Traditional Venison Pasties
A recipe featured in the Outdoor News Taste of the Wild
There are various spinoffs from the traditional Cornish pasties, including empanadas infused with spices, and a similar dish called a hand pie that uses salted fish as the main filling. This basic recipe is a mainstay of many homes across the Great Lakes states, relying on ground venison, potatoes and vegetables.
One of the key differences between an empanada and these pasties is that the only element precooked in this dish is the meat. Once you get the hang of crafting these meat pies, you can adjust the ingredients to fit your taste.
Making the Crust
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups lard or shortening
¾ cup cold water
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt and cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse pea-sized crumbs. (Hint: a pasty blender is ideal for this job!) Add the water a little at a time, mixing in with a fork until the particles are moistened and cling together to form a ball. Flour your hands and shape the dough into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill dough at least 30 minutes.
While preparing the filling, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
½ lb. of ground venison (or lean ground beef)
1 ½ cups of peeled potatoes, chopped into very small cubes
1 small onion, diced
¼ cup finely sliced celery
½ cup grated (or finely diced) carrot
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 tablespoons melted butter
In a large skillet, brown the ground venison until no pink remains. Stir frequently. Add the vegetables and spices and stir to combine, then remove from the heat.
Unwrap the dough, and divide into 15 equal pieces. On a floured surface, roll each piece out into a 6” diameter circle. You will want to keep the rest of the dough covered with the plastic wrap to keep it from drying out as you are working. To assemble your pasties, place about 2 tablespoons of the meat/ vegetable mixture on one side of the circle, leaving enough edge to allow you fold in half and crimp the edges. Before folding, moisten the rim of the circle with water then press the edge with a fork to seal after folding over the filling. Place your finished pasty on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling, then brush the tops of the pasties with the melted butter.
Bake 25 minutes, or until the crust is a golden brown.