Thursday, May 4

The U.P. Pasty

The hubby and I love to travel and although we take an occasional week long trips, my favorite trips are just 3-day weekend adventures. Living in Ohio we are centrally located near numerous beautiful states with lots to see and explore.

One of our favorite states to spend a weekend in is Michigan. There are tons of lighthouses, wineries, bodies of water and beaches, ATV and snowmobile trails, historic sites, beautiful scenery, and tree lined winding roads.

A couple other trips we have taken to Michigan are Holland, Michigan's Tulip Festival, and a Lake Superior Circle Tour Camping Trip.

On one summer weekend trip, while touring wineries,  we stopped at a little roadside vegetable stand and diner. We noticed many signs advertising “pasties” (pronounced pass-tee) as we came into town, but were just not sure what they were.
We ordered one at this little roadside diner and I fell in love!
Of course, I had to immediately talk to the cook and get the entire 411 on Pasties!

Old photo of miners eating pasties

Cornish miners originally brought the pasty to the U.P. (Michigan's Upper Peninsula), and it wasn't long before others including the Finnish were making them too. These little hand held meat and veggie pies were created by the wives so the miners had a quick and easy way to eat lunch while working in the mines.

Miners on break, eating Pasty

Many old photographs show that pasties were wrapped in bags made of paper or muslin and eaten from end-to-end. According to the earliest Cornish recipe book, this is "the true Cornish way" to eat a pasty”
Today, the pasty is the food most associated with Cornwall. It is regarded as the national dish and accounts for 6% of the Cornish food economy.

Start with Carrots, Onions, Potatoes and Rutabaga

Even though the pasty was brought to the United States via Michigan's U.P. many many years ago, we couldn't find any in the lower part of the state on this trip.
And a little travel tip here, the first time I was in the U.P I mistakenly called some Yoopers  Michiganites, and boy was I quickly corrected. “We are not from Michigan, we are from the U.P. “ I was told.

A favorite homemade flaky pie crust recipe is best or purchase pre-made

Tips and Suggestions For Making a Pasty:

We were told by many Yoopers that a pasty is not really a pasty unless it has rutabaga in it.

I also learned that it's customary to eat ketchup over the pasty. I for one am not a big fan of ketchup but give it a try yourself.
And if ketchup is not your thing, some Yoopers pour gravy over the meat pies, something else I personally do not do.

As for the crust, you'll need a really good and delicious pie crust, the crust is key. The pasties we fell in love with in the U.P. had a crust that was reminiscent of my mother's homemade pie crust it was that delicious. (And I'm of the opinion there are no pie crusts like my mother's!)

Roll a ball of pie crust dough into a circle

I'll leave you to choosing your own favorite crust recipe, but just like fruit pie or a pizza, the crust makes the pie.

If you are in a hurry, a pre-made pie crust works well with this recipe.

I sometimes just shred the carrots and do not precook before putting them into the pasty.

A traditional pasty has meat, diced rutabaga, potatoes, carrots, onion, and seasoning.  
Pasties also traditionally have roast beef meat instead of ground meat, but many people in the U.P. make them with ground beef these days. 
I like using half ground beef and half ground sausage for added flavor.

Place meat and veggie mixture onto crust, then add a cube or two of butter. 

Pasty Recipe


Pie crust dough
1 rutabaga, peeled and cubed (some call it a turnip)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ pound ground beef
½ pound sausage, regular or Italian
1 onion, peeled and chopped
Garlic salt to taste, optional
Ground black pepper to taste
1 to 2 teaspoons of parsley 
1 -2 Tablespoon Italian seasoning, optional
Real Butter (don't be afraid of butter)

Pinch or roll the edges of the crust to seal


Cook meat, carrots, rutabaga, potatoes and onion just until partly done and a little tender. 
Some recipes say you do not have to cook the meat first, but there's a lot of grease if you don't. Drain meat and vegetable mixture.
Place meat mixture in a large bowl and let cool slightly. Add seasonings to taste and mix well.

Place pasties on a buttered baking sheet

Let mixture sit and meld together while mixing and rolling out your favorite recipe for the pie crust dough.
Divide the pie dough into 6 to 8 equal balls. Place a ball of dough on a floured surface and roll into a circle about 1/8 inch thick.
Place a large spoonful of meat mixture onto the crust and add a dab or two or three
of butter. Fold crust over top of filling like a turnover, and seal edges well. repeat.

Fresh from the oven

Place pasties on greased baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 25 to 30
minutes, or until golden browned.
Remove from oven and brush the tops with butter.

Serve warm with gravy or ketchup or just plain. 

Pasty covered in gravy


Even though it's officially May, it's been very chilly with lots of rain here in our part of Ohio. These warm hearty meat pies are perfect on these type of days to warm the body and soul. 


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