The MSBH has a good assortment of savory recipes in addition to all of the sweet pastries and desserts. This recipe is delicious, fairly easy, and quick too if you already have some pâte brisée made up.
I opted not to use sausage and instead used Italian-marinated tempeh. I think tempeh works best as a healthy/vegetarian substitution for sausage and ground meat in most recipes – it has the texture of ground beef and can be seasoned to taste good in almost any recipe. I know they make soy-based vegetarian “sausage” but I’ve never found any that tastes good and isn’t processed to death with fillers and junk. It’s just nasty. But tempeh is delicious and I actually prefer it over meat – it’s not just a substitution – it simply tastes better than meat to me.
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone has a thorough section on how to cook with tempeh. The Post-Punk Kitchen also has some great information and even videos on how to work with it if you poke around their site a bit. Once you know the basics, it’s easy to work tempeh into lots of dishes.
You need to steam it first, or simply boil it in some water for a few minutes to soften it before the marinade. I sliced up 8 oz of tempeh, boiled for 3 minutes, then chopped into smaller pieces and tossed in a marinade of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, chopped garlic, salt & pepper, and some Italian spices I had handy.
Other than the substitution of tempeh for sausage, I followed the MSBH recipe exactly. I sauteed onions, fresh fennel, and red pepper flakes in olive oil until caramelized.
Then diced tomatoes are added, then feta cheese and fresh parsley along with salt and pepper and then the sausage (or marinated tempeh, as it were).
A recipe of pâte brisée is rolled out and cut into 5-inch squares. About 1/2-cup of the filling is put in the middle and the corners are folded in.
The formed pies are brushed with eggwash and fennel seeds are sprinkled on top just before baking.
One thing I’ll do differently in the future is to roll out the dough much thinner and then chill the formed pies before baking. About half of the pies didn’t stay folded – the corners unfolded themselves in the oven.
But the ones that stayed folded were really impressive and they tasted GREAT. You can actually eat them with your hands without a mess. I love the fennel – both the sliced, sauteed fennel that’s in the filling and the fennel seeds on top. Fennel is probably one of my favorite ingredients to cook and bake with.