Being English means that I am very partial to a good pasty. Tonight I had to ask my hubby what Americans call pasties (he is from Florida) and after thinking a moment he said, “Um, pie?” I don’t think that can be right, can it? In England a pasty is not the same as a pie. Although, to be fair, I can see that they are very similar and so maybe a pasty is a pie in America. But then, what is a pie in America? Just one more example of our international confusion.
This pasty is a warm, tasty reminder of home and combines minced ‘meat’, potatoes and onion in a puff pastry case, served with a flavoursome home-made vegan gravy. To me, pasties are not only filling but they are a comfort food too. They remind me of cold days growing up in England, when all meals, including lunches, were hot. Now that I live in tropical North Queensland in Australia there are not many days cold enough to make me want to eat hot foods, but these pasties don’t need any incentive – they are delicious and are a treat to eat even on the hottest of Australian days.
Since discovering home-made seitan (wheat meat) I have been able to make vegan versions of some old favourites such as ‘meat’ & potato pie, minced ‘meat’ & onion pasties and a super authentic chili con carne. Seitan is an inexpensive, very high protein vegan meat substitute that can be minced, made into strips for stir fries, made into sausages – and much more. When made at home in bulk it’s not only very inexpensive and extremely versatile but delicious too. It really is worth taking a look.
Anyway, on with the pasties!
These pasties are fairly simple to make but I always make more than I need so that I can freeze a batch for a later date. It’s very handy when no-one feels like cooking as they can be taken from the freezer, popped into the oven and hey presto, pasties for lunch or dinner – are you getting that I really like pasties?
The smell in the kitchen when this filling is reducing down in the pan is just beautiful, it fills the house with a lovely aroma but oh my gosh it makes me hungry. Maybe I should eat before I make these next time, to ease the temptation to eat the mixture straight from the pan, which to be honest I have done – all in the name of taste testing you understand.
Since all the filling ingredients are cooked before making the pasties, it only takes a short time in the oven for them to cook and become brown and flaky and delicious.
This simple mushroom and onion gravy works really well with these pasties. Adjust how thick you like your gravy too by increasing or decreasing the amount of arrowroot, or corn flour, used.
- For the Pastry
- 4 sheets ready rolled vegan puff pastry
- Small amount of water
- 1-2 Tbsp soy milk
- For the Filling
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 400g minced seitan or other minced vegan meat substitute
- 4 medium sized white potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks, approximately 1cm x 1cm
- 12 button mushrooms, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 cup low salt vegetable stock
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1-2 tsp arrowroot flour or cornflour to thicken sauce
- ½ Tbsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp liquid smoke (from health stores)
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp dried chopped chives
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
- Serves 4 - double the recipe if serving all 8 of the pasties
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- ½ brown onion, thinly sliced
- 4-6 mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1½ cups reduced salt vegetable stock
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1-2 tsp arrowroot flour or corn flour to thicken
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
- Separate the pastry sheets and leave to defrost (if using frozen puff pastry).
- Once defrosted, cut the pastry squares in half so that you have 8 oblong pastry pieces.
- Peel and dice the potato, place in a pan of cold water and heat on high heat until boiling, reduce heat and cook until almost soft. When cooked, remove from heat, drain and set aside.
- Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for 2 minutes until the onion softens then add the crushed garlic and cook for a further minute. Don't let the garlic brown as it tends to have a bitter taste when browned.
- Add the remaining Tbsp of oil and then add the chopped mushrooms, cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring.
- Add the Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce followed by the wheat 'meat'. Cook the mixture for 2-3 minutes stirring to ensure the food does not stick to the pan.
- Add the vegetable stock, the onion powder, liquid smoke, paprika, cayenne pepper, chives, black pepper and the pre-cooked potatoes.
- Cook the mixture on a low-medium heat for approximately 10-15 minutes during which time the liquid will reduce somewhat. When the liquid has reduced by about half, take approximately a tablespoon of the liquid from the mixture and dissolve the arrowroot flour, or corn flour, and add it back to the pan, stirring to ensure it is mixed evenly. This will thicken the remaining liquid, continue to cook on low-medium heat for a further 5 minutes.
- Taste the mixture and add a little salt if required, stir well and remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool fully before filling the pastry sheets.
- Once properly cooled, preheat the oven to 350F/180C/gas mark 4 (these temperatures are for a fan forced oven, adjust the temperatures to 400F/200C/gas mark 6 if your oven is not fan forced).
- Divide the mixture evenly between the eight pastry sheets, spooning the mixture onto one half of the oblong pastry sheet leaving a border of about ½ an inch around the edge. Slightly dampen the border with the water and fold over the other half of the pastry sheet to form a square and press gently with your fingers to seal the pastry. To ensure no leakage during cooking, use a fork to press the edges of the pasty together.
- Brush the pasties with a little soy milk and cook in the centre of the oven for approximately 15- 20 minutes. As the filling is already cooked the pasties can be taken from the oven once the pastry has risen and browned so keep an eye on them as they cook.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over a moderate heat and add the onion and the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring. If the pan is too dry add a little of the veggie stock to the pan.
- Add the stock, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and black pepper.
- Taste the liquid and add a little salt if required.
- Take a Tbsp of the liquid from the pan and mix in the arrowroot flour, or cornflour and add to the pan, stir well and cook for a further 5 minutes. The liquid should have thickened to a gravy like consistency. If you prefer your gravy thicker, then add a little more flour by again removing some of the liquid from the pan and dissolving the flour before adding to the pan.
These pasties take a bit of time but they are definitely worth it. Plus, if like me, you make twice as much as you need then you have really prepared dinner for another day too!
If you do have a go at making these, let me know what you think of them. Are there other vegan fillings you might be interested in trying?