A pasty is a meat pie.
I grew up eating pasties. It’s a U.P. thing.
I know, you’re probably wondering what’s the U.P.? U.P. stands for upper peninsula. I was born in Escanaba, a very small town located in the upper peninsula of Michigan. My dad was also born and raised there and my mom and dad settled there after they were first married.
Up there, pasties are a local favorite.
A pasty is traditionally made with ground beef or pork, onions, potatoes, rutabaga and carrots, all wrapped into a pie crust. It’s served with plenty of ketchup, or catsup as Grandma Snyder would say, and a dill pickle.
Pasties are to the U.P. what In and Out burgers are to California. My dad enjoyed many pasties throughout childhood and my mom and dad enjoyed many together as a newly married couple.
Eventually though, my parents moved — first to Wisconsin and then Arizona. Unfortunately, neither of these states were famous for pasties so my mom had to invent her own version. She did it for my dad, I believe, so he’d still be able to enjoy and delight in one of his favorite childhood treats. I know, sweet, a real act of love!
My sisters and I also grew up on them and we still enjoy cooking and eating them today.
My mom’s recipe is super simple, but incredibly delicious. It’s easy because it’s semi-homemade. It calls for a store-bought pie crust and frozen hash brown potatoes.
Using these already prepared ingredients will obviously cut down on a lot of the prep time, but you can still choose to make your own crust and dice your own potatoes if you like.
1 package of lean ground beef
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 package of frozen, diced hash brown potatoes
1-2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 Pillsbury pie crusts
Cook onions and ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until meat is fully cooked, no longer pink. Drain grease and set aside. Add carrots to a pot of boiling water for about 4 minutes, add potatoes and boil for 5 more minutes, then drain the water. Combine meat, carrots and potatoes. Grease bottom of a 9 inch pie dish and press one crust into bottom of dish. Add meat mixture. Cover with another pie crust and seal the edges. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
**To keep the crust from getting too well done around the edges, cover the top of the pie with foil after the first 10 minutes of baking.
Pasty is a great dish to prepare as we head into Fall because it’s a hot dish. I prefer hot foods when it’s chilly outside, so in my mind, pasty equals perfect fall dish.
I’m glad that I get to pass this traditional family recipe off to you! I hope you enjoy and I also hope you’re inspired to think about some of your own traditional family recipes.