Ta-da! Our first “hand-pie” here at Adventures in Thyme. This tasty treat can be partially made in advance and stored in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble and bake. The frenchbread crust is ideal for the juicy filling. It’s delicious so let’s get cookin’!
For the filling:
1lb ground lamb
1 diced medium onion
3 cloves finely minced garlic
1 cup sheep’s feta (but if you can only find goat, go for it!)
2 beaten eggs
~5-8oz of cut spinach (we just buy the little box of frozen spinach)
~1 tsp of salt
~1 tsp each of fresh minced rosemary and thyme
~1 Tablespoon of butter
On medium heat, heat the butter in a skillet and add the diced onion. Fry until they begin to get translucent (about 8 mins). While you’re waiting on the onions you have time to defrost the spinach (if you have not done so already). Quick and easy method is to place the frozen spinach into a fine strainer and either place in a bowl of warm water or hold under a faucet of warm water. Once the spinach is “loose” squeeze out the water. Take this as an opportunity to work out your frustrations – squeeze!!! Set aside when done.
Once the onions are translucent add the lamb and cook until almost done (there’s still a little pink in the meat), add the garlic & salt and continue cooking. Now we’re ready to add the spinach, our goal here is not to cook the spinach, that will happen when we bake the calzone, we’re only trying to incorporate the spinach evenly into the hot lamb mixture. After mixing the spinach into the lamb, the meat should be done, so remove from the heat and carefully drain off as much of the grease as you can then stir in the herbs. Allow this mixture to cool, then add the cheese and eggs. IMPORTANT: If you add the eggs in while the mixture is hot, you will have scrambled eggs, but what we’re doing is adding the eggs as a binder, so we don’t want it to cook just yet. Mix well. At this point you can move on to assembly or place into the fridge for later in the week. Our sauce recipe, below, can also be made in advance and stored until needed.
For the crust:
1 11oz container of French bread dough. They come in a tube, the kind that pops. You know which ones…
Rolling pin, smooth surface, ~ a cup of flour
Prepare a smooth surface with a little flour so that our dough won’t stick, then remove the dough from the tube and cut in half. Roll each half into a ball with your hands. Carefully roll out each dough ball into a circle (think pizza) about 1/8″ thick, maybe a little thinner. Transfer each rolled piece of dough onto parchment paper slightly larger than the dough.
1 beaten egg
Begin heating your oven to 350 degrees F.
Place one of the pieces of parchment paper onto your baking pan. Place 1/2 of the meat filling onto one half of the dough (you will fold the other half over to make the top.) IMPORTANT: Do not add meat to the edges, you will need space to seal, roll and crimp (look at the image above for reference). Once the meat is on the dough brush your beaten egg mixture along the outside curve of your dough, about 1/2 inches worth. Now carefully fold your dough over matching the edges, now, brush more of your beaten egg along the top edge of the dough, brush from the edge of the meet out to the edge of the dough. Roll the edge over the egg to seal the edges and crimp with the back of a fork. Do the same with the 2nd piece of dough/parchment. You might need to cut the parchment at this time so both calzones can fit onto your baking sheet.
Once you have two complete calzones, take the remaining egg wash and brush the surface of each calzone, this will help them brown up so enticingly. Now cut 3 slits along the top of each to allow steam to release during the cooking process. Place into the oven for about 45 minutes or until the dough is a lovely golden brown.
While the calzone is cooking it’s time to start our sauce.
2 15oz cans of tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, I like the one from Wine Country Kitchens
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Into a saucepan add all the ingredients above and cook over medium heat. Stir occasionally, turn down to a simmer once it begins to boil. The longer your sauce cooks the thicker it will get so cook it to your preference.
To serve, cut the calzone in half, place on a plate and top with the sauce. This serves four if you have side dishes to go with it. We’d recommend a nice salad, some fresh vegetables and maybe a dinner roll or some garlic bread.