Living just down the road from Cornwall I probably ought to bake and eat more pasties. It doesn’t matter which shop you go to, all boast the best pasty this side of the river Tamar but in reality they never beat homemade (or indeed Cornish-made).
They say that at the bottom of every mine in the world you’ll find a Cornishman and it seems that wherever the brave men of Kernow took their mining knowledge, they also took their food. Many countries have their own variation that has evolved from the original packed-lunch pasty so I think it’s fair game for modifications.
Rather than traditional beef, potatoes and swede, I went for a Spanish twist and filled them with crumbled, spicy chorizo and sweet, soft leeks. The usual short crust pastry can often be a bit dry and tough (perfect for protecting the filling from the perils of the mine but rather heavy for dinner) so I used Deb’s empanada dough on Smitten Kitchen. It makes for a buttery, crumbly pastry but it needs to be kept cool as you work. Learn from my mistake here and don’t assemble all the pasties at once; make a small batch at a time keeping the rest of the dough in the fridge. A full batch makes 12 small pasties, which freeze well unbaked – you can bake them straight from frozen for a quick meal. I did have a little filling left over which was very tasty the next day with scrambled eggs!
Chorizo and leek pasties
Makes 12 pasties with a little spare filling
Pastry from Smitten Kitchen
- 200g plain flour
- 70g wholemeal plain flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 115g cold butter
- 1 large egg
- 80ml ice-cold water
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
Mix the flours and salt and the rub in the butter – this is much easier to do in a mixer but should you do it by hand try to keep your hands cold.
Once you have roughly pea-sized clumps of butter and flour (uneven-sized clumps are fine), whisk together the egg, water and vinegar and pour in. Stir until the dough starts to come together then knead a few times to get a smooth dough.
Divide the dough in half and wrap both halves in cling film. Chill for at least an hour.
Chorizo and leek filling
- 3 raw, chorizo-style sausages
- 1 large leek, rinsed, quartered and sliced
- 1 small potato cut in half cm dice
- 1 tsp dried thyme or a few twigs of fresh
- 2 tbsp flour
- 50ml red wine
- 100 ml water or stock
- a bay leaf
- salt and pepper
Remove the casings from the sausages and crumble the meat into a hot pan. Stir and break up into small pieces. If it looks like the meat is sticking add a little oil. (I find there’s usually enough fat in them to prevent sticking.)
Once the sausage is brown, turn the heat to low and add the leek and potato. Cover with a pan and cook for 5 minutes until the leek is soft.
Sprinkle over the thyme and flour, stir to coat then add the wine. Allow most of the wine to bubble away before pouring in the water and tucking in the bay leaf. Cover loosely and simmer for 30 minutes until the liquid is thick and the potato is soft. Add a splash more water if the filling looks dry. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Leave to cool.
When you are ready to assemble your pasties, heat the oven to 200°C.
Take half of the dough from the fridge and divide into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a circle about 12-14cm in diameter. Spoon 2 tbsp of filling in the centre of each circle, fold in half and crimp the edges. Place on a baking sheet and repeat with the other half of the dough.
Brush the pasties with a little milk and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.
The pasties freeze very well unbaked and can been cooked from frozen by baking for an extra 5-10 minutes.