While it’s not definitively clear when meat turnovers were invented, meat pies have been referenced in a 13th century royal charter by England’s King Henry III and 14th century French cookbooks, which referred to the encompassing dough as paste. This is likely where the word “pasty” came from.
In earliest versions, a stiffer version of the pastry dough itself served as a baking container for the meat filling. These later evolved into the popular “standing pies” which were eaten into the 19th century. The dough in these weren’t usually eaten because they were too tough. This standing pie dough was also called a “coffin”.
As the pasty moved through the centuries, it became a go-to street food or fast food of days of yore. In English versions, potatoes, carrots and other ingredients joined meat in the pie so they ate like a full meal. The most well-known of these is the “Cornish Pasty” a popular, one-handed food for miners in Cornwall. As England expanded her colonial reach, outposts of the empire adopted the pasty and made it their own. The best example of this is the popular Jamaican Beef Patty.
Puff pastry cut into 5 inch squares to total 8 (2 10”x 15” sheets), keep chilled or 1 14 oz package large inch empanada dough discs such as Goya or follow our recipe for pie dough below.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 small carrot, peeled, diced small
- ½ stalk celery, minced
- ½ pound ground beef
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons Madeira, port or sherry (optional)
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, diced small
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 eggs beaten well with 1 tablespoon water
1. Roast the chicken if making from scratch: Preheat oven to 400° F. Place chicken in a baking dish and rub all over with the olive oil. Season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper and roast the chicken for 1 hour or until the internal temperature registers 165° F when thermometer is placed into the thickest part of the thigh. You may also test if a chicken is done by piercing the thigh with a sharp knife. If the juices run clear it is cooked through.
2. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes so the juices redistribute and you can handle comfortably. Cut chicken breast from bone and cut into bite sized pieces and set aside. Remove the legs and thighs and remove the meat from these as well. Cut into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
3. While the chicken is roasting, roast the carrots. Place the carrots in a large bowl and add the olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin and thyme and toss well so the carrots are fully coated. Spread on a sheet tray and add to the oven on a separate rack from the chicken. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until browned and fork tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
4. Hard boil the eggs: Place the eggs in a saucepan with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat and cover. Allow to sit until cool. Peel when cool enough to handle and cut each egg in half lengthwise and then each half into three wedges. Set aside.
5. Arrange the bacon on a sheet tray and place in the oven with the chicken but on a different rack. Cook until slightly crispy—about 15 minutes for pork bacon and 10 minutes for turkey bacon. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly and crumble. Set aside. If using pork bacon, you may reserve the bacon fat for the vinaigrette if you wish.
6. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a large platter and add the roasted chicken on top. Slice the tomatoes in half, if using grape tomatoes, or into small wedges if using beefsteak or other tomatoes and arrange around and on top of the chicken. Repeat with the cucumber and onion slices on top of the tomato slices.
7. Next arrange the hard boiled eggs in a pattern on top of the salad with the roasted carrots in between and sprinkle the bacon pieces on top. Last, sprinkle on the cheese and almonds, if using.
8. Make the Vinaigrette: Place all the ingredients in a small, sealable jar and shake vigorously. Spoon, as desired, over Salmagundi before serving. Arrange edible flowers, if using, over top of platter.