Cider-Braised Sausage Pie with Scrunched Phyllo Crust

Automne 2011
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food and drink

BY: Julia Aitken

It’s important to seek out the best-quality sausages from a good butcher for this hearty pie. The finer the sausage, the better the pie.

FILLING
1½ lbs (750 g) good-quality pork sausages
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cups (500 mL) ½-inch (1-cm) cubes of mixed root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, rutabaga and/or celeriac)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
¼ tsp (1 mL) each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup (125 mL) homemade or low-sodium beef or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 cup (250 mL) hard cider
1 tbsp (15 mL) cornstarch
¼ cup (60 mL) crème fraîche or sour cream

PHYLLO CRUST
4 sheets (16 x 12 inches/40 x 30 cm) frozen phyllo pastry, thawed
3 tbsp (45 mL) unsalted butter, melted

1 For filling, remove meat from sausage skins and, with your fingers, break each sausage into 1-inch (2.5-cm) ragged pieces. Heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Cook sausage pieces, in batches, for about 5 minutes or until browned on both sides (sausage won’t be completely cooked). Remove sausage from skillet and set aside on a large plate.

2 Add more oil to skillet if necessary and reduce heat to medium. Add onion and root vegetables, and cook, stirring often, for 5 to 7 minutes or until onion is softened and golden brown.

3 Add garlic, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add stock and bay leaf and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of skillet. Reduce heat to low and cook, tightly covered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until root vegetables are tender.

4 Return sausage to the skillet, along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Add cider and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 10 to 12 minutes or until sausage pieces are no longer pink inside. Discard bay leaf. In a small bowl, sprinkle cornstarch over crème fraîche then stir until smooth. Add crème fraîche mixture to skillet and simmer, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens and is smooth. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary. Spoon sausage mixture into a 6-cup (1.5-L) baking dish and let cool completely. If you’re not completing the pie immediately, cover and refrigerate it until ready to proceed, removing it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before adding the phyllo crust.

5 For phyllo crust, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

6 Lay 1 sheet of phyllo on work surface with a long side toward you. Brush all over with melted butter. Cut sheet in half vertically. Gently scrunch each piece and arrange on top of sausage mixture. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets, arranging scrunched phyllo in a single layer and covering the sausage filling completely. Put dish on a baking sheet. Bake pie for 30 to 40 minutes or until phyllo crust is golden brown and sausage mixture is bubbling, laying a sheet of foil loosely over the dish if phyllo starts to brown too much.

Serves 4 to 6

What to Serve