Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Pasties

Now, before you get worried that I'm going to chronicle a Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl sort of moment, let me clarify: a pasty - here in the UK - isn't primarily thought of as the sparkly, occasionally tasseled sticker that covers your nipples in case you're hoping to accidentally-on-purpose flash someone. No, usually, we're thinking of a tasty puff pastry pocket surrounding some form of meat and gravy, possibly even with a few vegetables and cheese thrown in.

No, not these...
(via, BBC)
...much better. (via, Wikipedia)

In fact, I'll go one step farther and make sure for the rest of this post to refer to them explicitly as Cornish pasties. Though ours had about as little to do with Cornwall as is possible for a Cornish pasty.

New Year's Eve was a night we were planning on spending (and in fact did spend) with our friends Tom and Kerri. Their little girl is probably E's best friend, and so we were looking forward to letting the kids spend some time together while the five adults hung out, played games, ate tasty food, and enjoyed a midnight toast. Since Tom and Kerri were hosting, the Husband and I volunteered to bring food.

As ever, we're a last-minute lot in this house, and so at 2 in the afternoon, we were putting together a shopping list and desperately casting our minds about for ideas. Ironically, the Pinterest board I've compiled for such occasions was proving more of a mental block than a springboard for great ideas. Then, somehow, the three of us managed to stumble upon the idea of making up cinnamon buns and mini Cornish pasties.

As the cinnamon buns would take care of themselves (and here, at least, Pinterest was useful with its cream cheese frosting recipe), we turned our attention to concocting 3 variations of Cornish pasty filling.

Our final recipes? From left to right: Cheesy Bacon & Chive, Cheese & Taco, and BBQ Chicken & Potato. All three were huge hits once completed. Thankfully, we still have some of the stuffings and a bit of puff pastry, so there will be a revival of these things later in the week. For now, though, I'll just share the recipes for the fillings. All you have to do once you've cooked up any of these is to put a dollop in a small square of puff pastry, pinch up the edges, and cook in your oven at about 200*C (or 380*F) for 10-15 minutes.

Cheesy Bacon & Chive

  • Chop a handful of chive into small pieces. Set aside.
  • Pan fry one package of bacon rashers. Chop into small pieces & set aside.
  • In a pan, melt 4-6 tbls butter and add an equal amount of flour. Stir together to make a roux.
  • Add 2/3-1 cup shredded cheddar and a few oz of milk. Stir over medium heat until cheese melts & everything combines nicely.
  • Lower heat and add the chive & bacon.
  • Put in puff pastry, bake and enjoy!
Cheese & Taco
  • Go back in the blog to where I detail my recipe for taco seasoning.
  • Mix up seasoning, add to beef browning in pan.
  • Once beef has browned, add the fake cheese of your choice and melt together.
  • Put in puff pastry, bake & enjoy!
BBQ Chicken & Potato
  • Grate 3-4 medium sized potatoes like when preparing hash browns. (I use a box grater for this)
  • Heat oil in a pan and fry the grated potatoes.
  • Halfway through frying, add 1 packet precooked chicken and continue to fry.
  • Add dry BBQ seasoning or Blackened Cajun seasoning to the chicken & potatoes. (Also, a pinch of salt, if you feel it necessary)
  • When the desired level of crispness is reached, turn off heat and add a small amount (maybe 1-2 tbls) of BBQ sauce. Stir in.
  • Put in puff pastry, bake, & enjoy!

If you're looking for something fun but easy as an option for hors d'oeuvres, a potluck, a munch-n-mingle, a Super Bowl party (or World Cup, or Six Nations...), or any other less-than-formal get together, I highly recommend these. They don't take much skill (or time), but the end result is fabulous. I promise, you don't have to admit to any of your guests how easy they were to make. That can be our secret.

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