Meat Pasties with Rutabaga

from BRFM Volunteer Jinny Bastianelli

Pronounced pass-tees, the tasty little meat hand pies were brought to the Upper Peninsula (the U.P.) by miners from Cornwall. Cornish pasties were a convenient way to take a meal for the day – meat and potatoes wrapped in pastry and ready to eat without utensils. My father-in-law grew up in the U.P. and my husband spent summers there as a child. We took our children there every summer to enjoy the woods and lakes, and the Italian and Polish food including pasties! Now I make them for my family whenever I can, especially when rutabagas are in season.


For Pastry:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra as needed
  • 2/3 cup ice water, plus extra as needed
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup shortening or lard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Or do what I usually do and get store-bought pie dough.

For Filling:

  • 8 oz. ground beef (or skirt steak, finely chopped)
  • 1 medium rutabaga,* oeeled and diced (about 1 full cup)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped (less if dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped (less if dried)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • brown mustard, garnish (optional)

The original Cornish recipe calls for a russet potato, a small turnip, and a large carrot. One good-sized rutabaga takes the place of all of them with the mild starchiness of the potato, the tang of the turnip, and the sweetness of the carrot.


For Pastry:

  1. Mix flour and salt together before adding in cold, cubed butter.
  2. Pulse for 10-15 seconds, until mixture is crumbly and butter is the size of small pebbles.
  3. Slowly drizzle in 2/3 cup ice water and pulse until dough ball begins to form. Note: if mixture is too dry, add more ice water, 1-2 teaspoons at a time.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a large, flat rectangle.
  5. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30-45 minutes, or until chilled.

For Filling:

  1. While dough chills, combine beef with rutabaga, onion, and garlic and season generously with salt and pepper, thyme and rosemary.
  2. Preheat oven to 400º F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Remove dough from refrigerator and cut it into 6 equal pieces. On a floured surface, roll each piece out to an 8-inch circle.
  4. Spoon 1/2-2/3 cup beef mixture into the center of dough, top with 1/2 tablespoon butter.
  5. Take far edge of dough circle and fold over the beef, to form a half moon.
  6. Seal edges with a fork and repeat with remaining pasties.
  7. Transfer to lined baking sheet and brush the tops of dough with beaten egg.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned, then lower oven temperature to 350º F and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

My boys love them hot out of the oven, warmed up for breakfast, or cold late at night or any time they feel the craving. I also make a full pie sometimes with the same filling and serve slices of it with a nice side salad for supper.

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