Do you know when your just on the verge of a great idea and you just can’t quite finish it off in your mind. Well I did on Saturday night! From a recent trip I had some Smoothound in the freezer (a type of very common UK shark) and I wanted to make the most of its strong flavour. I was feeling a little sorry for myself as I had been out the previous night and well.. I was still feeling a little delicate and needed some comfort food. So I came up with this recipe.. It makes 5 large pasties and served with an extremely flavoursome potato salad it is perfect for any fish dish when accompanied by some lemony Asparagus it was just what I needed!
Smoothound and Chorizo Pasty
250g Plain Flour
Bunch of Lemon Thyme
1 Kg of Smooth hound
3 Large New Potatoes (I used Jersey Royals)
12cm section of Chorizo
1/2 small white onion
2 Tbsp Crème Fraiche
Half a cup of Frozen Peas
1 Egg to glaze
From the Garden:
Bunch of Parsley
First for the pastry. Pastry really is only hard, if you make it hard… Follow the recipe be gentle and act quickly and you’ll have perfect Pasty pastry!
Heap your flour on a clean work surface, make a well in the centre and add the chopped soft Butter, Salt, Sugar, chopped de-stalked Lemon Thyme and the Egg. Using your fingers start to combine and rub the ingredients together. It will take a few minutes to combine but keep going until you have a crumbly mix. Now add a little milk to the mix and start to bring the pastry together into a single ball – if the pastry is not coming together add a little more milk. Once the ball has come together kneed it gently for a short while (no more than 30 seconds!!) wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for an hour – pastry done!
Now for the filling, Smoothound has a single cartilaginous bone that runs down the centre of its body. Start by removing the flesh from this bone and then cutting the meat into chunks about 2cm x 2cm when the fish cooks in the pastry you want to have defined mouthfuls of fish so don’t cut the fish into to smaller pieces. Once finished put the fish into a suitably sized glass bowl. Now for your Chorzio. This can be cut into small cubes as they will hold together nicely in the pasty. Once chopped add to the fish.
A large Jersey Royal is not a large potato, I only add the potato to give a texture so please remember not to add to much potato to the mix (fish should be at least ¾’s of the pasty mix). Chop into small squares the size of your Chorizo and add to the pasty mix. Next take your half a small onion and cutting across the onion as thin as you can cut paper thin slices of the onion. Again when finished add the onion to the pasty mix. Chop your parsley and add to the pasty mix along with the still frozen peas. Stir in the Crème Fraiche and season very generously – you only get one opportunity to season so please make sure you get some in there! At this point the mix looks good enough to eat as it is, beautifully coloured with white, green and red don’t of course as we are now ready to assemble the dish.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
You’ll need a medium sized plate, just smaller than a normal dinner plate but bigger than a side plate. Take your pastry from the fridge, flatten it a bit and cut into 5 equal sized pieces. Take one of the pieces of pastry dough flour the surface with a rolling pin roll out until the pastry is the size of your plate. The pastry needs to be thick enough to hold together but thin enough that you don’t just taste the pastry when you bite into the pasty. Place your plate on top and using a sharp knife cut around the plate to make a perfect round. In the centre of the pasty spoon in your mix, now again its all about generosity here! Look at your bowl of mix – it seems a lot but we want 5 fat pasties out of the mix so fill your pasty generously, the last thing you want after al this effort is to be disappointed when you bite into it. Once the pasty has a large pile of the pasty mix in the centre using a pastry brush wet one half edge with a little milk. Pull the other half the pasty over so that the dry edge touches the wet and you have a half moon shape in front of you. Gently but firmly pinch the pastry together whilst trying to remove any air from the pasty. You don’t want any holes in the pastry and the crimped edge needs to secure the whole delicious package together.
Sit the proud pasty crimped side up on a greased baking dish and then repeat the process until you have 5 fat pasties on a baking tray. The final act required, aside of the cooking is to glaze the pasty. Using your pastry brush simple break an egg into a cup mix until the white and yolk are combined and then gently brush over the pasties making sure that you cover the crimp and sides evenly.
They are going to take 30 – 35 minutes in the oven, don’t take them out until they are golden brown!
I served the pasties with a warm Jersey Royal salad which can be made by adding the following ingredients; half a kg or Jersey Royals cut into small pieces and boiled. Finely diced and sliced white onion, cucumber, capers, Dill and moistened with Mayonnaise, Whole grain mustard and then seasoned. Really nice potato salad to have with fish, especially if you have some lemony Asparagus with it too!!
Anyway back the Smoothound and Chorizo Pasties. Be careful as they are volcanic hot when they come out of the oven but as for flavour… Oh my!
The Smoothound is a strong flavour that can stand up to other strong flavours. As you bite into the soft crumbly herb pastry the first flavour that fills your mouth is a lemon buttery flavour of the delicate pastry, the fish comes next closely followed by the sweet paprika of the Chorizo. Next the Sweet peas and the complicated flavours hint at Parsley too…
There aren’t many Smoothound recipes out there, but my god there should be. This underrated fish is simply lovely.
Brilliant comfort food too!
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