Roasted Root Vegetable Pasties

Pasties are a Northwoods Wisconsin/Upper Peninsula of Michigan thing. The "a" is pronounced the same way as apple, so as to not be confused with a women's accessory by a similar name. A pasty is basically a pie crust pouch surrounding a combination of carrots, ground or chopped meat, potatoes, rutabaga, and onions. Growing up, they had very little flavor and usually required a lot of ketchup to mask the blandness of the filling.

I love them because they're a great winter comfort food, as they remind me of my childhood (and I love ketchup). Plus, they are really easy to make, freeze well, and can be made using local ingredients that are actually available this time of year. However, the filling needs some help, so that is what I am looking to do with this recipe.

I am making a vegetarian version, as I have recently made the decision to convert back to vegetarianism. I started by collecting the root vegetables in my house, which turned out to be local carrots, beautiful red-skinned potatoes with pink centers, a rutabaga, and one small sweet potato. (Note: you can use any root vegetables you might have available, such as turnips or parsnips, as well). I chopped them all, added spices, and roasted the veggies to enhance the flavor. While the veggies were roasting, I started on the crust.

Pie crust is an art form, so I hear. I have been making this pie crust since I was in elementary school, so it is almost second nature to me. If you've never made your own, I recommend trying this recipe before you go out and buy pre-made crust. It is easier than you might think! For this particular recipe, I added rosemary that I ground into a powdered form with a mortar and pestle to give it a more savory flavor.

After packing the rosemary crust with veggies, sealing it off, and baking in the oven to crisp the crust, you get a beautiful golden brown pasty that tastes delicious with a glass of chardonnay (and a little ketchup).


Roasted Root Vegetable Pasties
Makes 6 pasties

For the filling:

4 medium potatoes
1 medium rutabaga
1 medium sweet potato
3 carrots
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried rosemary
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

For the crust:

2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp rosemary, ground fine
2/3 c shortening*
4-5 tbsp ice water (put water in a bowl and add ice cubes)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine root vegetables in a large bowl toss with spices and olive oil. Spread vegetable mixture onto a roasting pan. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender. When the vegetables are done, reduce the head to 350 degrees F. Allow the vegetables to cool a bit before preparing the pasties.

While vegetables are roasting, prepare the crust. Combine flour, salt, and rosemary in a medium bowl. Add the shortening and combine with a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture is the consistency of cornmeal. Sprinkle with 4 tbsp ice water and combine. Sprinkle with additional water, if needed, combining with your hands until the dough comes together. Add this additional water carefully - no more than 1 tbsp at a time - to ensure the dough does not become too wet. Cut the crust into 6 equal pieces.

Flour an open surface. Take one piece of crust and roll into a circle, dusting with additional flour as needed to prevent sticking (flipping the dough over between rolls helps prevent sticking as well). Take a scoop of vegetables and place on one half of the circle. Fold the crust over the vegetables. Fold the underside edge of the dough over the top and press with your finger to seal. Pierce the top of the pasty with a knife in a few places to allow any air to escape. Set on a cookie sheet. Repeat the above steps with the other pieces of dough.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. If you are freezing some of these, freeze individually before consolidating into a bag or container.

*When choosing a shortening, look for non-hydrogenated all-vegetable shortening. If it is made of palm oil, look for an indication on the package that the palm is sustainable harvested.

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