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Cornish Pasties with Skirt Steak

When I first saw the word “pasties,” I automatically added an “r.” Cornish pastries. That sounds delicious! After recent travels through the British county of Cornwall, I can vouch for the fact that Cornish pasties, and Cornish pastries are heavenly (if as “pastries” you count scones with marmalade and clotted cream, a delicacy that’s somewhere between butter and whipped cream).

Cornish pasties were so good that my sister recreated them at home. Below, you can find her recipe, which will make an amazing treat for Memorial Day picnics.

This kind of pasty is pronounced pass-tee, not paste-y (which describes my skin before I managed to get a sunburnt nose in a country famous for its rain). The first form of pasty comes from the same root word as pâté, which can be not only an hors d’oeuvre but also a savory pie of meat or fish.

And a savory pie is what you’ll get when you order one at bakeries in Cornwall. My brother-in-law described the one he ordered as a thick beef stew wrapped in pie dough. The dough is soft with a delicious firm crust at the edge, while the filling is tender without making the dough soggy.

Pasties are a historic grab-n-go meal. “Pasties are thought to have been around in Cornwall since the 14th century,” says the Cornish Pasty Association’s website, “so it’s only natural then that the Cornish have become rather attached to them.”

Stewed beef was a later addition, according to the Great Cornish Food Book, cited on the Cornish Pasty Association website. Before that, the workers who carried this convenient lunch used ingredients that were easier to come by—potatoes, onions and rutabagas.

Knowing that this was a worker’s lunch, it is easy to make the connection between pasties and mining. Traveling through Cornish coastal towns, we saw as many mines as pasty shops. Copper, tin, and other metals drew miners deep into the ground in Cornwall.


“It was the advent of Cornish mining in the 19th century that really brought the pasty into its own and made it an important part of the life of so many Cornish families,” says the Great Cornish Food Book. They were easy to carry. Some even say the miners held the rope-shaped “handle” on the edge of the pasty and discarded it at the end so they wouldn’t eat anything they’d touched with “grubby, possibly arsenic-ridden hands.” Others say the miners wrapped pasties in paper bags or cloth so they wouldn’t have to handle them with bare hands. I’m inclined to believe the second idea. That crust is one of the best parts!

Try them yourself! Here’s the recipe my sister made soon after we returned from vacation.

Cornish Pasties with Skirt Steak
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: English
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 pasties
A delicious "hand pie" - perfect for eating on the run or as a stunning meal for company. For those who prefer a simpler method, store-bought crusts can be used. Just cut them in half first and form into a triangle, or make one very large pasty that serves 2. If you're pressed for time, you can even turn the temperature up and pre-cook the ingredients. Sometimes I microwave the vegetables and pan-sear the beef if I need a quick meal. Be creative. Use olive oil, add other vegetables, meats or cheeses, or even drizzle some wine or beer into your mixture too!
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 2½ cups potato, finely diced into about 1 cm pieces (about 3 medium potatoes)
  • 1 cup white cooking onion, finely chopped (about 3 small onions)
  • 1 cup carrots, finely diced (about 3 small/medium carrots
  • 12 oz beef skirt steak, finely chopped (some recipes said you could use chuck roast instead)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • Cornmeal
  • Butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, butter and egg yolks into a food processor and blend until the mixture forms crumbs. Slowly add the water until it forms a ball (you may not need all of the water). Wrap the dough in clingwrap and refrigerate 1 hour
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. On a floured surface with a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough. Cut out 6 circles of dough using a large bowl or dinner plate as a template.
  4. Mix together the meat, vegetables, flour and a generous amount of salt and pepper in a large bowl. (Yes everything is raw still!) Ladle into the center of each circle of dough. Add a generous dollop of butter on top of the meat and vegetable mixture. Fold over and crimp the edges with a fork. Cut a few steam holes in the pasty. Brush with beaten egg. Scatter a little bit of cornmeal on the bottom of the pasty before placing on a baking pan to allow some heat to circulate underneath. Put another sprinkle of salt and pepper on top too before baking.
  5. Bake 50 minutes at 350, until golden brown on top and the beef is no longer pink. Allow them to rest 5-10 minutes.
  6. These reheated splendidly in the oven, and I imagine they would do fine being assembled ahead of time and baked later - which would make them the perfect meal to make ahead of time for company.

