Sunday, 3 January 2016

Rustic Ham and Egg Pie

Getting the most out of the food we buy and grow is an essential part of the simpler life we are crafting here at our place. Planning and purchasing food wisely, making healthy meals from scratch, using up leftovers in creative ways and making multiple meals from meat and produce are key ways that stretch our food dollars and reduce food waste in the process. A win, win situation!

So, when I purchased a half leg of ham to serve at Christmas lunch, I wasn't just thinking about one meal on that special day. I was thinking ahead to all the other meals I could make from that delicious ham. Toasted sandwiches, fritters, salads, pea and ham soup (for quick homemade meals from the freezer) and moreish pies have all come from that one Christmas ham.

Slices of a rustic Ham & Egg Pie

Ham and egg pie, with spinach and onion and tomato, was a simple and nutritious discovery this festive season.  Inspired by this recipe, from Teresa Cutter (a.k.a. The Healthy Chef), and using up what I had on hand, I made this rustic and delicious pie. I opted for ready-made Butter Puff Pastry instead of making my own pastry because I had one and a half sheets of it left in the freezer and couldn't think of a better way to use it up. By choosing this option, it was very quick to assemble. This is how I made it:

Rustic Ham and Egg Pie

2 sheets ready-made puff pastry
olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small capsicum, diced
100g leg ham, diced
1 large handful of baby spinach, washed and stalks removed
thin slices of fresh tomato
small handful of fresh parsley, washed and finely chopped
4 fresh eggs
black pepper

1.  Defrost pastry and preheat oven to temperature recommended on pastry packaging. (Mine required a hot oven set at 220 degrees celcius.)
2. Choose a medium-sized pie dish and line it with baking paper to prevent pastry from sticking to dish during cooking. (Make sure your pie dish will allow pastry to ease up sides of dish to form sides of your pie.)
3.  Lightly fry onion and capsicum in frypan with a glug of olive oil.
4.  Sprinkle fried onion and capsicum over pastry base of your pie.
5.  Sprinkle diced leg ham pieces and parsley over onion and capsicum.
6.  Lay baby spinach leaves over top of ham, onion and capsicum.
7.  Top spinach leaves with a layer of fresh tomato slices.
8.  Crack the eggs, one a a time, over the tomato layer. (You want to try to keep the white and yolk intact as  they plop onto your tomatoes.) Season with black pepper.
9.  Gently fold in sides of your pastry over the edges of the pie filling.
10. Cut remaining sheet of pastry into 2cm wide strips and lay them, in a criss-cross pattern if you wish, over the top of your pie filling. Pinch pastry together where strips meet edges of your pie.
11. Bake in oven until pastry has puffed, egg yolks have set and pie is golden brown.
12. Slice and serve warm or cold for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Enjoy!

Fresh ingredients for the pie.

The makings of a delicious pie filling.

Eggs will cook in the oven.

Pastry sides folded in and pastry strips on top.

This pie is so easy to make and the variations are endless. You can substitute bacon for the ham. You could add fresh sweetcorn kernels or roasted capsicum. You could use shredded silverbeet (chard) or kale instead of the baby spinach. You could sprinkle with parmesan cheese or crumble in some creamy feta. You could serve it with a fresh salad and some homemade chutney. You could make your own pastry! 

Whatever version you make of it, be sure you breathe in deeply as it cooks. The aroma wafting through our house while it was baking was mouth-watering. Mmm!


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