The Tradition of Meat Pies

Individual Meat Pies - Pasties Each and every culture tends to have a traditional meat pie, The Empanada of Spain, the Tamale of Mexico, the Gyro of Greece or the Samosa of the Indian Cuisine to name a few. ...

Individual Meat Pies - Pasties
Individual Meat Pies - Pasties

Each and every culture tends to have a traditional meat pie, The Empanada of Spain, the Tamale of Mexico, the Gyro of Greece or the Samosa of the Indian Cuisine to name a few.  Growing up we enjoyed a Slovenian tradition of Pasties.  These pockets included pork and beef along with potatoes, carrots and onions in a pastry dough.  I remember making these treats early in the mornings with my grandmother, my aunt and my mother and then serving these at dinner with a simple salad.  I remember my grandmother seasoned these heavily with garlic and she finished this mixture with a bit of red wine too.   While everyone claimed Pasties froze well, I preferred them best on the first serving.

Years have passed since my grandmother, aunt and mom created these meat pies.  I have since made these for my mother and her sister and the enjoyed bringing the memory alive.  As I have shared these treats with others, and they often ask where is the side of gravy?   Pasties are a  comfort food for me that I remember well.

I am a woman all about short-cuts in cooking or baking.  I have been known to use pre-made pastry or pie crust dough to make this even easier.  My grandmother would not approve of this substitution, but she would be pleased to know that this recipe has been passed down and continues to be enjoyed.

Knowing what I know now, I might also think to add in celery and more fresh herbs. My grandmother seasonings were salt and pepper and heavy garlic.  I think thyme would be my suggested addition along with some parsley to step-up the flavors.

Plate of Pasties – Out of the Oven
Plate of Pasties – Out of the Oven

Pasties – an updated recipe

Ingredients:

  • Three pounds of beef, a chuck roast works well for this recipe, trimmed and cut into cubes
  • Three pounds of pork shoulder trimmed and cut into cubes.  A pork loin roast is too lean for this recipe.
  • 1 – 1 ½  pound carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2  pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 – 5 onions, diced
  • 3 – 5 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 heads garlic, minced
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup parsley
  • Salt and Pepper
  • About 1/ 2 – 1 cup red wine
  • 4 packages refrigerated pie crusts – pre-made, this is my time saver.  You will get two 9 inch pie crusts in each box.

(Depending on how generous you make the pasties, you might need a 5th package of  pie crusts.  These freeze well if you have over-bought!)

Directions:

  1. Generously butter a 9 x 13 x 2 casserole dish.
  2. Prepare the meats, making the dices and cubes similar in size to the onions, potatoes, carrots and celery.
  3. Add the vegetables and the seasonings to the meats in a large bowl.  You want a good combination of meats and vegetables to each pastie.
  4. Start with ½ cup of wine, you just want this as a flavoring agent.  You want the filling to be moist.
  5. Note:  none of these ingredients for the filling are pre-cooked.
  6. Quarter each of the pre-made pie crusts.
  7. To each pie piece, add a large handful of the filling.
  8. Stretch the dough around the filling creating the pocket.
  9. Place seam sides down and set these pasties in a pan side-by-side.
  10. Dot the top of the pasties with butter.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees for about 60 – 70 minutes or until the pastry crusts are golden brown.  Your goal is that the top crust and the bottom crust is browned with the baking.
  12. Serve immediately.
  13. Side salad with a vinegar based dressing is my suggestion.

What is your traditional meat pie?