Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sausage and Spinach Hand Pies

Move over Hot Pockets! There's a new pastry-wrapped meat creation in town!

To be honest, I've never (to my present knowledge) eaten a Hot Pocket, but I still feel secure in my contention that this is far superior.

Wrap anything in flaky pastry and I'm on board. These puppies are good hot out of the oven (not too hot, though, or you'll burn your mouth on some spinach!) or at room temperature for lunch the next day. I've been in class until 12:30 most days lately, so my lunch tends to be eaten in the car on the long drive home. This is a great driving lunch because it only requires one hand (unlike some of the things I've attempted to eat on the way home . . . good thing Route 1 has tons of traffic lights!).

One thing I am changing from the original recipe is the egg wash - for some reason it called for watering down the egg wash. I think that's why our hand pies didn't turn a lovely shade of golden brown on top. Also, the original called for far too much Parmesan cheese on top, so I cut it down. Finally, next time I would roll out my dough more carefully, endeavoring to make actual circles. The odd shapes caused some problems when they were folded over and the edges didn't meet. (I can get away with this while making pie dough because I cut off the unruly edges!)

Sausage and Spinach Hand Pies
Adapted from Cooking Light April 2011.

olive oil cooking spray
2/3 c red potatoes, diced (the recipe says to peel them, but I might not bother next time since I like the skins)
1/3 c red bell pepper, diced
1/3 c yellow onion, diced
2 links Italian sausage, casings removed (I used local Simply Grazin' sausage that I bought at Whole Foods)
3 c baby spinach
2 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 single pie crust (you could use a store bought crust as the recipe suggests, but I don't see the point since they're so easy to make fresh - the recipe I use is here)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray (please remove it from the burner before doing so!). Add potatoes, bell pepper and onion to the pan and cook 4 minutes, until onion begins to brown, stirring frequently.

Add the sausage and cook 4 more minutes, breaking up the meat as you stir. Stir in spinach and cook 2 minutes, until wilted. Stir in basil, salt and red pepper. Remove from heat.

Cut pie dough into four equal portions. Roll each portion into a 5" circle (like I said above, try to get yours rounder than I did!). Spoon about 1/2 c of the potato mixture into the center of each circle, leaving a 1/2" border.

Fold the dough over the mixture until the edges meet. Bring the bottom edge of the dough over the top edge and crimp the edges to form a rim (I did an ugly job of this - it's not as easy as it may sound).

Place hand pies on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown.

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