Welcome to week 26 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome the state of Michigan, who joined the union on January 26, 1837. Michigan is divided into two land areas, known as the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. The Mackinaw Bridge connects the Upper Peninsula to the rest of the state, and is one of the world’s longest suspension bridges, spanning five miles.
First, I apologize for not posting a new recipe last week. Wait, I actually am not sorry that I missed last Tuesday, because I was on vacation in beautiful Lake Tahoe with my family. What a gorgeous place on this planet. There is not a whole lot to dislike about Lake Tahoe, unless you hate snow. I happen to love snow, and even got back into a pair of skis and hit the slopes after 30 years.
Lake Tahoe from the Heavenly Gondola.
And traveling makes me remember a family trip I took with my parents and sister to Michigan when I was 10 or 11. We were a camping family, so it was all about packing up the trailer and the long ride to wherever we were headed. This particular summer trip took us to a number of places, but I specifically remember Michigan because we visited the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn and the Kellogg factory in Battle Creek. I actually just spent the last ½ hour looking for a picture of my sister and me standing in front of a statue of Tony the Tiger. Couldn’t find it for the life of me. But it would have looked sort of like this shot of the building with a statue in front of it and two 70s styled girls smiling away. I think we got little boxes of cereal after the tour. Probably Sugar Frosted Flakes, because we didn’t deny the sugar back then. What fun.
Now Michigan has had some rough times in recent history, and Detroit is no longer the first place you think when someone mentions cars, but it is known as the car capitol of the world. It is also the birthplace of Motown, where some of the best music ever was created. Back to my childhood… Jackson Five anyone?
So although I have never been back to Michigan since my childhood, I do have a warm fuzzy spot for the state and it was fun to look back on my younger days while searching for a new recipe this week.
On to food. This state’s recipe sort of fell in my lap several weeks ago and I stopped looking as soon as I read about it. It is from the Upper Peninsula and it is called the Michigan Pasty. I was taught that the proper pronunciation is PASS-TEE, and they actually are linked back to the Cornish Pasty from Cornwall England, dating back to the 1700 – 1800s. They were a popular lunch item, as they were potable and would keep pockets warm for several hours. They could be reheated on the blade of a shovel over a fire, or even eaten cold. The Michigan version arrived with Cornish immigrants who worked in the Northern Michigan copper mines.
They take a bit of work, but they were not hard to make. The end result is a hearty meat pie, with a flaky crust and a tasty filling. I was surprised that the only seasonings were salt and pepper, but the root vegetables flavored everything nicely and there really is no need for anything else. The recipe makes 5-6 Pasties, and one is very filling. Josh thought they were really good, and is probably going to take one for lunch tomorrow. A real winner of a dish, I give this a solid A. I would make these again.
Thanks Michigan! It was a nice walk down memory lane for me, and a mighty fine dish too. See you next time in Florida!
Recipe for Michigan Pasties (adapted from theyoopergirl.com)
For the crust
3 cups flour
¾ cups Crisco shortening
½ cup unsalted butter, chilled
½ cup cold water
1 tsp salt
For the filling
1 ½ pounds ground beef (I used 85/15)
4 cups of 1/2 inch cubed peeled potatoes
1 cup of 1/4 inch chopped onions
1/2 cup of 1/4 inch chopped rutabagas
1/2 cup of finely chopped carrots
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening and butter with a pastry blender until it resembles pea sized crumbs. Add in the water all at once and mix with your hands until you have a clump of dough. Do not over mix it or your crust will be tough. If it is too wet, add in a little bit of flour to make it pliable and soft, if needed. Divide the dough into 6 equal size balls and refrigerate until ready to use.
In another large bowl, add in all the chopped veggies. Add in the meat, salt, and pepper, and mix it all together with your hands.
Flour a cutting board. Take out the first ball of dough and roll it out, about 1/4 thick. Try to make it in an oval shape.
Take a 1 cup measure of the uncooked meat filling and place it on one side of the dough. Dampen the edge, then fold it 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 or Silipat. Bake in a 375°F oven for 45-50 minutes. Eat immediately or let cool and store in refrigerator.