Hei nainen and mies! And that is all the Finnish you get for the day. It is likely that it doesn't even make any grammatical sense (and do please ignore the English word in there...doesn't exist...), however, I do not claim proficiency in the Suomi language.
Okay, okay, meanwhile, back in the Batcave - I'm here today to talk about the dinner I'm cooking in the oven. Oh I wish you could even just get a whiff of it! It is delightful. This recipe comes from my 99 year-old grandmother. She got this recipe from her husband (who, presumably, got it from his mother). Beyond that, I know not it's source. But if you know what a Yooper is, THAT is the source.
For all of you who just think I just made up a weird word, no, no, no. I did not. Well, not this time, anyway. A Yooper is a person from Michigan's Upper Penninsula. The name comes from what we call the Upper Penninsula here - it's called the "U.P." (yoo-pee), thus, the inhabitants are called "Yoopers". Yoopers are special people. They like snow. My grandfather was a Yooper and brought this recipe with him when he moved away from that snowy, 2-tracked world.
What is this food of such historical significance? I shall tell you. It is a pasty.
This food is so beloved and so tied in with the identity of those who live in the area that the area of Calumet in the U.P. even has a Pasty Festival in June. Pasties were also adopted and tied to the large Finnish population that came to that area. I looked to see if I could find the source of where pasties came from, and there is also a town in western England (Cornwall) that swears they've got the market on pasties - apparently there is even a "PGI" on it - a protected geographical indication (you know how like true balsamic vinegar only truly comes from Modena and champagne really only comes from that area in France, yeah, that.). BUT, to put in for my Yooper heritage, if you go to pasty.com, it's a U.P. website shipping pasties anywhere (you should try one).
I grew up eating this dinner and you know that whenever you grow up doing something, you think it's pretty normal and everyone must do it, even if NO ONE does. This is one of the reasons that I thought it perfectly normal that at my parent's cottage that it had carpet on the floors as well as the ceilings. Normal. See, told ya. It was cold up there and probably the people who had lived there before us must have been carpet salesmen...or...some...thing...?
Batcave, Daisy, get back in the Batcave.
Yes, ahem. So. Anyway, even though carpet on the ceiling is weird (I do know that now), this meal is very un-weird and is just totally delicious.
So, what exactly is a pasty? It is basically an individual pie made of dinner-ish items. The recipe I have is a meat and veggie mix in a wonderful pastry shell. If you're going to have a proper pasty, it must by pure definition include rutabaga. Other veggies in my pasty are carrots, potatoes, and onions. You salt and pepper them and dump them into a bowl all cut up (when they're about the same size, they cook evenly and your life is better). Then you mix in (by hand) uncooked meat. My grandmother's recipe calls for ground sirloin. I happened to read up on the history of pasties and back in the 13th century in England, they were made with venison. They are recorded throughout history in random places (almost all accounts from England) and even Jane, Henry VIII's favorite wife, sent him one and wrote that she hoped it got to him in better condition than the last one that she sent.
If Henry liked it, well, then...it must be good! (Let's not go blanket on that statement lest we include beheading spouses, I'm just here to support the pasties.)
So you've got to try it. Make a simple pastry crust recipe (flour, salt, butter and ice water). Chop veggies like it's going out of style: potatoes, yellow onions, rutabaga, and carrots. Make them all relatively the same size and dash them with salt and pepper. Dump in some meat (may I recommend grass-fed, please?) and mix away. After you roll out your dough, make six (or however many you intended) and fill them up with your veggie/meat combo. Roll the dough over and make them in the shape of a D, crimping the edges. Bake at 375F for 10 minutes then at 350F for 60 minutes.
Eat with ketchup and ask how you went this long without them.
Peace, love and pasties,