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November 13, 2019

SAUSAGE GNOCCHI AND LEEK MINI POT PIES

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These mini pot pies with Italian sausage, gnocchi, and leek are the perfect comfort food for cold nights. They feel extra special when served with beautifully embossed crusts. 

Sausage Gnocchi and Leek Mini Pot Pie
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This post was made possible courtesy of Embossed. All opinions and ideas expressed are my own.


Hi there friends! Now that we have changed the clock back for daylight savings, I can honestly say I dread the next six months. It will soon feel as if I'm living in perpetual darkness. (Welcome to November in New England!) It's going to be especially depressing on work days. There will be darkness driving to work and darkness coming home. As it is, sunlight is a distant memory by 5:00pm.


This time of year makes me want to change into warm fuzzy clothes and hibernate as soon as I walk through the door. I'm pretty much living a groundhog's life but with heat, furniture, indoor plumbing...and chocolate. Wintery days also make me want to seek comfort food, which usually means I'm after all things warm and cozy.



Sausage Gnocchi and Leek Mini Pot Pie
Unbaked Mini Pot Pies 


Pot pies are ultimate comfort foods. They are hearty and always hit the spot. These consist of Italian sausage, tender potato gnocchi, and oniony leeks are no exception. The sausage is savory and salty; the mild gnocchi balances out the saltiness; and the leeks add color and mild onion flavor. Serve with a side of salad for a delicious family dinner. Or enjoy it curled up on the couch, wrapped up in a warm blanket watching TV on a lazy night by yourself or with your other half. 

One of the most irresistible things about pot pies is the flaky and tender pie crust, which satisfies those carb cravings. And when you add an embossed pattern, an ordinary meal becomes a little fancier.


Sausage Gnocchi and Leek Mini Pot Pie



The beautiful floral patterns on these crusts were created with an embossed rolling pin. It is heirloom quality and comes in a number of patterns. All rolling pins made by Embossed are carved from 100% high-grade solid beechwood and are 100% food safe. To boot, they are also BPA and toxin free. I feel really good using it.

I use homemade pie crusts, but store bought would work in a pinch. With homemade, you have more control over the thickness of the dough, which is a factor for these pot pies. Store bought pie crusts might not be as thick to start out with and will yield thinner than desired end product. If it is worked too much, it might become tough. Although I have balled up store bought dough and re-rolled to desired thickness with great results. 


To apply the pattern,  roll the dough to 3/16-inch (slightty more that 1/8-inch) thick with a standard rolling pin. Once that is completed, use moderate pressure with the embossed rolling pin to apply the pattern. The pie crust is flattened to about 1/8-inch during the process, which is the ideal thickness. 


Sausage Gnocchi and Leek Mini Pot Pie



I prefer to bake these pie crusts light as it best showcases the embossed pattern. To achieve this, pie shields are used to protect the edges and prevent over browning. Additionally, rotating the pies during baking prevents hot spots and helps produce even coloring throughout. Instructions on how to make pie shields from aluminum foil  are detailed in the recipe card.

Hope to see you back here soon!



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SAUSAGE GNOCCHI AND LEEK 
MINI POT PIES 

Sausage Gnocchi and Leek Mini Pot Pie


INGREDIENTS:


1 1/2 pound Italian sausage links, skin removed
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil, 
2 1/2 cup leek, sliced into 1/8-inch thick
3 cloves garlic, chopped 
2 3/4 cups water 
4 teaspoons sodium free chicken bouillon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 rounded teaspoons sugar
1 pound package gnocchi
2 teaspoons cornstarch + 2 tablespoon water for slurry
Pie crust recipe here or 2 9-inch store bought pie crusts




INSTRUCTIONS:

Prior to preparing the filling, make pie dough. Divide into 4 equal portions. Form into 1-inch discs. Wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Combine cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Set aside. 

Add oil to a preheated a 4-quart pan on medium to medium high heat. Add sausage, breaking into small chunks as it browns, about 8-10 minutes. Reduce to medium low. Take pan off the heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage onto a paper towel lined plate. Keep just enough fat in the pan to coat the bottom. 

Return pan to back to heat. Add leek and garlic. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Stir to loosen up bits from the bottom of the pan halfway through. Add 2 tablespoons of water if leek or garlic begins to brown.

Increase heat to medium high. Add water, bouillon, pepper, and sugar. Once liquid comes to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 2 minutes.

Add gnocchi. Stir and submerge into the liquid. Bring heat back to medium high. Cover. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer for 2 minutes. Stir cornstarch slurry. Add to pan and stir until liquid thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Spoon into four 10-ounce ramekins or oven safe soup bowls. Allow to cool slightly while rolling out the pie crusts.

Preheat oven to 375° F. 

Remove pie dough from the refrigerator. If the dough has been refrigerated for a long period of time, it will be firm. Allow to rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to soften to a workable consistency. If using store bought dough that is no more than 1/8-inch thick, form into a disc and knead to 3/8-inch thickness.

Lightly flour a work surface. Place one of the pie crust discs on the work surface. Lightly flour the top. Using a standard rolling pin, roll dough to 3/16-inch thickness and 1-inch wider than the circumference of the top of the ramekin. 

Dust a light coating of flour to both sides of the dough. Switch over to a an embossed rolling pin. Start on one edge of the dough and roll across to the opposite edge, applying a moderate and even amount of pressure to create an embossed pattern. Lift dough and place over one of the ramekins. Trim uneven edges. Tuck edges into the sides or crimp as desired. Using a sharp pointed knife, score the pie dough to create air vents. Place ramekins on a large baking sheet.

Gently fold down the outer 1-inch edge of the pie shield (see below for instructions on how to make). Spray the underside with cooking spray. Center the opening over the the pie crust. Continue rolling out and applying the remaining pie crusts. 

Place the baking sheet with the ramekin in the middle rack. Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate  the baking sheet 180°.  Bake for another 15 minutes. Remove foil. Rotate baking sheet 180° again. Bake for 10 additional minutes or until the edges develop a light golden color. Remove from oven. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.


Recipe Notes
  1. To prepare leeks: discard the dark green leaves and the root ends; slice the base in half vertically. Cut into 1/8-inch slices. Wash and drain well. 
  2. The Italian sausages have ample amount of salt. There is no need to add salt to this recipe. 
  3. If using homemade pie crust, make the dough and chill before working on the filling.
  4. To make a pie shield: Cut out 4 rounds of aluminum foil that are 1 1/2-inch wider than the circumference of the top of the ramekin. Cut out a donut hole 3/4-inch smaller than the diameter of the top of ramekin. Use the outer rings as the shield.
  5. More oil might be needed if not using non stick pan.
  6. I don't recommend swapping out water for chicken broth or stock, even low sodium. It will be too salty.




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4 comments:

  1. Thao, this is truly comfort food at its finest! Loving the gnocchi and sausage - such wonderful flavors and textures. So perfect for these chilly days when all we need is warm, cozy comfort!

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    Replies

    1. In Good FlavorNovember 13, 2019 at 11:00 PM
      Thank you so much Kelly! That's so sweet of you to say! I'm always looking for ways to switch out potato for gnocchi...just to mix things up every now and then. Pot pie is definitely one of my go-to for comfort.

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  2. This is like double comfort food with the gnocchi in the pot pie. This would e huge in our house!

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    Replies
    1. You can't beat fresh homemade gnocchi, but packaged gnocchi is such a time saver and is pretty good too! It absolutely adds to the comfort factor in this pie. I'm glad your family would approve of this dish!!

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