Dice your vegetables very small – about 1 cm or less than 1/2 inch pieces.

And, if you happen to find yourself golfing in Phoenixville, PA, look for the Wheatley mine on the grounds of the Pickering Valley Golf Course, where you can find this familiar-looking “Cornish stack.” It reminds me of an old saying: “a mine is a hole anywhere in the world with at least one Cornishman at the bottom of it.” As Cornwall was running out of minerals, other countries were discovering them, so many miners left Cornwall to offer their expertise and improve their lot elsewhere.  Between 1841 and 1901, more than a quarter of a million people left Cornwall. The Wheatley mine in Phoenixville was founded during that time period: 1850, to be exact.

Cornish pasties made with #SkirtSteak! #PicnicFood #SavoryPie

Guinness Beef Stew for St. Patrick’s Day

Every day around 4 p.m., throughout my entire childhood, I would ask my mother, “What’s for dinner?” Four p.m. was, after all, the cut-off point for snacks, so the best way to get through the hour or two between crossing the snack Rubicon and arriving at dinnertime was to imagine what we would be eating. Even if I was at a friend’s house, I would call my mom and ask, “Hey. Mom. What’s for dinner?” (And then of course try to strike a deal with my friend to eat at whoever’s house offered the tastier meal.)

If I did end up at my own table, I could count on a lively dinner. My parents, siblings and I would tell stories from our day. If someone’s story inspired questions, we would fetch the appropriate volume of our 1954 World Book Encyclopedias to answer them. “What was Johnny Appleseed’s real name?” “Can elephants have twins?” “Why is Pennsylvania called the Keystone State?” We weren’t living in the 1950s, but we were living in a pre-smart-phone world and gathered information wherever we could.

Some nights, we would eat beef stew. Not only was it a frugal meal, allowing Mom to use up veggies, it was also a crockpot meal that freed her up for a busy day.

Since beef stew was a staple of my childhood, I love trying new recipes for stew. There’s a sense of familiarity and relief. It’s a familiar process, leading to variations on a basically familiar taste.


This St. Patrick’s Day recipe blends new flavors, stretching the familiar. I can’t imagine my teetotaling mother pouring Guinness into either a glass or a stew back then, but this stew, like hers, is rich, hearty, and full of complex flavors. And it’s a crockpot meal that allows you to go out and enjoy St. Patrick’s Day and come home to a warm meal. If you’re crunched for time, you can skip sautéing the parsnips and onion. You sacrifice a little flavor, but the onion and parsnip will still cook through.

Guinness Beef Stew for St. Patrick's Day
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
Adapted from Simply Recipes. Skip sautéing the veggies if you are short on time.
  • 1.5 pounds beef stew meat cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups beef or chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup Guinness extra stout
  • 1 cup red wine, such as Cabernet
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 pounds red potatoes, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3-4 parsnips, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Salt and pepper the beef and then brown in olive oil, working in batches if necessary so that all the meat gets well browned. Add garlic. Transfer to crockpot and add all ingredients except parsnips, onions and potatoes.
  2. Saute parsnips and onions and add to crockpot. Add potatoes.
  3. Cook for 8-10 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high.



Red Wine Beef Stew Recipe from Sister to Sister


I grew up with one sister, but now thanks to marriage I have 5 sisters. Sisters are a great resource for recipes. On so many holidays we’d savor each other’s recipes and tuck a few of our favorite recipes written out on index card into each other’s stockings. When my recipes all feel a little blah, I can email a sister and get some awesome recipe inspiration.

This is what happened the other week while I was Facetiming with a sister-in-law. She was in the middle of making beef stew – a recipe she had gotten from another sister-in-law. It was a gravy-style beef stew, similar to my favorite beef stew recipe, but instead of calling for beer like my recipe did, it called for red wine.


Since I had some stew beef in the freezer and was eager to try a new recipe with it, this was the perfect solution!

