Sunday, 2 January 2011

Copy and Pasty

I must start this new post by offering apologies to all readers of my blog for my long hiatus. Yeah, sorry about that. As my old Italian neighbour used to say, "Whatta goin to do?"

I have been very busy with cooking classes these passed few months and I would like to say thank you to all those who come to my classes and to the co-ordinators who book them. Very swell of you.

For me, what is more rewarding than anything else is when someone tells me about their successful attempts to use my recipes. Shucks. Truthfully, boosts to my fragile ego and an occasional pat on the back are always welcome in my books. Having said that, this is a recipe I recently did and even I was surprised on the positive outcome.

I've recently renewed my interest in pasty and it's origins. Not to be confused with pastry, pasty is when you take a pastry and fold over a filling and is then crimped. Very similar to empanadas. However, in the case of the empanada, the filling is usually cooked in advance. Pasties are often filled with root vegetables, onions, beef, whatever and then baked. I suppose if you put tomato sauce, mozzarella and maybe some pepperoni, you could pretty much call that pasty a calzone. Confusing. Yes the pastry is a little different, but essentially the same concept.

Not far from the pasty, is pot pie. However, many of you already know this, but the pot pie filling is cooked in advance and covered with pastry. There are different types of pastry you could use for pot pie (flaky, puff, choux, phyllo) but I like shortcrust. If you can remember 1:2 (1 part fat to 2 parts flour) you'll be fine. Not to be confused with my 1:1:4 recipe. 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of milk and 4 eggs. I wonder, can anyone guess what this ratio might be?

And to keep life easy, make the stew and put the pastry on top in the pot. I mean, if you want to make a pastry base and make an actual pie, be my guest. But I like to keep it simple silly.

Before I move on, I recently had a, um, discussion about the origin of the term Mulligatany. It means "Pepper Water" in Tamil. Millagu for Pepper and Thanni for water. It doesn't refer to some Irish town where it came from like someone in one of my classes argued. Sigh.

Christmas Leftover Mulligatawny Pot Pie

For the Pastry:

240 g A. P. Flour (2 ¼ Cups)
170 g Butter (¼ lb.)
125 ml Cold Water (½ Cup)
Pinch of Salt

For everything else:
170 g butter (¼ lb.)
100 g A.P. Flour (1 Cup)
1 Small Red Onion, finely diced
1/2 Celery Stalk, diced
1 Small Carrot, diced
1 Red Pepper, diced
1 Green Pepper, diced
1 Green or Yellow Zucchini, diced
3 Garlic Cloves, crushed
1 Whole Breast of Turkey or whatever leftovers you have
2 Bosc Pears, grated
2 Large Russet Potatoes, diced
3 l Chicken or Turkey Stock
1 Can of Cranberry Sauce
Drizzle of Oil
Pinches, of Tumeric, Cumin, Mild Curry Powder, Cayenne, Paprika, Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
2 Eggs, whipped
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Preheat oven to 400.

To make the pastry, combine the flour, salt and butter and crumble with your hands; the mixture should look dry. Add one third of the water and gently mix in. Add next third of water and continue. Add the remaining water and massage in; it should be just damp enough to mass together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up 24 hours.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough into circle big enough to cover the top of your pot. Maybe make the crust about ¼ inch thick.

In a soup pot, heat oil on med-high heat. Add onion, celery and carrot and cook for one minute.Add blend of spices. Add peppers and garlic and cook for another. Add pears, zucchini and potatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add flour and cook for 5 minutes.

Whisk in chicken stock until blended. Add turkey and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and let simmer. Adjust to seasonings.

Brush the rim of the pot with cold water. Carefully lay the pastry round over the top and crimp the edges to seal. Brush the pastry with some of the egg mixture and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. About 5 – 10 minutes resting time.

Serves 8 – 10.

A Humble Chef's tip: where to begin? How about, this? Be sure the chicken stock is cold when adding to the aromatic roux. Rememeber, cold liquids to a hot roux.

Variations: simple. Turkey Mulligatawny Empanadas.

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