Ham, Cheese and Mustard Pasties

One of the lovely things about Street Food in England is that you can eat your way around the world in the space of 100m. From Asia to America, around the Med and back to Blighty – it’s all there for you to enjoy.

Ham Cheese & Mustard Pasties (13)

A dish which has been cooked for hundreds of years in England is the Cornish Pasty, and whilst purists will tell you exactly what should and should not go into one, I think most people agree that when made well, they are delicious, filling and portable. Great picnic or street food.

This is by no means a Cornish Pasty – it was made from the leftovers of some spiced ham. And as we move further into January, I am sure many of you will have cooked a ham for the Christmas table so it’s great for using up leftovers.  This recipe is a great one to prepare to take with you on a winter walk to burn off some of the excesses of the festive season. God forbid you should get hungry! If you don’t have ham, this would be great with leftover vegetables or any roasted meats.

This was my first ever attempt at making Rough Puff Pastry and I’m so glad I went for it. It was easy to make and the flavour was far superior to shop bought puff pastry. Do give it a go!

Ham Cheese & Mustard Pasties (5)

This makes about 8 medium (but filling) pasties

Rough Puff Pastry

  • 300g room temperature (but not soft) butter
  • 300g plain flour
  • ¾ teaspoon fine salt
  • Up to about 200ml cold water

Mix the salt into the sieved flour and cut the butter into small chunks (about 1cm) and into the flour. Rub the flour and butter together gently but not to a fine texture – you still want to see chunks of butter.  Gradually add the water (how much you need will depend on your flour), mixing with your hands as you go until it comes together to form a dough.

Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 20 mins. After this time (when you can be getting on with the filling), take it out and roll it gently into a long rectangle. Fold it into thirds, roll again, fold again and put it back (wrapped) into the fridge until you are ready to use it.

Ham Cheese & Mustard Pasties (8)

Pasty Filling

  • 400ml of your boiling stock from the ham (or any stock, or milk)
  • 3tbs plain flour
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • About a cup of grated hard cheese (I used a strong cheddar)
  • 1 tbs English mustard
  • Black pepper
  • 200g approx. of chopped cold ham
  • About a cup of finely chopped left over cooked vegetables
  • A beaten egg

Put the stock (or milk) into a pan with the flour and oil and heat gently whilst whisking. It will start to thicken to the texture of a pouring custard. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes then add the cheese, mustard and pepper and then stir in the meat and vegetables. Put into the fridge to chill and thicken slightly.

When you are ready to assemble the pasties, heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, divide the dough into about 8 pieces (or less if you want bigger pasties), and roll each piece into a circle. Fill one side with the filling (do not over fill), fold over the pastry and press both sides together. You can either crimp the edges or press with the tines of a fork. I have a handy Empanada maker that I use.

Brush the tops of the pasties with beaten egg and place them on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Bake for 20 minutes and enjoy when then are golden brown. These are great both hot and cold – take care not to burn yourself if you can’t resist sampling them straight out of the oven!

Cooking Under Fire – Minced Beef Pasty/Empanada Thingies

When your bathroom looks like this…

And your dogs are moved from pillar to post in a bed that gets dustier by the day…

You buy minced beef. Well, of course you do.  For a start it´s hard to buy in Andalucía, and then the beef tastes soooo good in England it would be a crime not to. I have discovered a lovely “proper” butcher in Bexhill, and have already made friends with him. He has free range eggs too which are nearly as good as ours. But not quite.

I bought half a kilo (or a pound as my new butcher friend said…he can´t forget those imperial measurements) and turned it into two “cook ahead” meals for us. First up, a simple pasty (but it´s not a Cornish Pasty as it contains carrot and no potato) or empanada (but not really) which I made ahead then warmed up for lunch. I also made another dish for supper later in the week, but more of that later.

Apologies for the photos, my “good” camera is sitting safely in its little rucksack as it doesn´t much like the huge quantities of dust we are currently dealing with on a daily basis.

Ingredients for 2 large thingies

  • 250g short crust pastry (I confess, I bought it)
  • 1 large carrot peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 3 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium leek, halved and finely sliced
  • ½ red pepper finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cumin
  • ½ wine glass of beef stock (I used a cube…I´m Cooking Under Fire you know!)
  • ½ wine glass of red wine (please make sure to drink the other half if you are using wine)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 500g of minced beef (you will only use about 200g of it, so use less if you don´t want to make another dish, or you could make 4 thingies instead)
  • Olive oil
  • One beaten egg

Start by slowly frying the onions, garlic and leek until softened then add the carrots and peppers. Cover the pan with a lid and continue cooking gently until the vegetables are all softened. Add the minced (ground) beef, the paprika and cumin and cook on a medium heat until the mince is cooked. Add the beef stock and wine, reduce the heat and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, taste and season.

Leave to cool slightly while you roll out the pastry. Cut it into two halves and if you´re feeling fancy you can cut out circles. Lay some minced meat filling down the centre of each piece (you´ll probably use less than half of what you have cooked if you used 500g of meat), fold the pastry over to make a parcel and brush with the beaten egg (I had to miss this step out as I had no eggs and I´m Cooking Under Fire you know!) Or have I mentioned that already?

Bake in a medium oven for about 25 minutes until golden brown or as near to golden brown as you can get your pastry without burning it because you didn´t have an egg in the house to brush on top even though you new butcher friend sells them. Phew, lunch (that isn´t a sandwich)…sorted!