The original recipe calls for bouillon cubes, which often include MSG, to which, incidentally, that sister and I are both allergic. If this is the case for you, try making your own beef stock using soup bones and our beef stock recipe or make your own powdered vegetable bouillon cubes.


Serve over potatoes (baked or diced and baked or sauteed) with a side of a roasted green vegetables such as Brussels sprouts.


Beef Stew in Red Wine Gravy
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
  • 1½ pounds beef roast cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bouillon cube, 1 tablespoon powdered vegetable bouillon (recipe noted above) or 1 cup beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1½ cups dry red wine
  • salt (to taste)
  • Garnish with fresh herbs, if desired
Dutch Oven Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a Dutch Oven on a stovetop, add olive oil and turn to medium heat. Brown beef in batches and set aside. Add onion and garlic and deglaze the pan.
  3. Return beef to Dutch Oven. Add stock or bouillon and pepper and stir.
  4. Sprinkle with cornstarch and stir until coated.
  5. Add wine and stir. Transfer Dutch Oven to oven and allow to cook for 3-5 hours.
Crockpot Instructions:
  1. Add beef, onion, garlic and oil to crockpot. Add stock/bouillon and pepper and stir. Sprinkle with cornstarch and stir until coated. Add wine, cover and allow to cook 5-6 hours on high or 10-12 hours on low.




Crockpot Beef Stroganoff with Lone Star Farm Beef Cubes

Let’s say you have just purchased some beef cubes or rediscovered them in your freezer.  At this point, you may be thinking beef stew is your main option for this ingredient.  You’re starting to smell hearty, herb-infused beef stew as it slow-cooks in the crockpot.  Mmm.  You’re already picturing clomping home in your bulky boots, trading them for slippers, and settling at the table to ladle out chunks of sweet carrots and tender beef.  That’s one delicious option.

Chilly Day Beef Stew with Homemade Rosemary Bread

Chilly Day Beef Stew with Homemade Rosemary Bread

One among many.

Last month, Elmina Beiler shared her favorite recipe for beef chili, and lo and behold, it uses beef cubes.  And seriously, I’ve been dreaming of this chili ever since I made it in January.  I am just dying for another excuse to make it again.  Church small group dinner party?  Friends coming over to play Ticket to Ride?  Let’s hope an occasion comes soon!


This month, when Elmina mentioned that Lone Star Farm has a plentiful supply of beef cubes available, I decided to see if I could use these cubes to make beef stroganoff, rather than the sirloin most recipes called for.

It’s been a frigid winter, leaving us celebrating those “tropical” days when it hits 22 degrees.  What could be more fitting during a winter like this than a traditional Russian dish?

It turns out that you can use beef stew cubes to make an excellent stroganoff, and in fact, the 1861 cookbook that first included this recipe called for beef cubes.

In the version below, the beef cubes become luscious and tender in the crockpot.  The recipe makes plenty, so it’s perfect for a large gathering, or for leftovers that will keep you warm and nourished as you await the coming spring.  Pair this meal with our own recipe for homemade rosemary bread!


Stroganoff with Beef Cubes
Recipe type: Main Course
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 1½ pounds beef cubes, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 12 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons red wine
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 teaspoons paprika
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 6 tablespoons flour (plus more if needed)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4-8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8-10 ounces sour cream
  • kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 12 to 18 ounces egg noodles (depending on desired sauce-to-noodle ratio)
  1. Brown the beef in a large skillet. Add to crockpot and place mushrooms, shallots and garlic on top.
  2. Mix broth, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, thyme and flour until flour is fully incorporated. Add to crockpot along with bay leaf and give the contents of the crockpot a good stir.
  3. Cook 8 to 10 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.
  4. Remove bay leaf and add 4 ounces cream cheese to crockpot about 30 minutes before serving. Let the cream cheese melt for ten minutes, and then stir. Add 8 ounces sour cream. If the sauce seems too thin, add more cream cheese and sour cream. Once the sauce is rich and creamy, add fresh parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Cook a few more minutes until the sauce is warm.

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Article written by Rebecca Talbot and coordinated by VanDuzer Design and Marketing for Lone Star Farm and may also be syndicated on Fig: West Chester and Rachel’s Farm Table.