Lisa: I'm going to become a vegetarian.
Homer: Does that mean you're not going to eat any pork?
Lisa: Yes, Dad.
Lisa: Dad, all those meats come from the same animal.
Homer: Right Lisa, some wonderful, magical animal.
~ The Simpsons
It is that dreaded time of the year again...exam time. Time for long late nights trying to cram pages and pages of info into a sleep-deprived, caffeine-fuelled, very over-it brain. Oh the joys of being a student!
It is batten down the hatches time, which also means I'm going to be a wee bit slacker with posting and replying in the next little bit.
So I'm going to apologize in advance, with bacon. Wonderful magical bacon.
Bacon and egg pie is a quintessential kiwi dish and is so well loved here, it was voted the 'National Dish of New Zealand' a couple of years ago.
And I totally can see why, it's incredibly easy to whip up, with ingredients you are likely to have lying around, it can be eaten hot or cold making it perfect to take in the picnic basket when you're heading to the beach.
A perfect summery lunch or dinner.
To me, a bacon and egg pie really does look and taste like summer.
Sunshine yellow yolks dotting the surface, with vibrant green herbs and sea-salty bacon. All topped with a generous squirt of tomato sauce (or tomato relish to be schmancy). One bite and it takes me back to beaches, barbeques, and balmy evening meals on the deck with family.
I've adapted Annabel Langbein's classic recipe but with a little twist of adding kumara (a.k.a. sweet potato). An odd combo you might think but the sweetness of the kumara is magic with the salty bacon. I also add caramelized onions which also lends a gorgeous sweet oniony dimension and top with slices of tomato for some extra vege and a tangy note.
If you think about it, it's actually just like a fry up encased in pastry! Clearly going to be a crowd pleaser.
Make sure you add loads of herbs though - it really adds a lovely freshness and depth of flavour and turns the humble B & E pie into something pretty special.
Having said that, this is a really versatile dish. All you need really is the bacon and eggs and the rest you can make up with whatever you have in the pantry. If you like it spicy, add some chillis. If you've got left over pumpkin, use that instead of the kumara. Anything that takes your fancy. Truly a wonderful magical pie.
Bacon and Egg Pie with Kumara and Caramelized onions
adapted Annabel Langbein's recipe
3-4 sheets of ready made savoury shortcrust pastry (~450g)
250g streaky bacon cut into 1-2cm pieces
2 medium sized kumara (sweet potato or just use normal potato)
2 large onion, sliced finely
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon of soft brown sugar
2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced (or 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes sliced in half)
handful of fresh herbs, chopped roughly: basil, spring onions, parsley, thyme etc.
14 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1. Wash kumara, leaving the skins on. Put them on a plate and cover. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Turn and microwave again for 3 minutes on high. Test to see if the kumara is cooked through by poking it with a butter knife. It should go right through the kumara easily). Allow to cool. Remove the skins (they should just come right off in your hands). Cut into thick slices.
2. Microwave the sliced onions in a covered bowl for 5 minutes. Heat olive oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar until soft and caramelized (shouldn't take any more than 5 minutes).
3. Preheat the oven to 200oC. Line a 30 x 40 cm baking dish with baking paper to come up at least 3-4 cm over all edges (a metal tin is best to get the pastry nice and flaky). Take the baking paper out and put it on the bench. Lay your sheets of pastry over the baking paper to completely cover it with a little overlap at the seams. Pinch the pastry to join the sheets together. Lift the pastry and paper and place back into the baking pan and press in. Set aside the rest of the pastry for the lattice top.
4. Cover the bottom with the kumara slices, then the bacon, then onion. Cover with fresh herbs.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk 6 eggs with milk, 1 tsp salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Pour over the onion/bacon/kumara. Arrange slices of tomato on top then break the 8 remaining eggs over the top being careful to leave them whole. Sprinkle with some paprika.
6. Cut the remaining pastry sheets into 1.5cm thick strips and arrange over the top in a lattice pattern. Trim off the excess and pinch to join up. Don't need to be too fussy about this! Fold down the overhang on the sides lightly. Brush the pastry with a little milk or a little left over egg/milk mixture.
7. Bake at 200oC for 12-15 minutes until the pastry is puffy and just starting to brown. Then turn the temperature down to 180oC and bake for a further 30-40 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature, with a salad, classic T sauce or tomato chutney. Will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.