Chicken and Leek Cornish Pasty

Indulge in a classic with a twist. A taste of tradition meets innovation in every bite. #ComfortFoodDelight. Savory pastry with flaky crust, filled with chicken and leeks. A twist on tradition.

When we think of pasties today, our minds often conjure images of hearty, hand-held pies filled with savory ingredients, a beloved staple in the world of comfort food. But the history of these delightful pockets of goodness is a fascinating journey that dates back to the 13th century when they were first savoured by the aristocrats and royalty.

During their early days, pasties were a mark of indulgence, filled with a rich array of ingredients, including venison, beef, lamb, and even seafood like eels. These culinary creations were enriched with sumptuous gravies and fruits, making them a true delight for the privileged.

It was in the 1700s and 1800s that pasties underwent a transformation, finding a special place in the hearts and stomachs of working-class families in Cornwall. No longer did these pasties feature the extravagant fillings of centuries past. Instead, they embraced simplicity with a shortcrust pastry shell housing humble yet hearty ingredients like potatoes, swedes, onions, and occasionally, inexpensive cuts of meat. This marked the birth of the beloved Cornish pasty we know today.

As mining became a prominent industry in Cornwall, pasties evolved into the go-to meal for the miners during their crib breaks. These all-in-one meals were perfect for a quick and nourishing bite deep in the mines, eliminating the need for cutlery. The wives of Cornish miners lovingly prepared these pasties, ensuring their husbands had sustenance during their demanding workdays. Some pasties even featured a sweet twist, with fruit tucked into one end to provide a delightful dessert (these were playfully named “tinners” pasties). To make sure miners could identify their pasties, a miner’s wife would carve her husband’s initials into his Cornish pasty. It’s a touching tradition that adds a dash of sweetness to the story.

A remarkable quality of the Cornish pasty is its ability to withstand the rigors of the mines. The pasty’s crust, or crimp, served as a handle, allowing miners to enjoy their meal with hands dirtied by the mines’ dust without contaminating their food. This innovation was particularly crucial as arsenic often accompanied the tin found in the ore they were mining. The crimp helped prevent arsenic poisoning, highlighting the pasty’s practicality and significance.

The distinctive D shape of the Cornish pasty is also attributed to the miners. The crust, which became a handle, was discarded to ensure that the meal remained uncontaminated by their dirty, possibly arsenic-ridden hands.

In the Cornish language, the Cornish pasty is affectionately known as an “Oggy.” Once the pasties were ready to be enjoyed, the wives would head to the mineshaft and shout, “Oggy, oggy, oggy!” The miners below would respond with an enthusiastic, “Oi, oi, oi!” to signal that the pasties were on their way. This exchange added a sense of camaraderie to the mealtime ritual.

In 2011, the Cornish pasty received protected geographical indication (PGI) status, safeguarding its authenticity. Only pasties prepared in Cornwall following the traditional recipe can bear the title “Cornish.” Authentic pasties can be finally baked elsewhere in Britain, ensuring that the pasty’s heritage is preserved.

Now, you may wonder why our Cornish Pasty is a departure from the traditional. For one, it wasn’t crafted in Cornwall, doesn’t strictly adhere to the original recipe, and isn’t slow baked. However, it has something vital—amazing taste. While it may not be a genuine Cornish Pasty, it’s a culinary creation inspired by a taste of Cornwall experienced right here in Auckland. Our version, filled with tender chicken and leeks, offers a twist on tradition, adding flavour and texture to a classic favourite. While it may not be authentic, it’s a delightful and innovative take on the Cornish pasty, one that might just win you over with its deliciousness.

So, embark on a journey with us, where tradition meets innovation, and taste a little piece of Cornwall, reimagined in the heart of Auckland.

Explore the history, savour the innovation, and take a bite of our Chicken and Leek Cornish Pasty.

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Chicken and Leek Cornish Pasty

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Raymund
  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 50 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Savory pastry with flaky crust, filled with chicken and leeks. A twist on tradition.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 4 sheets of butter puff pastry
  • 600 g boneless chicken thigh fillets, sliced into strips
  • 2 leeks, roughly chopped
  • 150 g streaky bacon, chopped
  • 150 ml cream
  • 150 ml chicken stock
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • black sesame seeds

Instructions

Prepare the Filling

  1. In a frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter.
  2. Add the sliced chicken and cook for about 8 minutes or until it’s nicely browned.
  3. Incorporate the leeks, bacon, and minced garlic, and cook for an additional 5 minutes until the leeks have softened.
  4. Sprinkle the flour into the mixture, stirring thoroughly to create a roux.
  5. Gradually pour in the cream and chicken stock while stirring to prevent lumps. Bring it to a gentle simmer, cooking until the sauce slightly thickens.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat, and season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set it aside to cool.

Assemble the Pasties

  1. For each puff pastry sheet, cut out a circle, and set them aside.
  2. Spoon 1/4 of the filling mixture onto one side of each circle pastry, leaving about a 2cm border.
  3. Brush the edges of the pastry with a bit of beaten egg, then fold over each circle pastry to create a half circle shape. You can seal the edges with a fork or use your fingers and thumb to crimp and seal.
  4. Place the assembled pasties on the prepared baking tray.
  5. Brush the tops with more beaten egg and sprinkle with black sesame seeds.

Bake and Serve

  1. Bake the pasties in the preheated 160°C oven for 25-30 minutes or until they turn golden and crisp.
  2. Once out of the oven, let them cool for a few minutes before serving.

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5 Responses

  1. Eha Carr says:

    Oh, Raymund, yours look lovely and inviting and you tell the story beautifully ! If I lived in England it probably would be Cornwall and Rick Stein and I have exchanged many a comment and laugh about the pasties! Having been born on the other side of Europe in the Baltics these, much smaller in size and oft with an onion and bacon or cabbage filling, are the highlight of each and every party whether you call them the Estonian ‘pirukad’ or the Russian ‘piroshki’ . . . shall definitely try yours !!!






  2. These look terrific, Raymund. I love esp. the add of leeks for the filling here.

  3. Pasties are the food of my ancestors. I love them — yours look great.

  4. These look so good! What would we do without puff pastry?!!

  5. I didn’t know about Cornish pasty, so it was interesting to learn more through your post. And these pastries? Absolutely splendid! Beautifully browned flaky crust and tasty hearty filling – what not love about this?






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