Friday, February 1, 2008

Sausage-Fennel Hand Pies

These delightful hand pies are a bit of work--you make the crust, make the filling, and then cut up the crust into little squares and fold in the filling. But they're definitely worth it. Extra yummy, extra sausage-and-fennel-y, and extra fun with the little "hand pie" design.

Sausage-Fennel Hand Pies (from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook)

1/4 c EVOO (optional)
1 pound sweet italian sausage, casings removed
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 small head fennel (about 1 pound), trimmed, cored, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
6 plum tomatoes, quartered, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
pate brisee (see below)
1 large egg, lightly beaten, 3 T fennel seeds, lightly toasted

1. Heat 2 T oil in a large skillet over medium heat (no need if you have a non-stick pan as the sausage will release oil). Crumble sausage into pan and cook until browned, 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.
2. If needed, add more oil--depending on your sausage, you may not need any. Add the onion and cook 2 minutes (or a tad longer if you like your onion really soft). Add fennel and red pepper flakes, season with S&P. Cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is tender, 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until they release their juices, 3-4 minutes. Add reserved sausage. Remove from heat and let cool COMPLETELY. This is a good time to roll out the crust. When the filling is cooled, add feta and stir in.
3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with tin foil. Now roll out 12 5x5 squares of dough from the pate brisee recipe (below). You can do this a lot of ways. I divided my dough into 3 pieces and made 4 squares out of each piece, rolling everything out between wax paper.
4. Put 1/2 c filling in the middle of each square, and then fold the corners up to cover it (shouldn't be completely sealed or anything). Lay them out on the baking sheet--they don't rise so I was able to fit all 12 on my sheet (admittedly it's an extra large sized one).
5. Brush tops with egg and sprinkle on fennel seeds. Bake until golden brown, 40 minutes (actually less in my oven). Cool slightly and serve warm.

Pate Brisee

2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp salt
2 sticks cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 c ice water

Combine the flour and salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles course crumbs. While machine is running, add ice water slowly until dough just holds together without being wet or sticky. You might need to add a little more water depending on how humid it is. Then chill the dough at least 1 hour or overnight.

Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Athenos.

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