Gotta love a meat pie. Especially after a hike up a mountain.
Years ago I used to live in Santa Cruz, and there was this fabulous little eatery on River Road called the River Inn. The River Inn specialized in meat pastys. (Not to be be confused with pasties.)
They are made with simply lovely concoctions of minced meat wrapped in pastry. We would get a few and travelled up Highway 9 to do a bit of hiking in the redwoods.
I've always like to try to recreate most meals I've enjoyed, and meat pies have been on the list since the River Inn. They are easy and a crowd pleaser. Quite successful to miniaturized too. So perfect for bento!
Miniature Chicken Pastys
one shallot, minced
three garlic cloves, minced
two medium-sized little Bella mushrooms, minced
a knob of butter
Saute the above ingredients and seasoned with salt and pepper.
Add one half of cup of minced cooked chicken breast and a couple of spoonfuls of pre-made gravy to the mixture. Stir well and place in glass bowl. Cover and put in freezer.
(When working with pastry, everything must be cold.)
Next I used pre-made pastry. I know a lot of this recipe is looking like processed food, and you can certainly make fresh pastry and gravy, but it was getting late so I cheated. And really these were meant to be fun little treats not a gourmet meal for the Queen.
Unrolled pastry and using a small round biscuit cutter (1 1/2 to 2 inch diameter) make as many discs as you can. Ball up dough, roll out, and repeat. Save a few discs at the end of process for decoration.
Lay these pastry discs on parchment on cookie sheet and retrieve meat mixture from freezer and put a small spoonful in the center of each disc.
I thank the fungi gods I got over my fungus aversion. Mushrooms cooked in butter with shallots and garlic are heavenly!
Pinching them up is a study in meditation. At first I did the classic side fold, then some that look like pot stickers, then open ones like canapes. A few were topped with pine nuts, and some got little cut out stars and flowers.
Cooked at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. I have a cool oven. Let them get a touch golden but not brown. We want a crunchy bite not a bullet.
Sorry no "after photos." You will have to view my bentos this week to see them.
These are delicious cold by the way. Pastys as summer food. Outrageous!