Citizens, this post was inspired by a recent episode of Bizarre Foods, where host Andrew Zimmern visited the upper peninsula of Michigan. He profiled this recipe and it inspired your glorious leader to grace it with his benevolent attention!
The peninsula is bounded on the north by Lake Superior, on the east by the St. Marys River, on the southeast by Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, and on the southwest by Wisconsin.
The Upper Peninsula contains 29% of the land area of Michigan but just 3% of its total population. Large numbers of French Canadian, Finnish, Swedish, Cornish, and Italian immigrants came to the Upper Peninsula, especially the Keweenaw Peninsula, to work in the area’s mines and lumber industry.
Locals (known as Yoopers for “U.P.”, upper peninsula) are descended from Cornish and Finnish miners who settled the region during the mid 19th century when copper and iron were mined throughout the area.
As noted on ilovepasties.com:
The origin of the pasty (pronounced Pass-Tee) can be traced back to Cornwall, England. Before leaving their homes to work in the tin mines, Cornish workers made a hot pasty. The miners placed this versatile food in their pockets, which provided both warmth and nourishment for the miner. The traditional pasty consisted of meat, potatoes, onions, seasoning (and in some cases turnips), which was wrapped in a crust and baked.
Because of the threat of arsenic poisoning, the miners often ate the “body” of the pasty, while discarding the “crimp,” or outer edge of the pasty which they held with their dirty fingers. The miners believed, however, that the pasty crimp was not wasted but instead left to appease “knockers,” or ghosts within the tunnels of the mines.
When the tin mining industry declined, Cornish miners immigrated to other parts of the world to continue mining. One of these areas was the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and parts of Wisconsin. It was here that Cornish miners worked in the copper and iron ore mines.
Other ethnic groups, including Finns, Italians, and Poles, adapted the pasty recipe to include ingredients that satisfied their tastes. While the recipe may vary among nationalities, it can be agreed upon that the pasty should contain potatoes and onions.
Citizens, I also specify finely-diced meats (beef and pork) as opposed to the ground meats used in most modern pasties. Diced is how the original recipe was done.
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup beef suet, ground fine combined with ¼ cup leaf lard (if necessary, substitute equal amounts of Crisco)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons cold water
- 1 pound top round beef, cut into ¼” dice
- ½ pound pork shoulder, cut into ¼” dice
- 5 medium-sized Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into thin irregular-shaped “chips”
- ½ rutabaga, peeled and cut into ¼” dice
- 1 large onion, peeled and cut into ¼” dice
- Minced Fresh Parsley and Minced Fresh Sage in a 2:1 ratio (TFD ADDITION: optional but recommended)
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper (TFD ADDITION)
- Ketchup to serve
- Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the lard and suet with a pastry blender until it resembles pea sized crumbs.
- Add in the water all at once and mix with a spoon or fork until you have a clump of dough. It will be moist. Add in a little bit of flour to make it pliable and soft, if needed.
- Flour a cutting board. Take out a small fist size of dough and roll it out, about ¼ thick. Try to make it in an oval shape.
- Combine potatoes, salt to taste and pepper, rutabaga, and chopped onion. Add beef and pork mixture. Season again, adding parsley and sage to taste.
- Take a 1 cup measure of the uncooked meat filling and place it on one side of the dough. Add 1 tsp. of butter on top of the filling, then fold the pastry over with your hands and crimp the edges so they don’t come apart.
- Repeat for the rest of the pasties and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pierce each pasty 3 times with a knife to vent steam.
- Bake in a 375F oven for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. Either eat immediately or let cool, then wrap with tinfoil and place in freezer-safe bags and store in the freezer.
- Serve with ketchup, as the Yoopers do. TFD confesses to sneaking a few shakes of Tabasco into his ketchup when no one is looking.
- Category: Recipes
- Calories: 1418.11 kcal
- Sugar: 6.15 g
- Sodium: 743.26 mg
- Fat: 77.89 g
- Saturated Fat: 40.52 g
- Trans Fat: 0.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 127.41 g
- Fiber: 10.8 g
- Protein: 51.59 g
- Cholesterol: 170.63 mg
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