Thanksgiving Week Guest Blog: John Crossingham and Isla have a Turkey Pastie Party - Sweet Potato Chronicles - Sweet Potato Chronicles

Thanksgiving Week Guest Blog: John Crossingham and Isla have a Turkey Pastie Party

Please wel­come back to SPC John Cross­ing­ham. Dad extra­or­di­naire and cook­ing ace, you may remem­ber John of Crispy Tofu fame (see Sun­day, March 28th post). Well, he's back with a great recipe for all your turkey left­overs or a less tra­di­tional Thanks­giv­ing idea–the turkey pastie. Over to you, John and the always adorable Isla.…

When I was asked to do a Thanks­giv­ing themed guest post to this site, the instruc­tions went kind of like: "Some­thing that you can make for kids that won't take much time and is fun. You're cre­ative and like com­ing up with stuff."Fair enough, except here's the thing…Thanksgiving is turkey and if there's one thing turkey gen­er­ally ain't, it's fast. Or easy. Not to men­tion, I'm pretty sure if this is sup­posed to be some sort of con­cur­rent meal along­side a more tra­di­tional roast, but that keeps most par­ents busy enough as it is.That said, I think I've found a cheater's answer to posed prob­lem: the turkey pastie.

Hav­ing grown up in an Australian/English home, I have a great affin­ity of any­thing that involves meat, pota­toes, veg­gies and gravy in pas­try cas­ing. The cor­nish pastie—a half-moon shaped pocket with veg­gies, and often pork—was always my fave. In terms of this assign­ment, the main road­block is nearly all of these things call for a lengthy cook­ing process to get the fill­ing together before the bak­ing ever hap­pens. But this recipe—slightly tweaked from John Torode's excel­lent book, Chicken—is the best of both worlds: a deli­cious savoury pastie whose fill­ing takes a min­i­mum amount of time. In fact, since it calls for raw turkey meat, you can have the fill­ing together in 15 to 20 min­utes. Sure the bak­ing and all takes longer, but basi­cally this recipe will involve your con­cen­tra­tion in a pair of quick 15 to 20 min­utes spurts over the course of a cou­ple hours. Not a bad invest­ment for some­thing that tastes so good and, let's be frank, looks so impres­sive hit­ting the table.

Incidentally—and here's where the Thanks­giv­ing theme really kicks in—you can use left­over turkey and roast pota­toes in this recipe, too. Just skip step 2, add them to the cooked onions and leek and change your bak­ing time to about 25 min at 425º. Because while left­over turkey sand­wiches are great and all, a left­over turkey pastie is a total home­run. OK, here we go…

RECIPE (serves 4)

50g but­ter
1 medium onion, sliced
1 leek, white parts only, washed, halved length­ways, and sliced
1 large potato, peeled and thinly sliced­salt and pepper
300g turkey meat, chopped bite-sized
50mL creme fraiche or sour cream
1/3 cup frozen peas
375g ready­made puff pas­try (more on this amount later…)
milk, for brushing
METHOD
1. Melt the but­ter in a good-sized saucepan over just under medium heat. Add your onions and leeks and cook until soft­ened. Stir so they don't catch and sea­son with salt and a gen­er­ous amount of pepper—this is the only bite your fill­ing has, so go as far as you like/dare. (By the way, if you think leeks are for posh jerks, you can totally just use a large onion instead, as in Mr. Torode's orig­i­nal recipe. I just love them, espe­cially how quickly they turn gooey—I think they really help this sim­ple fill­ing attain a more evenly flavoured filling.)
2. Add your potato slices and cook only 3 to 4 min­utes. Keep stir­ring as things can really catch here.

3. Put your mix­ture into a mix­ing bowl, scrap­ing every last yummy bit from the saucepan. Add your turkey, creme of choice, and the peas, and mix. Cover and let it cool—first stage com­plete. Go play a game with your kids, make a phone, read a book, etc. We'll see you in half an hour or so.

4. Wel­come back—pastry time! So, how much is 375g? Seri­ously, who mea­sures this stuff? Most North Amer­i­can pack­ages sell in the 450g range with two sheets included. I used one of those sheets and man­aged to stretch it out to make four pasties here. That said, you could use the whole thing to make much thicker crusted, uber deca­dent pasties—up to you. What­ever your choice, flour your sur­face and roll out the dough to about loonie thick­ness. Take a small plate and use it to cut four cir­cles (you'll prob­a­bly need to squish together and reroll the dough to get all four.)

5. Divide your fill­ings across the four rounds, closer to one edge. Brush milk on the edge, fold over, and press them together firmly. (Bonus round! Use the lit­tle left­over bits to make cute designs on the top of your pastie…or to patch up edges that don't quite seal.)

6. Place on a lightly greased bak­ing sheet and shove that in the fridge for 30 min­utes. Stage two complete!
7. Get your oven to 400º and then bake mid­dle rack for 40 min­utes. (if your tray doesn't have edges, you may want to place some­thing on the oven rack under­neath, as they may leak). Pull 'em out, serve imme­di­ately, and receive praise.

And on the side? By adding peas, it's kind of a com­plete meal—and you can cer­tainly add more veg like car­rots or corn, too. But if your kid is into it (and def­i­nitely for the adults), serve with a sim­ple green salad dressed with mus­tard vinai­grette on the same plate as the pastie. Why? Because the way those two things merge on the plate is heaven, with bits of the crust turn­ing into impromptu crou­tons for the salad and the vinai­grette sub­tly flavour­ing the fill­ing here and there.

Oh yeah, my kid did help but I lost her to an episode of Dora (which I'm pretty sure spells cocaine back­wards as it's so addic­tive). Now, the moment of truth. Did she like it? Well, Isla's three, which means she doesn't even like pasta most of the time. But, espe­cially once we "encour­aged" her, she did like it enough to eat half of it. My life is about small victories…

  

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