Spinach, Egg and Chinese Sausage Pie

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I woke up yesterday morning, feeling nostalgic for Easters as a child, where, if I’m remembering this correctly (it was either Christmas or Easter), Mum would always make the most amazing bacon, egg and cheese pie. It was so delicious, and such a treat for us all to sit down and share breakfast together. I’m sure Mum was trying to fill our bellies with something wholesome to prevent us from making ourselves sick on Easter eggs. I was always the type to eat as many chocolate eggs as I possibly could, running out in a couple of days, where, my little brother, would save his for so long that they would start to turn white. I’m pretty sure he did this just to annoy me.

We always had a such an awesome time on the Sunday morning Easter egg hunt. Our Mum was a genius at making it seem like the Easter Bunny had been to our house, going as far as muddy rabbit paw prints through the house and half eaten carrots on the back porch. She was also fantastic at hiding the eggs, so good that we’d be finding them in the backyard for weeks to come. I can’t wait to do this for my kids one day!

Anyway, back to this pie. Yesterday being Good Friday, nothing was open to be able to buy the necessary ingredients to make this pie as I reminder, so, I had to make do with what we had. Which turned out to be absolutely delicious!! The eggs, spinach and basil all came from the backyard, and since living up here I’ve been keeping a constant stock of chinese sausage (lap cheong) in the cupboard, as it is just so flavoursome and can add a lot to asian dishes. I had to make do with the little amount of butter that we had for the pastry, but I think the mixture of butter and olive oil worked perfectly, with the parmesan giving an extra boost. You could serve this at any time of the day, with some spicy barbecue or tomato sauce and a little side salad (or not, up to you). Just make sure you place a marker, such as a little pastry leaf, on top of the pastry lid, where you have placed the eggs, so that you can cut right down through the centre of each to serve. Just cause it looks really cool. As you can see, the chickens only gave us three eggs this day. You could replace the chinese sausage with bacon or chorizo, or even some feta or haloumi for a vegetarian pie.

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Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients
Pastry
270g plain flour
40g parmesan, finely grated
40g cold butter, cut into cubes
1/4 olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
Filling
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
120g chinese sausage (lap cheong), finely sliced
120g brazilian spinach (or any other type of spinach), roughly chopped
400g can crushed tomatoes
130g grated cheddar cheese
large handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
4 eggs
milk, for brushing
Spicy barbecue sauce or tomato relish, to serve

Method
In a large bowl, sift the flour, add the salt and parmesan, stir to combine. Add the butter and olive oil and, using your fingers, rub the mixture together until it resembles sand. Add the water and use a spoon to combine. Knead briefly to bring it all together, about 1 min, until smooth. Wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for half an hour.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and onion and cook, stirring, about 4 mins, until soft. Add the garlic and sausage and cook, stirring, for a further 4 mins, or until starting to turn golden. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, for 1 min, until wilted. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until simmering. Allow to simmer for 5mins, stirring often. Transfer mixture to a bowl and allow to cool slightly.
Add the grated cheese and basil and some salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease and line a 20cm spring form cake tin.
Take the pastry from the fridge and cut away two thirds of it to use for the base. Roll out into a 30cm circle and then carefully press into the prepared tin. Prick the base with a fork and place in the oven. Cook for 15mins, until dry. Remove from the oven.
Pour the pie filing into the pastry case. Make four holes in the mixture and crack an egg into each. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top each egg.
Roll out the remaining pastry into a 25cm circle. Brush the edges of the case with milk. Carefully place the lid on top and press together the edges to seal. Brush the edges and all over the top with milk. Pierce a hole in the middle for steam to release. Use the pastry cutoffs to mark where the eggs are, if you wish. Sprinkle with salt.
Bake the pie for 45-55mins, until golden and crunchy on the edges. Remove from oven.
Allow to sit for about 10mins before cutting.
Serve with sauce and salad, if desired.
Enjoy!

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