So Anachrocon is next week and my band, The Gin Rebellion, will be playing. Never heard of Anachrocon? If you like steampunk, alternate history, and creative anachronisms, this is definitely a Con to consider.
Based in Atlanta, this convention is considered one of the main steampunk conventions/events in the US, but it is more than that. Anachrocon is also an event that welcomes fans of other eras/aspects in alternative history such the retro-futuristic, dieselpunk 1940s — or even the Marie Antoinette meets Ziggy Stardust rococopunk. Each year showcases a different era or theme. This year is going to be the Weird Wild West.
On the docket so far we can expect a Wild West Fashion Show, saloon shows, whisky and mead panels/tastings, leather/woodcraft, and even teapot racing! And hey, like I said, we’ll be there. Make sure to drop by our booth if you want to hear some music and talk some food. I digress, however. I imagine you probably want to talk some food right now.
So I will admit I wanted to take a different directions from the southwestern, Tex-Mex fusion I’ve done in the past on this blog. Today I want to go a bit further west to California, home of the 1849 gold rush. This site was probably one of largest convergence of differing cultures in America at the time whether in nationality or in economic status. Many of the various immigrants would hail from all over the world whether just south of the border in Mexico and South America, across the Pacific in China, or even from all the way to the opposite side of the planet in the British Isles. While as you may know, all these cultures have cuisines full of rich, diverse flavors — the strange thing is that they all kept pretty true to themselves at the time.
Since Anachrocon is all about alternate history and anachronisms, I wanted to imagine what would happen if someone had taken the time to blend these culinary traditions together. During the gold rush, Cornish women were reputed to be some of the best camp cooks for their use of sweet and savory ingredients. Their meat pies, aka “pasties” were stupidly popular, and perfect for keeping on hand and ready for a quick break during a long day’s work.
In this light, it would only make sense that an enterprising Cornish cook would create a pie that could appeal to as many workers as possible. If I were her, I would want to use a commonly liked protein that was easy and cheap enough to raise, as well as preserve — so I went with a smoked, pulled pork. Since every miner loves his whiskey, I figured I would use the kind with a Jack Daniels sauce. Then since there would also be so many Chinese miners in the camp, I’d hope to tempt their tastebuds by mixing in some sauces and spices, to imitate the flavors of Char Siu barbecue.
Then to appeal to the Latin American immigrants, I would use saffron rice and lime juice. However, I would still need to appeal to all the workers from home, so I’d better throw in some raisins, celery, and a perfectly baked crust.
So here it is — simple, filling, and perfect to keep you going until sundown at the saloon. Stay hungry, my friends, and I’ll see you at Anachrocon on February 26-28th!
Forty-Niner Gold Rush Pasties
Equipment: Oven, stovetop, pastry brush
- 17.5 oz package of puff pastry, thawed
- 10 oz package saffron rice
- 2.5 cups water
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 shallots, small diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 lb package Jack Daniels Barbecue Pulled Pork
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/4 cup raisins
- juice of one lime
- one egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon water
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Bring 2.5 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan. Pour in contents of rice package and two tablespoons of butter, cover and reduce heat to low. Allow to cook for twenty minutes while preparing other ingredients. Remove from heat when done.
- Heat remaining butter and sesame oil in a skillet. When the butter has melted and the oil is shimmering, add the shallots and celery. Sauté until softened and the shallots are slightly carmelized. Scrape all the vegetables into a mixing bowl.
- In the package or a separate bowl, pull the pulled pork into smaller pieces using two forks. Gradually mix in the five spice powder a 1/4 teaspoon at a time, as well as the soy and hoisin sauces. When thoroughly mixed, add to the mixing bowl of vegetables, stir in the raisins, half of the cooked rice, and the lime juice.
- Roll out the sheets of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut 6 inch diameter circles using a plate or the bottom of a calzone press as a guide.
- Distribute the filling on one side of each the pastry circles, leaving a half inch between the filling and the edge of the circle. Cover the filling on each circle so it makes a half moon shape. It does not have to meet the other edge, but it must touch the pastry seam allowance. Fold the excess pastry over that edge.
- Place pies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Beat the egg with a tablespoon of water and brush to cover all of the pie tops.
- Bake the pies for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool before serving.