Vegetable Pasties (PAH-steez)

One of the delicacies of Michigan - really, of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan - is the pasty. Legend has it that the miners of Cornwall brought these meat and vegetable pastry pockets "across the pond" when they came to work in the copper and iron mines of Michigan. Since then, the pasty has gained popularity in both peninsulas and pasty aficionados can find a variety of pasties at any number of drive-through and take-home pasty shops.

For those brave enough to make their own pasties, or those unlucky enough to live far away from a pasty shop (like me), here's my recipe for vegetable pasties. My recipe uses store-bought pre-made pie crusts - but if you're interested in making your own crust, you'll find plenty of opinions on how to best make pasty crust by googling "pasty recipe." If you'd like a more "traditional" Cornish pasty, add 1-2 lbs. cubed steak or ground beef in place of the sweet potato and mushrooms.

Vegetable Pasties (~ 12-16 half-sized pasties or 6-8 full-sized pasties)
2-3 medium potatoes, peeled
1 rutabaga, peeled
1 turnip, peeled
1 parsnip, peeled
10-15 baby carrots
1 medium onion, peeled
4-5 celery ribs
6 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 sweet potato, peeled
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
6-8 refrigerated pie crusts (3-4 boxes)

1. Dice (~ 1/4 - 1/2" cubes) or thinly slice all vegetables and mix together in a large bowl.

2. Preheat oven to 350F and line baking sheet(s) with foil.

3. Unroll a prepared pie crust. (If making your own crust, roll out a 9" round, about 1/4" thick.) For full-size pasty, place about 1 - 1.5 cups of filling + 1/4 cup cheese on one half of crust. For half-sized pasties, cut crust in half and place about 2/3 - 3/4 cup filling + 2 T. cheese on one half of each piece.

4. Fold crust over filling and pinch edges together, then fold or roll edges to make a double-thick seam (see photo below). Cut a few small vents into top of pastry pocket. Place on foil-lined baking sheet.

5. Bake at 350F for 60 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and vegetables are soft.

6. Serve hot with plenty of ketchup on the side!

7. Leftover pasties can be refrigerated and reheated later. Heat at 350F for 15 minutes. If you freeze the pasties, reheat at 350F for 45 minutes or until heated through.

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