I love reviewing cookbooks - it gives me a chance to cook and experience recipes that I would not otherwise find. Such is the case with Savory Pies by Greg Henry. It is a gem of a book. No sweet pies will be found in this book though. All of the beautifully presented recipes are filled with vegetables, meats, poultry, seafood recipes that have some sort of crust. Traditional crusts, of course, are included but you'll also cobblers, filo pastry crusts, tarts, flat breads, and even hand pies.The book is divided into useful sections including crusts, appies, main course - meat and seafood, main course - vegetarian, and hand pies. The pictures will make you hungry! The instructions are clear and a nice bonus are the 'wine pairing' side bars that are included with many recipes.
The recipes will appeal to family nights (chicken pot pie and mac-n-cheese pie with potato crust) as well as fancier parties (carmelized fennel and onion pissaladiere or lamb and apricot phyllo cups). I plan on trying quite a few over the coming months.
The book itself is about 200 pages, soft cover and just the right size - it won't take up too much space on your cookbook shelf but I am guessing it will be well used!
The first recipe I tried was Sausage and Red Pepper Polenta Cobbler. It sounded like a hearty meal with a healthy dose of veggies! I also love one pot meals that can be brought to the table straight from the oven!
The instructions were easy to follow and the recipe had enough leeway to customize it a bit (e.g. adding garlic and paprika, switching cheddar for the parmesan, buttermilk for the cream etc) without affecting the end result. The polenta cobbler was outstanding and the sausage and veggies combined deliciously to keep you going back bite after bite until it was all gone! The recipe says it serves 4 but I think it could easily serve 6.
Ulysses Press has given permission to reprint the original recipe below. And if you like savory pies go and buy this book!
Sausage and Red Pepper Polenta Cobbler
Savory Pies by Greg Henry. Ulysses Press, 2012. ISBN 978-1-61243-106-2
- Sausage and Red Pepper Polenta Cobbler
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 or 5 spicy Italian sausages (about 1 pound),
- removed from their casings
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and thinly
- 2 red bell peppers, halved and sliced lengthwise
- into ¼-inch strips
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 cups loosely packed baby spinach (about 3
- ½ cup quick-cooking polenta mix or yellow
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) chilled, unsalted butter,
- cut into ½-inch dice
- 1¼ cups heavy cream, plus 1 tablespoon for
- Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch cast-iron
- or other ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and season
- with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until browned, breaking up with a
- wooden spoon, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausage from
- the skillet. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons fat.
- Add the onion to the skillet and cook,
- stirring occasionally, until somewhat softened, about 5 minutes. Add the pepper
- strips and cook 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with
- salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk together
- ¼ cup flour and the tomato paste. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth until well
- combined; add to the skillet. Stir in the spinach and sausage and cook about 2
- minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and adjust the
- seasoning, if needed. (The filling may be prepared several hours ahead to this point;
- let come to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate.)
- Place an oven rack in the center position.