Pithivier is a funny word, isn’t it? It’s basically a fancy French word for “hand pie,” and in particular those hand pies filled with meat and other savories. I didn’t set out tonight to make pithiviers, per sé. I was aiming to use the ingredients I had on hand in my kitchen. Of note, I had sausage leftover from Spanish stuffed peppers, barley from barley risotto, yellow zucchini from the farmers market, and a sheet of puff pastry of unknown provenance. The usual staples were in place – pasta, olive oil, lemons, etc. – so I felt confident I could cobble something together. I started scanning through web pages I had bookmarked tagged with those ingredients on del.icio.us. I was looking for something that would be easily adapted to feed one.
And, this is the genesis of my recipe:
- I start by pondering zucchini. These Apple Zucchini Crostini at 101 Cookbooks look really tasty, but they’re not substantial enough for me to make a meal of them. Apple and zucchini sounds amazing, but that’s the only outstanding zucchini recipe. Scratch the zucchini.
- I move on to thinking about the barley. I run across Melissa Clark’s recipe for Baked Apples with Barley-Chorizo Pilaf under my barley recipes. Sausage and apples sound good, too. But, not tonight.
- I’m still hung up on barley and thinking that maybe I should make a mushroom and barley soup. Then I run across this recipe for Jerusalem Artichoke and Mushroom Pithiviers with Barley. It looks really good, but what the hell is a pithivier?
- Wikipedia provides me with the answer: hand pies made with puff pastry. (I have some puff pastry!) Hand pies make think of these awesome pork pies by Melissa Clark that I made a while back.
- Wait a minute. What if I made a pork pie with puff pastry, and filled it with sausage, apples, and zucchini? (Sorry, barley. Maybe tomorrow.) In other words, a pithivier?
So, I can’t feign that I popped into my kitchen and just invented this dish out of nowhere. I’m not that clever. But, I can assure you that it is absolutely delicious. It’s very easy – surprisingly so. The only change I would make next time is to make one single, larger pithivier. I wasn’t sure how much filling I would have, so I made two smaller ones. It still came out to a single serving, but I’d rather consume less pastry overall. The flavors are bright, but the warm filling and flaky pastry make this incredibly satistfying and comforting. This is very fun to eat on the sofa while watching TV. Not to mention, this is also very easy to eat there, as well. I served this, in classic English fashion, with a watercress salad.
Sausage, Zucchini, and Apple Pithiviers
- 1 sheet puff pastry, unrolled and defrosted
- 1 link pork sausage, about 1/2 C of meat
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 C Vidalia onion, chopped
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 C apple, cut in 1/4 inch dice
- 3/4 C zucchini
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 T parsley
- 1 T pine nuts
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg
Unroll the puff pastry and defrost it. When the pastry is defrosted, roll it out until it is about 15″ x 18.” Cut two circles out of the pastry, one about 7″ in diameter, the other about 8″. Set aside. Preheat oven to 400º. Remove the sausage from its casing and crumble it into a mixing bowl. Heat a tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sprinkle with salt. Saute until the onion is tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Next, add the apples and continue to saute. After 1-2 minutes, add the zucchini. Saute for another minute or two, then remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice, parsley, and pine nuts. Add this to the sausage in the mixing bowl. Combine well with your hands.