The phrase "Michigan food" might not evoke any sort of distinctive cuisine in your mind, but for my money that state's Upper Peninsula is probably the pasty capital of the world. And again for my money, the best pasty cook in the whole U.P. is Madeleine. This very talented lady, who sells her treats in shops in Marquette and Ishpeming, recently shared the "secret" filling for a meat pasty recipe with me. I'd like to pass my good fortune along to MOTHER EARTH NEWS' readers.
To make Madeleine's filling, mix together 2 cups of diced raw potatoes, 1/3 cup of dry or minced fresh parsley, 1 cup of minced onion, 1 cup of minced rutabaga (this, says Ms. M., is the "magic" ingredient), 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper (or to taste), and 3/4 pound of chopped beef (I use the stewing or economy cuts). Add small chunks of lard, shortening, or suet (or, if you'd prefer, spoonfuls of beef or onion gravy) as you go along to moisten the filling.
Then, just fold this "stew" into your pasty shells and bake the little tarts on a lightly oiled cookie sheet for about 10 minutes at 400°F, followed by another 30 minutes at 375°.
That's all there is to it. So, the next time your family troops in from the cold and damp with empty bellies, why not fill 'em up (and warm 'em up) U.P. style, with a platter of steaming, delicious pasties?