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Friday, December 31, 2010

Foody Friday: Savory Pies

I love making savory pies for an easy entree when entertaining. They're easy to make, so the pies simply bake while you chat with your guests or obsessively fold your napkins into fancy shapes. This Christmas I made four pies for a Christmas party, but these warm comfort foods would also be a perfect last minute dinner for New Year's Eve!
For my pies, I used pre-prepared refrigerated pie crusts. It's not my first choice, but I compromised since I had to make so many pies. I always keep some prepared crusts in my fridge or a ball of pie crust dough in the freezer that I can thaw when needed. It's a good idea when baking pies to cover the rims with foil or a pie shield so they don't get too dark - especially as well-stuffed savory pies take awhile to bake.
 I decided to share just two pie recipes here because my other two pies from our Christmas party, spinach-tofu and pork-apple pot pie, are so recipe-less that I just can't trust my memory to recreate the same dish. This is what comes of never using recipes! But the two pies features here are not only extremely easy but were a big hit.

1. Portobello- bacon pie
This pie takes almost no effort at all and makes a lovely light lunch or dinner. Mushrooms are excellent foils for alcohol, as they soak up the flavor like little sponges. You can prepare the filling ahead to develop flavors more fully; to prevent the mushrooms from overcooking, make sure they are barely wilting when you remove the pan from the heat. Put in the refrigerator as soon as possible.

1 shallot, chopped
1 package bacon, chopped
3 boxes portobellos or any mushroom, cleaned and coarsely sliced.
1 shot sweet sherry
1/3 C brandy
salt and pepper
1 Tbs whole wheat flour
Brown the bacon and shallot in a large heavy saucepan; when nearly brown drain fat completely and continue to cook so bacon starts to stick. Deglaze pan by quickly adding alcohol and stirring vigorously, scraping all the stuck bits off the bottom. Turn heat down; stir in mushrooms and season to taste; when mushrooms start to shrink (only a minute or so) turn off heat and stir in flour. Place in a pie crust; top; seal edges and cut vents in the top. Bake at 375 until crust is nicely brown.
When done, allow to sit for a few minutes before cutting. 
Because all the pie got eaten before I got a photo, I had to steal a similar picture from here.

2. Savory Pumpkin Pie
I made this up as I went along, but it turned into an outstanding dish. The pie had a wonderful flavor, and the crispy-browned sausage contrasted nicely with the creamy pumpkin. I'll definitely be repeating this one - especially since I only got a sliver as my piggy brothers wolfed the rest down right under my nose! 

1 lb bulk sausage (or sausage removed from its casing) - I use Rouse's store-made green onion sausage, buit this would also be good with hot Italian sausage.
2 eggs
15 ounce can of packed pumpkin
12 ounce can of evaporated milk
1 tsp salt (use less if your sausage is salty)
1/4 tsp black pepper (adjust based on how spicy your sausage is)
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp sage
Brown sausage, chopping up as you cook to make sure the pieces are small. When well-browned, drain completely.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl beat eggs and add remaining ingredients. Stir well to combine and pour into prepared crust. Sprinkle sausage evenly over the top (it will sink slightly but should stay near the top). Bake at 350 for 45 - 50 minutes. When cooked, you can touch the center and it will be firm. Note that the color of this pie will be lighter than sweet pumpkin pie although it is fully cooked.


  1. Yum! They look great. I never would have thought of a bacon + mushroom pie but that sounds delicious.

    Happy New Year!