Sunday, 29 April 2007

Sausage and Spinach Pie

'A pie is just what we all know should be emanating from the kitchen of a domestic goddess.' Nigella

I cheated slightly for my first official contribution to this blog. I cooked something I've actually made before, but only recently and I didn't do it at all properly the first time (was in a hurry, and hurrying with pie making could have disastrous consequences!)

The Sausage and Spinach Pie comes third in her series on pies made in a springform tin. I liked the idea immediately. I had visions of a deep, heavy construction packed full of fabulous ingredients.

That's kinda what I got.

The Verdict: The combination of spinach and skinless sausage, with great ingredients like sage thrown in, makes for an incredibly tasty savoury pie.

Unusual or substituted ingredients:
The recipe asks for 500g of cumberland sausages. I'm not sure they're readily available here so I just used good quality fat Italian sausages - you want the ones that have actual meat in them, not soggy, mushed up unidentifiable meat product.

The fun part is slicing open the sausages and pressing out the innards. But does anyone want to guess what a shed sausage skin looks like when it's empty of its insides? Best not discussed, I'm sure.

If you've never made pastry, do it. Be not afraid!

Nigella's pie pastry is very good and very easy. Bung it all in the food processor, blitz, wrap in gladwrap and then 30 minutes later, roll it out in the pie dish/tin. The amount the recipe makes is not a lot, so it forces you to roll it out quite thin so you don't end up with a heavy, sodden base. It's an incredibly light pie crust. I don't know if it's normal to add sugar to a savoury crust, but the 1tbs of caster sugar Nigella asks you to add seems to work very well.

Special Utensils or cookware: You'll need a large springform cake tin (mine is 23cm) and a food processor makes the pastry easy and no fuss.

Sauciness: My husband adores this pie. Anything with good quality sausages smooshed up inside it is guaranteed to make him ecstatic and very affectionate. So, the sausiness level of this pie is high!

Repeatability: You bet. This pie, and the basic idea of it, will become a standard in my winter kitchen.

Overall pleasure rating: This one's getting a 7.5 out of ten (ten being 'a mouthful of heaven'). It loses points for being not quite as easy to assemble as Nigella says. It's hard to get the depth of shape you might expect from a pie made in a deep tin. And when I make it again, I'll try harder to reduce the liquid - a lot of liquid came out of the spinach, even though I ran it through the salad spinner.