Saturday, August 9, 2014

Savory Pork & Zucchini Egg Pie

Hot from the oven, similiar to quiche without the extra calories from a pastry crust perfect for a night you do not have much time. This recipe is quick and easy to put together

It seems it is the season to use up all of those zucchini that we have growing in the garden. Just one simple plant can grow all of the zucchini or more than a family can eat. Some of my favorite dishes to make are zucchini lasagna, zucchini moussaka, and of course my favorite zucchini bread. This is another of my favorite zucchini recipes, especially when the heat is rising and eating a light meal is much preferable. I have been making this frittata pie for about ten years now. It is similar to a quiche, but the crust is made from cooked ground pork. If you choose to, the crust could also be made from ground sausage meat (out of the casing)

Originally I found this recipe in one of the healthy eating magazines, only I can no longer remember which one. I have found that even those who do not like zucchini like this pie. The zucchini almost dissappears when it is cooked. One of my daughters does not like meat (even as a baby), but she does not mind sausage, so this recipe works good for her too. The nicest features of this pie are that you can use up an abundance of zucchini, it is quick and easy to make, it is fairly low in fat and it is really good.

1 lb of ground pork (or sausage of your choice)
1 medium zucchini, grated (3 cups)
1 medium tomato (I prefer Roma as they have more flesh and fewer seeds)
5 to 7 eggs, beaten (depends on the size of the eggs)
1/4 cup of water or milk of your choice ( I used almond milk as I have a dairy allergy)
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese (optional)*
olive oil, 1 tbsp
Non Stick spray of your choice
salt & pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp chili flakes

I could not find any of my pie plates so I had to use a round cake pan. It did not change the dish at all. 

In a non stick skillet, add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the ground pork and with your spoon break it into smaller pieces while it cooks. You want small chunks of meat, when you are done cooking the meat. Add the crushed garlic clove, salt and pepper to taste (or alternative), 1 teaspoon of chili powder and the crushed chili flakes. If you have a favorite seasoning you could change the spices for your favorites. If you are using sausage meat I would not season it more than how it comes as it is already seasoned. 

While your meat is browning, grate the zucchini. You will need about 3 cups in total. Crack your eggs into a separate bowl, beat with a whisk like you would for scrambeled eggs. Add the 1/4 cup of water or milk to the eggs and whisk until blended. Adding the water or milk softens the eggs and makes them cook up more fluffy and light. Slice your tomato into thin slices.

Spray your pie plate with non stick spray. When your pork is browned (no pink) and seasoned, drain any fat that remaines in the meat. Add the cooked ground pork to the bottom of your prepared pie plate.

I recently got introduced to freshly grated nutmeg, and now will not be going back to the already grated. Wow does it taste better.

The remainder to the recipe goes together very quickly. Layer the grated zucchini on top of the pork. If you are using cheese add it in the next layer on top of the zucchini. Slowly pour the beaten eggs on top of the pie. It should add a full covering of the pie. You want it to fill any openings between the ingredients that are already in the pie plate. If you find the dish is not filled beat up one or two more eggs with a tablespoon of water and pour it over the dish. Eggs come in many sizes so you never know for sure how many it will take. You want all of the zuchini and cheese covered. The egg will sink down between all of the ingredients so that later when you slice the pie it will all stay together.

Sprinkle the top of your pie with ground nutmeg. I use freshly grated nutmeg as the flavour is soooo nice. Place the sliced tomatoes in random order on top of the pie.

You can prepare to this point in advance (night before) if you choose to, but it really goes together very quickly. I like to cover my rack, or a covered cookie sheet to catch any spills as sometimes as the egg rises you can have an overflow, and then you would need to clean your oven. I avoid this at all costs as my oven is not self cleaning, and who wants to turn the oven on high heat in the summer.

Bake your pie at 350 degrees for a half hour. Use a skewer to check for doneness. If it comes out with egg sticking to it, bake another 10 minutes. When it comes out clean it is done. It should be lightly browned on top and no longer jiggle. Remove the pie from the oven when it is done and place it on a rack to rest for about 5 or 10 minutes. My husband hates eggs that are even a little bit undercooked. I am the oposite, I would rather have my eggs a little soft than overcooked.

It can be served hot or cold your choice. I like to serve mine with a nice green salad in the summer. I prefer it hot, but it tastes great cold or room temperature too. Slice it like a pie to serve. I usually get six or eight servings depending on the size of the pie plate and how you slice it.

This is one of those utensils that you only use once in a while, but it is so needed when you serve as it lets you serve the pie wedges perfectly. A spatula will probably not give you the best results.

 Use a pie server to scoop the pie from the plate. If you do not have one you can use a spatula but your pieces might not come out perfect. This is a perfect dish to take on a picnic, as it is very good at room temperature too.

* I usually make mine without cheese as I have a dairy allergy. Sometimes I use daiya cheese but some of the family are not crazy about it. In case you do not know what daiya is, you find it in the cheese section of the grocery store, but it is dairy and soy free. It sort of tastes like velveeta cheese. You can also use cheeses other than cheddar. Feta or gouda would be really good with the sausage meat.

Eggs are such a versatile ingredient. You get protein from them, they are easy to cook, and they are not very high in calories. But best of all if you get the organic and free range eggs they come with no additives. We do not have too many foods in the supermarket that are not full of ingredients we cannot read.

Have a wonderful week

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