–it was undercooked where they touched.

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