To this day, the best example of the above phenomena is his recipe for pocket pies. The dough recipe he provided in this particular episode is absolutely incredible and can be used to wrap up all sorts of amazing goodies. For example, one could take yet another zucchini from one’s garden, saute it up with some Italian sausage and potatoes, add a little home made tomato sauce and voila! Instant deliciousness.
This is exactly what I did for dinner last night and it was such a successful combination of flavors that I thought I should share it with the world. So here it is!
Sausage and Zucchini pocket pies
I have found that the easiest way to make these pies is to prepare the dough first. The recipe from Alton Brown is as follows:
9 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 2 cups
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 ounces shortening, approximately 6 tablespoons
3/4 cup milk
1 egg mixed with 1 to 2 teaspoons water
Combine the flour, powder and salt in a bowl and whisk together. Using a pastry blender, cut the shortening (I use butter) into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the milk and mix, turning it out onto a board to kneed a few times until everything is combined. Pat out the dough until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Using a 2 1/4 inch biscuit cutter (or glass rim if you don’t have the aforementioned biscuit cutter) cut circles out of the dough. You can work the scraps back into a 1/2 inch thick piece and cut more as necessary until you’ve used all the dough.
I tend to wait to roll the dough circles out until I have completed the filling so as to avoid having them dry out, however you can do it beforehand if you’d like. Using a rolling pin and a floured board, roll the dough out until it is quite thin, nearly translucent. Perfection is not necessary here and if they end up slightly more square than round, that’s okay!
1 small zucchini, cubed
1 cup cubed, cooked potatoes*
1/2 – 1/3 lb of your favorite loose Italian Sausage – I use the sausage from my farmer’s market.
1/4 c diced onion
2 – 4 TBSP tomato sauce**
2 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste (this will vary depending on the sausage used)
*Boil the potatoes in water until easily penetrated with a fork. Let them cool before cubing them and adding them to your saute.
**If you add too much sauce, you will risk having soggy pies. This is simply a flavor enhancer!
Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat and add the onions when hot. Cook these, stirring frequently, until they become translucent then add the loose sausage. Turn heat to low and let the sausage cook through. Add the cooked potatoes and zucchini, as well as the oregano and sauce, and let cook for a few minutes more. Taste, add the salt and pepper, stir a few times and take off the heat.
At this time you can roll out your pocket pie dough if you haven’t already done so. For this particular recipe I actually made larger pies as I was making dinner and didn’t want to be stingy (it also saves time because you have fewer to roll and fill) so I used a slightly larger circle than mentioned above. As a result, I ended up placing about 4 TBSP of filling in each pie. If you follow the recipe above to the letter, you will only be able to get about 2 TBSP of filling in each pie without them exploding all over your counter.
So, that being said…using your best judgment, place a few tablespoons of the zucchini and sausage filling in the pie. Using a pastry brush, apply the egg wash to the edge of the dough. Take the far edge and fold it over the filling. Fold and press the edges together to make a tight seal. Cut a small slit in the top of the pie to allow air to escape while cooking then place on a baking sheet and continue the process until you have finished all the pies.
Using the remainder of the egg wash, brush the tops of each pie and then sprinkle a generous helping of grated Parmesan on top of each one. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the pies are golden brown on top.
Serve with some more warm tomato sauce on the side and garnish with basil if you want to be fancy. Happy Eating!