A pasty is a main dish in which meat, vegetables and other ingredients are placed on a circle of pastry dough, which is then folded over, crimped and baked. The traditional Cornish pasty consists of chopped meat, potato, rutabaga and onions, and originated in Cornwall in the southwest of England, where tin miners' wives baked the handheld meals for their husbands to take into the mines to eat at lunchtime. Since that time, many other varieties of pasty fillings have emerged, and they are often covered with a gravy that is compatible with the filling.
Chicken and Turkey Pasties
A healthy choice in pasty filling, chicken and turkey bring versatility to pasty making. A filling similar to a chicken or turkey pot pie offers a savoury meal, and is matched with a gravy made from thickened chicken broth. Creamy chicken and green chilli pasties with cheddar cheese and garlic are served with a savoury gravy enhanced by sour cream and additional chillies. Pour your favourite sweet and sour sauce over a pasty filled with chicken, onion, garlic and peppers. To create a particularly fancy pasty, use a chicken or turkey filling with tarragon and shallots, enclose in puff pastry and then serve with a cream gravy that has tarragon and shallots.
Beef, Pork and Lamb Pasties
Create comfort food by adding carrots and potatoes to a chopped beef filling and serving it with a brown gravy. Shred a little pork and add a touch of salsa to the filling, then add a bit more salsa to a tomato gravy and pour it over the cooked pork pasty. Leftover roast beef makes a tasty pasty filling when combined with Swiss cheese; dress it with a creamy horseradish gravy. The same creamy gravy works well with a pasty stuffed with chopped corned beef, potatoes and carrots. Make it with lamb or mutton and add a bit of rosemary for a portable Irish stew. Surround a bit of leftover meat loaf with mashed potatoes and seal inside the pasty dough served with a mustard, brown sugar and tomato sauce gravy.
The healthiest pasties are those made entirely of vegetables. Mix together or layer your choice of cooked, shredded cabbage, peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots or greens. Fortify the vegetables with cooked lentils or chickpeas and serve with a creamy yoghurt curry sauce. Create a savoury mushroom filling by combining your favourite types of mushrooms with gruyere cheese and garlic. Layer asparagus tips on top of this and serve with a creamy garlic and cheese sauce.
When it comes to sweet pasties, any type of fruit pie filling works. Sweet pasties are very similar to fried pies, the difference being is that they are baked just as any other type of pasty. The simplest fillings are apple, blueberry, cherry or peach pie laced with your choice of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cardamom or almond extract; pour a vanilla sauce over these while still warm. Mix orange marmalade, orange and lemon zest, golden raisins and chopped walnuts for a citrusy dessert pasty, combine confectioners' sugar with lemon juice and drizzle over the pasty while still hot -- the sauce will set up as the pasty cools, creating a hard sugar glaze.
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